In another move to further boost self-reliance in the local production of uniforms and other items, including combat rations, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has perfected plans to enter into partnership with the Cross River State Government.
The objective is to deliberately reduce dependence on foreign vendors for its operational and logistics needs, while consciously enhancing the fortunes of local industries through increased patronage.
This was made known today, 26 November 2019, when the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, visited some Cross River State owned Companies, including the State Garment Factory and other Agro-Allied Companies.
The visit began with a courtesy call on the Executive Governor of the State, Professor Ben Ayade, who, while welcoming the CAS to the State, thanked him profoundly for his unwavering commitment towards patronizing made-in-Nigeria products.
He said he was extremely impressed with the CAS’ determination to support local industrial concerns in line with the current policy thrust of the Federal Government (FG), noting that it was obviously a product of his clear understanding of the nexus between security and development, being an erudite strategic thinker.
He said the Cross River State (CRS) Garment Factory was established based on the realization of the economic and social benefits that would accrue in terms of jobs and wealth creation within the extended value chain.
Governor Ayade, while citing the example of Bangladesh, which has a population of about 162 Million that is about 85 percent dependent on its garment industry, stated that the optimization of the Cotton, Textile and Garments (CTG) Sector in Nigeria would create a considerable number of jobs that would significantly reduce unemployment whilst also earning the Nation much-needed foreign exchange.
He said it was noteworthy and gratifying that the CAS was the first to visit the State’s Garment Factory, even though it has its own, albeit smaller, garment making facility in Kaduna.
He noted that, in order to ensure the uniforms that would be made for the NAF meet the required standards,
Some of the NAF’s tailors who had earlier been trained by the Service in China could be detailed to mentor the CRS Garment Factory tailors.
He noted, furthermore, that some tailors would also be sent for training in various areas of specialty in China, India and Bangladesh to further ensure high quality products.
Professor Ayade equally thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for instituting the policy on patronage of the local CTG Sector, which he said would no doubt be beneficial to Nigeria and Nigerians.
Earlier in his remarks, Air Marshal Abubakar said he was highly honoured to have been invited to witness what the Cross River State Government had achieved in terms of developing Agro-Allied industries to enhance the socio-economic well-being of the State and its people.
He emphasized that security was about development, stating that the more development that was realized in a particular area, the less the likelihood for the people to be mobilized for violence and criminality.
The CAS also observed that countries faced with security challenges must make conscious efforts to source for home-grown solutions to such challenges, whether they be technological or otherwise.
He noted that it was in furtherance of this that the NAF had continued to seek for areas of partnership and collaboration with the private sector including companies such as the Ibeto Group in Nnewi and the Zaria Industries Limited in Zaria, among others, to source for ways of meeting its requirements locally.
He said the visit to the CRS Garment Factory was another of such initiatives pursuant to the FG’s directives to patronize the Nigerian CTG Sector.
After being conducted on a guided tour of the various Companies and especially the Garment Factory by the Governor, the CAS, who was visibly impressed, stated his willingness to immediately patronize the Company to provide uniforms for some of the 10,000 additional personnel that had been recruited into the Service in the past 4 years.
“What is happening here is excellent and amazing.
“We will take immediate action to ensure that the orders start rolling out as soon as possible”, he said.
While in Calabar, the CAS, who was accompanied on the visit by some Principal Staff Officers from Headquarters NAF, received briefings from the Air Officer Commanding Mobility Command, Air Vice Marshal Peter Uzezi, as well as the Commander 305 Special Mobility Group (305 SMG), Group Captain Abraham Sule.
He also held an interactive session with personnel of the 305 SMG, where he addressed critical administrative and welfare issues, while charging them to remain absolutely loyal and committed to the performance of their constitutional roles.
The CAS and his entourage have since returned to Abuja.