FG Seeks Private Sector Involvement in Funding Military Research


•  NAF to build made-in-Nigeria aircraft  

•Navy recovers metal barge with 900,000 litres of crude oil

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The federal government has called for the involvement of the private sector in funding military research initiatives in order to build a self-reliant military institution.

This is also against the backdrop of its promise to provide support for the Nigerian Air Force to produce the first made in Nigeria aircraft.

Also, the Nigerian Navy has said it discovered an unmanned, floating metal barge and wooded boat in Bolo Creek laded with 900,000 litres of stolen crude oil.

Speaking at an exhibition event of local technology to mark the 55th anniversary celebration of the Nigerian Air Force, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, called for more collaboration and partnership in order to make the military a self-reliant institution.

“I recollect that in February 2018, the Nigerian Air Force was able to induct into the service, an indigenous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. I am equally aware of the efforts in collaboration with other partners to produce the first ever made in Nigeria aircraft at the Air Force Research and Development Centre in Kaduna.

“I also took particular interest in the recent rehabilitation of the machine tools workshops at Nigerian Air Force Base, Makurdi and 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot Ikeja by the Nigerian Air Force, in collaboration with Oshogbo Machine Tools and the University of Maiduguri. Without any doubts, such research and development initiatives are critical to the service as well as to the country”, he said.

“Furthermore, I am highly pleased to note the collaboration between the Nigerian Air Force, other members of the Armed Forces, our universities and the other bodies participating in this exhibition. I strongly believe that if we can successfully harness our efforts as a nation, there is no challenge that we cannot surmount”, he said.

He therefore called on stakeholders to engage in fruitful collaborations that would provide funding for military research and development.

“May I seize this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to embark on fruitful collaborations and joint partnerships to fund more research and development activities in the country. To consolidate on these modest achievements, I wish to appeal to other public and private organisations to hold this sort of exhibition that will promote research and development efforts.

“In line with our policy to promote local content, I would like to assure you that this administration shall encourage and support all meaningful civil-military research programmes towards making our armed forces more self-reliant”, he said.

Earlier in his remarks, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar,  said research and development globally has proven to be the catalyst for technological and industrial advancement, adding that was a consensus among scholars that national development could best be enhanced through indigenous research and development efforts.

“Recognising these facts and realising that the effectiveness and sustainability of the Nigerian Air Force, in the long term, would be largely influenced by the growth of home-based technology, the service has placed emphasis on research and development as a means of building indigenous technological capacity”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy said it discovered an unmanned metal barge and wooden boat floating along Boro Creek laden with 900,000 litres of crude oil.

A statement issued by the Naval Headquarters in Abuja, said there was nobody on board at the time of recovery.

“The Nigerian Navy wishes to inform the public that it discovered a metal Barge MV JOSH 1 and a wooden boat drifting along Bolo Creek and recovered them on January 29, 2019.

“The barge and wooden boat were laden with an estimated 900,000 litres of a substance suspected to be stolen crude oil and 2,500 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO. There were no suspects onboard the vessels at the time of the recovery”, it said.

The Navy stated that “in accordance with part 6 paragraph 17 of the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution (HSOP-AD&P) of Vessels and Persons, owners of the vessels are to note that “In the event of failure to reclaim seized and detained vessels by its owner for a period of 12 months, the agency in custody of the seized items as the case maybe, shall reserve the power to obtain an order of forfeiture and disposal from a court of competent jurisdiction”.

The statement signed by Commodore Suleman Dahun on behalf of the Chief of Naval Staff further said: “Accordingly, the general public is hereby notified that the Nigerian Navy will keep the Barge and wooden boat in its custody for a period of six months effective from the day of recovery.

“At the expiration of the six months period, it will hand over the vessels to EFCC to obtain forfeiture order in accordance with the law in the absence of any claim of its ownership.

“Consequently, owners of the vessels are advised to come forward and reclaim ownership of the vessels, failing which it will be handed over to the EFCC to obtain forfeiture order.”