HOUSE of Representatives speaker Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has called on the federal government to patronise local manufacturers producing security equipment like Innoson and Proforce to help end the dependency on foreign imports.
Since 2009, the Nigerian security forces have been fighting against Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast but the military has suffered terribly from a lack of equipment. Caught off-guard by the terrorist sect, the Nigerian military lacked battle tanks, drones, minesweepers, armoured personnel carriers and other forms of equipment needed to respond appropriately to the crisis.
Of late, however, local manufacturers like Innoson and Proforce have risen up to the challenge and have begin churning out the required equipment. Yesterday, the chief of general staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Defence in Abuja to point out that the military was working towards getting more security equipment manufactured locally.
Responding to him, Hon Gbajabiamila said the country must support locally produced products in a bid to enable them grow. He added that the House of Representatives is ready to support the armed forces and called on all other government ministries, agencies and parastatals to do likewise.
Hon Gbajabiamila said: “As I listened to you General Olonisakin, I heard you talking about indigenous manufacturers and for us, that is very key and important. Either by way of legislation or budgeting, we encourage indigenous manufacturers.
“The issue of local content that we all hear about, many people think it is restricted to the petroleum industry that is the cash cow but I think that if we don’t have a country, we cannot have a petroleum ministry. So, the issue of local content must spread, even to security matters and we have men and women who are capable of delivering the goods, as you have stated here.
“There is Innoson, there is Proforce and there are so many of them, who we just need to encourage and fund them. I am glad that you are doing that and we are on the same page when it comes to that.”