The Nigerian Army, Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) and the University of Ilorin on Wednesday signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of Composite materials for Armour plating for use in the production of military hardware for the nation’s military needs.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Army, Lt. General Lamidi Adeosun, Director General Defence Industries Corporation, Major General Victor Ezugwu and the Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin Professor Suleiman Abdukarim all signed the MoU.
Speaking shortly before the signing ceremony, the Director, Nigerian Army Systems Development Centre, Brigadier General BO Oshunsan disclosed that the journey to consummating the MoU started on 16th April 2016.
He noted that among others, the MoU will focus on the development of equipment for Command and Control, Computers, Communications, Intelligence Reconnaissance and Surveillance adding that the implementation of the MoU will reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign military procurement and save huge foreign exchange.
On his part, the DG of DICON, Major General Ezugwu commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai for the initiative that led to the signing of the MoU which has been on for about two years.
Emphasizing that the partnership will focus mainly of ballistics development and others, General Ezugwu said DICON has developed its own variant of the ‘Ezugwu MRAP’ pointing out that currently, it is embarking on the production of 42 units for the Nigerian Army.
Ezugwu said the dream of DICON is to see a situation where it will be sourcing 70 per cent of local materials for the production of military hardware for the armed forces hence he was excited about the MoU.
Speaking on the advantages, he said “For instance, before the manufacturing of Ballistics Vests by DICON, the vest used to be obtained from abroad for between N250,000 to N300,000 for one unit but today, we are producing it at DICON for between N70,000 to N80,000 thereby saving the nation huge resources”.
On the MoU, Gen Ezugwu said DICON will hit the ground running noting that officials of UNILORIN were are expected to come to DICON to see its Foundry which has been upgraded to one of the best as well as the Heat and Surface Treatment facility which are of top quality, adding the DICON team will also visit the university to see areas of working collaboration.
In his remarks, the COAS who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen Adeosun disclosed that the collaboration between the Army, DICON and UNILORIN found its root in the executive order 005 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018.
He said parties to the MoU were carefully selected to involve the Nigerian Army Systems Development Centre, which is responsible for research and development, DICON which is the Armed Forces of Nigeria institution responsible for production of military hardware and the University of Ilorin.
Gen Adeosun said the benefits of the MoU include reduction in the nation’s dependency on foreign military equipment, development of indigenous capacity, promotion of cooperation between the parties through exchange of personnel, and development of multi-layered hardware production capabilities.
Other benefits include Promotion of effective use of laboratories, development of command and control, intelligence, communication and computer technologies as well as the creation of jobs for the unemployed.
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