The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) will unveil soon its Made-in-Nigeria military weapons and equipment even as the Nigerian Army lent its support to the domestication of these weapons, saying it would strengthen the fight against insurgency, banditry, and other security threats in the country.
NASENI in collaboration with some indigenous research Institutions and Industry: Nigeria Machine Tools (NMT) Osogbo and the Nigerian Army Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers jointly commenced production of a 12.7mm AA Gun through reverse engineering, including Armour Personnel Carrier vehicles, Unmanned Aerial Drones and other light weapons for use by the military.
These developments were disclosed yesterday in Abuja when the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of NASENI, Engr, Prof Mohammed Sani Haruna, OFR paid a courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya to brief him on the actions so far taken by the Agency in implementing the Presidential directives on NASENI research and development of appropriate military weapons locally, other technology and war equipment to support the Armed Forces in its fight against insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and for the defence of the territorial integrity of the country.
In his remarks, Prof. Haruna said the charge by Mr. President to NASENI was consistent with the mandate of the Agency in enhancing national development and security through infrastructural development and practical implementation of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy of the Federal Government.
According to NASENI Executive Vice Chairman, “the Agency had begun collaboration with some indigenous industries and research institutions as well as some foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) with a view to domesticating military weapons and equipment production in Nigeria through infrastructural development and transfer of technology.”
The NASENI boss also said that his visit to the Chief of Army Staff was to request strategic guidelines on how to carry out the Presidential directive bearing in mind that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is the end user of the product of these collaborative efforts, adding that he was expecting suggestions from the Chief of Army Staff on areas of security challenges that NASENI could leverage with its science, technology and innovation capacities and competencies.
He said “NASENI is currently collaborating with some indigenous research Institutions and Industries; one of which is the Nigerian Army Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering institution which jointly produced a 12.7mm AA Gun through reverse engineering. 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.”
On the international scene, he said, NASENI had identified some potential partners in the development and production of small arms and light weapons, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Airboats, MRAPs, APCs, and light aircraft (fixed wing and rotary wing).
Responding, the Chief of Army Staff said local production of military weapons would not only enhance improvements in Nigeria’s possession of military hardware and weapons but would also make it easy for the military to have access to them and build indigenous competencies and create employment opportunities for Nigerians, including making orders locally handy when necessary.
He said that “the Army is fully in support of what NASENI and its partners are doing while waiting for the mass production of the 12.7mm AA Gun as it will be to the benefits of the Nigerian Army and ease our operations.” He said further “If we have the weapons locally produced here, we can execute our own plans faster by making orders straight away from the Nigeria factories and we can determine how they are used and installed. This will bridge the communication gaps on the specification which we usually experience with foreign suppliers. We usually go through hassles in assembling components by our foreign suppliers which are not usually in one place. Sometimes when we imported these weapons, their parts are made by different companies and we find them difficult to put them together.”
Lt.Gen Yahaya said that the production of military weapons locally would always be to the benefit of the Nigerian Army, adding that there are more alternatives and advantages in producing military equipment within a country’s national borders as it will save time and be more affordable. The Chief of Army Staff, therefore, encouraged NASENI to continue with its efforts to go into research and development of equipment, tools, and spare parts for the development of the nation.