As part of ongoing efforts by the Nigerian Army to promote local content initiative in weapon systems production, the force threw its full weight behind Major General Victor Okwudili Ezugwu to design and build the first indigenous Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, MRAP, vehicle. Done at the Command Engineering Depot in conjunction with the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, DICON, the MRAP has become the game changer in the fight against insurgency and terrorism. Recently, Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that alongside other gallant officers and men of the service, he was awarded for ‘Courage, Commitment and Patriotism’ by Security Watch Africa Initiatives in The Gambia
Recently at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre, Banjul, The Gambia, Major General Victor Ezugwu, the current Deputy Director General/ Provost, Nigerian Army Heritage and Future Centre, was awarded for his ‘Courage, Commitment and Patriotism’ at the 17th Africa Security Watch Awards and Conference.
He was among the 68 persons, including individuals, organisations, academia, clergy, media, and security agencies from across the African continent, that were honoured for their exemplary performances in their various fields of endeavour, especially in the security sector.
For the President / Chief Executive Officer of Security Watch Africa (SWA), Mr. Patrick Agbambu, the award was well deserved as it reinforced the opportunity to reward diligence in service, and rightfully so.
Why the Honour?
While all the 67 other awardees were deserving of their respective awards, Major General Victor Ezugwu bagged his for promoting local content initiative in weapon systems production through the design and production of Nigeria’s first indigenous Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP).
First started under the leadership of the then Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the project was also fully backed by the current COAS, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya as was shown during last year’s Nigeria Army Day Celebration in Owerri.
These MRAPs, graciously named after its founder, EZUGWU, can withstand blasts from improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other landmines.
Given the successes recorded with it, the Nigerian Army has gone ahead to produce more and induct them into the theatres of operation.
Built at Defence Industries Corporation (DICON) where he once served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, the first tranche was unveiled on October 3, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari. It was built in collaboration with the Nigerian Army Command Engineering Depot.
According to reports, the 4×4 Armoured Vehicle is designed to carry out transportation in smooth and rough terrain. It has capability to assault with high volume of fire.
With a 12- man crew of commander, driver, two gunners and eight soldiers, its primary armament includes a 12.7 mm Anti-Aircraft Gun and a 7.62 mm Light Machine Gun.
Tailored for counter-terrorism operations because of its maintenance and stability, it is also a perfect vehicle for urban warfare given its protection performance, strong cross-country capability, high reliability, easy maintenance, and ability to operate in severe cold as well as sweltering desert areas.
Born on June 28, 1964, Major General Ezugw joined the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna on September 27, 1985 as a member of 37 Regular Combatant and was commissioned to the rank of second lieutenant on September 22, 1990.
Of the infantry corp, he has served Nigeria meritoriously in ECOMOG/UN Operations in Sierra Leone and Liberia and Operation RESTORE HOPE in Niger Delta.
He also commanded 28 Task Force Brigade in Adamawa State and 7 Division Maiduguri as General Officer Commanding from 2015 to 2017. He was appointed Director General DICON on June 3, 2019.
DICON is the state-run defense corporation of Nigeria and operated by the Nigerian Armed Forces charged with responsibility for the production of defense equipment and civilian products.
Through sheer passion and providence, he was said to have forayed into design and production of prototypes variants of light, tactical patrol as well as Armoured Fighting Vehicles by DICON-CED Kaduna.
Known for his exatransformational’ leadership style a combination of exemplary and transformation leadership” Major General Ezugwu is untiring in his quest to serve the Nigerian Army and Nigeria, little wonder the recent honour in The Gambia.