Way back in 1978, the first phase of Murtala-Obasanjo regime’s plan military modernisation and industrialisation plan got underway with the acquisition of Soviet T55 battle tanks, the phasing out of MiG 17 and MiG 19 jets and their replacement with the MiG 21 of that era (several more modern versions have been built since then) and the massive importation of the latest models of Western 105mm artillery and the acclaimed Soviet 122mm howitzers.
The second phase which was largely implemented by Shagari entailed the acquisition of missile-armed frigates, 155mm field and self-propelled artillery,tank landing ships,missile-armed corvettes, large patrol boats and fast attack crafts, Jaguar and Alpha jets, Aermacchi advanced jet trainers, helicopters, Roland surface to air missile systems,Soviet-made surface to air missiles, Vickers MK3 Eagle battle tanks and Alvis Scorpion light tanks.
The third phase envisaged the integration of the following vehicle plants into a military-industrial complex, in addition to aircraft hangars at Lagos, Kaduna and Makurdi and the military and civil dockyards(Snake Island)
Mercedes Benz – Enugu
Peugeot – Kaduna
Fiat – Kano
Volkswagen – Lagos
Leyland – Ibadan
Steyr – Bauchi
Specifically,the Steyr tractor facility at Bauchi was commissioned to deliver 1848 Armoured Personnel Carriers which were to equip 21 of the infantry battalions of the Nigerian Army. They delivered to about 5 battalions and stopped. Part of the said plan also delivered home-made Air Beetle trainer aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force during the Babangida regime
Until Obasanjo returned to the helm in 1999 to revive things at Bauchi and to,VERY GLADLY rearm the military, things had gone into a lull with the possible exception of the Vickers Eagle MBTs which have been pouring into the country consistently since 1984.
So who or what stalled the third phase because even Shagari, a civilian armed the military to the teeth? Was it the Babangida regime or the Abacha regime ? Or was it the sanctions of that era?