The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has said it is awaiting Presidential intervention to mass produce Anti-Aircraft guns and other types of guns needed by the Nigerian Army and other security agencies following successful tedting of the weapons.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya at Army headquarters on Thursday, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Prof. Muhammad Haruna said, “NASENI is currently collaborating with some indigenous research Institutions and Industries; one of which is the Nigerian Machine Tools (NMT) Osogbo. NASENI, NMT and Nigerian Army Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering jointly produced 12.7mm AA Gun through reverse engineering.
“On the international scene, NASENI has identified some potential partners in the development and production of small arms and light weapons, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Airboat, MRAPS, APCS and light aircraft (fixed wing and rotary wing).
“We are doing certain things already and this has Presidential Order and Institutional framework to see that this is well coordinated and presented. The Nigerian Army has seen what we have produced for them before, tested and commented. Now it has Presidential directives that their requirement, as much as possible should come from the country.
“We are hopeful of a Presidential intervention to mass produce the guns for the Armed Forces. With this achievement, I am hopeful that we would be able to revisit our MOU discussions on local production of weapons and MRAPs.
He said that based on the directive, President Mohammadu Buhari is hoping that the defense sector looks inward for the equipment and component, military accessories they need for their operation to come from within the country.
“Everywhere in the world, it is not the Nigerian Army alone. Armed forces of other countries are producing what they want, they leverage on the availability of precise and development institutions, and the things they can do as input into the military complex.
“The military complex across the globe is made up of so many parts and components that even come from civilian industries. Now system organizations like NASENI and elsewhere that we are partnering with, will help cover a lot of distance for the army.
“NASENI is also partnering with private sectors locally and internationally to enhance capacity, so that the products that are coming out of this collaboration are of international standards”.
In his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff,Lt. Gen Yahaya expressed support and encouragement for the engineering and technological efforts of NASENI towards developing and producing military hardware in the country.
“Regarding the production of MRAPS, 4.7-AA guns, APCs, and other guns, though though its production maybe coming late but it is better late than never. We need them now to prosecute the myriads of security challenges confronting the country.
He recalled that in recent times, “even when you want to buy weapons, equipment from abroad, it takes a lot of time to manufacture them. When it is ready you spend a long time shipping them. At the ports it takes a long time to clear them and after that it takes time to move them over”.
“But if we are are producing them ourselves, we can produce mission specific wquipment and weaponry that is suitable to our weather and environment and terrain.
“There is no alternative to local production because even with your money, not everything is for sale. Sometimes, politics will come into it. Apart from that, it creates opportunity for employment, development and building technological capacity”.
” So this is a step in the right direction. The process is on. We will support and encourage you. What we can do is to help you fast-track it. We are thinking of making our base in Bauchi, the Special Vehicle Plant available for collaboration and also DICON in Kaduna.