July 2, 2012
President Goodluck Jonathan Monday
in Kaduna commissioned a ballistics
vest factory complex for the production and sale of military hardware, including personal protection armour such bullet proof vests and night vision goggle
equipment, noting that henceforth,
Nigeria would stop the importation of
military goods that can be produced by
the Defence Industries Corporation of
Towards this end, he said, the federal
government is set to send a bill to the National Assembly to amend the DICON Act to give the official Nigerian
government arms manufacturer,a global
outlook and allow it to export its
Dressed in an army uniform with the
highest rank of Field Marshal, President Jonathan who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Defence who also dressed in Army camouflage and the Service Chiefs,disclosed that the federal government would also give preferential treatment to any local or foreign firm ready to partner and site defence industries anywhere in Nigeria.
The ballistics vest factory, situated in
Kakuri, Kaduna State, is a result of a
joint venture agreement between the
Defence Industries Corporation of
Nigeria (DICON) and an Israeli firm –Maron Nigeria Limited. It is operating under the Public Private Partnership
(PPP). The joint venture company –
DICON-MARON – is also to diversify
into the tactical textile field, offering
designing and developing services for
tactical textile solutions.
DICON on its part, with Major General
Labaran as DG, has perfected the
production of rifles, pistols, sub-
machine guns and General Purpose
Machine Guns (GPMG). It has also the
prototypes of the RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) Launcher and the 81mm mortar lined up for production.
DICON was established in 1964 for the
production of arms and ammunition
for Nigerian military and the nation’s
security agencies. The Act of Parliament establishing it also mandated it to use its excess capacity to support the development of local industries.
But after several years of existence, it has not met the expectations of the founders. Jonathan stated that with the take off of the new factory, along with new innovations in the Navy and Air Force, there was every reason for the nation to be proud that the military has
keyed into the transformation agenda of Nigeria.
His words, “With this commissioning,you must convinced me beyond all reasonable doubt that DICON cannot
produce any product before such
product is imported. This commissioning marks the beginning of a vibrant defence industry.”
He advised businessmen and other
investors not to limit the sitting their
industries only in Kaduna, noting, “You
can feel free to site your industries anywhere in Nigeria. You just have to
let us know you are sitting it as it has to do with the security sector. We will
encourage people to produce our
needs locally.” He emphasized his Administration’s commitment “to creating the requisite enabling environment for local manufacturing industries to grow.