SOME-MADE war vehicles – Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) – were on Tuesday launched in Kaduna by President Muhammadu Buhari.
They will be deployed for military operations in the Northeast and subsequently in any similar war theatre to fight insurgency.
The vehicles, named Ezeogwu, were produced by the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) and Command Engineering Depot (CED).
Their inauguration by the President, who hailed the Nigerian Armed Forces for their efforts at defending the nation, was at the opening of the 2019 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference.
Buhari assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to ensure the security and safety of law-abiding citizens.
He urged the military to always abide by their ethics, the rules of engagement and code of conduct, human rights and international humanitarian laws in the conduct of their military operations.
The President said: “I note the collaborative efforts of the Command Engineering Depot with relevant indigenous organisations to promote local contents towards developing our military industrial complex. I am glad with the production of the Ezeogwu mine-resistant vehicles and others which were earlier produced as testimony that our efforts are yielding results.
“This administration has continued to provide resources and carried out transformational projects with the sole aim of modernising the army in better position to perform its constitutional roles.
“In this regard, it is pertinent to acknowledge the establishment of Army University, Biu, and the Army Resources Centre alongside the War College to further boost intellectual capacity in the forces. These are efforts to confront emerging threats to our national security.
“I salute the gallantry efforts of the personnel of the Nigerian Army. I am highly impressed with the conduct of your operations by continuing to flush out terrorists from their hiding places.
“The conceptualisation and institution of the concept, Operation Lafiya Dole theatre, has maintained the momentum against terrorists. I urge you to sustain these great efforts.
“This government is aware that activities of the army came with key consequences, with some personnel who have sustained various injuries. I once again send my condolences to those who have paid the supreme sacrifices in efforts to secure this country. May their souls rest in peace.
“I urge our soldiers to continue to abide by their ethics and keep to the rules of engagement and code of conduct, while ensuring that human rights and international humanitarian laws are promoted and respected in the conduct of military operations.
“Let me at this point reiterate our government’s resolve to do everything within its constitutional power to ensure the security and safety of law-abiding citizens. This is commitment we have made and will continue to keep.
“I wish to commend the Chief of Army Staff’s laudable effort of transforming the Nigerian Army. He has keyed into the Federal Government’s Change Agenda and I commend his job in the area of innovative and inventive approach to produce military hardware, infrastructural development, restructuring and reorganisation, among others, with significant results, particularly in the ongoing counter-insurgency and other operations across the country.
“This government will continue to support the Army to sustain these laudable initiatives aimed at repositioning you to deal with contemporary security challenges and to achieve a modern army of the future”
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, noted that the transformation of the army began with President Buhari’s inauguration in in 2015.
He said the administration helped the nation “to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles”.
He added: “Currently, this vision has been accomplished through the monumental and invariable support the Nigerian Army has received from the President.”
Buratai said the gathering was initiated to showcase to the President the innovative and invented products achieved through robust Research and Development (R&D) efforts towards building military industrial complex, part of which were the Ezeogwu MRAP vehicles.
He stressed: “Mr President, we are indeed honoured and delighted to have you in our mist to unveil the Ezeogwu MRAP, which is internal indigenous production effort from start to finish and also the commissioning of the upgraded Nigerian Army 44 Reference Hospital that will cater for the health needs of our personnel and other citizens.
“The two projects will no doubt save significant foreign exchange for the country which be used for other developmental purposes.”