In order to continue effectively the ongoing fight against the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East geo-political zone, with a view to its completion, a major boost was recorded on Wednesday as an indigenous car manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, IVM, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Air Force for research and production of spare parts for its fighter jets.
This was done as a way of ensuring that aerial wars against the Islamic extremist were not restricted due to lack of spare parts to fix fighter jets that were broken down and also to encourage local manufacturers.
Speaking to newsmen at the occasion held at the company’s headquarters in Nnewi, Anambra State, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar acknowledged that the collaboration between Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company and the Air Force had been the reason behind its Jet fleet running for months now, adding that there was need to fully integrate it into its operations.
Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by Air Vice-Marshal James Gbum, the Chief of Policy and Plans, said the MoU would go ahead to strengthen the collaboration, improve local content and engineering and also save Nigeria a lot of foreign exchange used in importing the expensive parts. He said:
“Our war efforts will be in vain if we don’t do something to ensure we get spare parts because some of our fighter aircrafts that have formed the back-bone of our struggle against Boko Haram, were once down due to lack of spare parts and mainly the break assemblies of these aircrafts.
“The Air Chief immediately ordered our research and development cell in Kaji to start to research into this break assembly overhaul. They went ahead and carried out the research. However, the first proto-type they brought couldn’t pass the test.
“The Nigerian Air Force later discovered that Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company at Nnewi, Anambra State is very capable of collaborating with the Nigerian Air Force to achieve the required standards of overhauling our break assemblies. The company was invited to headquarters Nigerian Air Force for discussion and thereafter went into research and development collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force and the result was successful.
To this effect, we have reasonable number of these Alpha Jets serviceable daily to fight the war in the North East. So, today we, as representative of the Chief of Air Staff are here officially to sign a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Innoson Vehicle Maintenance Company”
Mr. Abubakar stated that the partnership between the Nigerian Air Force and the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company in producing some of the spare parts locally was in tune with President Muhammadu Buhari’s change agenda.
On his own part, the Chief Executive of the Innoson Company, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, confirmed that the company had enough human, material and machinery capacity to sustain the collaboration. He stated:
“When the Nigerian Air Force came to me, I developed it the way they want it and they are happy with it and that is why they are here.
“The MoU is something that would move Nigeria forward because we cannot rely always on importing items. So anything we can do here, we do it for them”.