The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris says patronage of locally-produced defence materials will enhance economic growth, job creation and reduce insecurity in the country.
Idris made the observation during a factory tour of Proforce Defence Production facility at Ode-Remo, Ogun, on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the factory is a “total defence solution manufacturer specialising in armoured vehicles and personnel protection in the air, land and maritime”.
It is producing Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), Armoured Tanks, Armoured Cash-In-Transit Vehicles, Bulletproof Helmets and Vests, Armoured Boats and Marine Vessels and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV-Drone).
The inspector general said that promoting local content would stimulate the development of indigenous capabilities, job creation and checkmate capital flights from the country.
“I came physically to observe the capability of Nigerians and `am impressed with the ingenuity on display in this company.
“You can see local content in practice and it is our responsibility to promote local content so that our country can move forward.
“The more jobs we create, the more our people prosper, and it will cut down troubles in these communities,” the police chief said.
Idris advised the company to publicise its activities to boost patronage of its products by more state governments.
Mr Joseph Babatunde, the Head, Large Enterprises Department of Bank of Industry (BoI), said that Proforce was project supported by the bank to achieve self-sufficiency in production of defence materials in Nigeria.
He said the bank had a partnership with the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) to channel levies on imported cars to finance local assembling of vehicles and vehicle components.
“The more we import goods, the more we import jobs to other countries. We need to shift attention to patronise locally-produced goods, so that we can grow our economy sustainably,” Babatunde said.
Mr Adetokunbo Ogundeyin, the Managing Director of Proforce, said that many armoury companies around the world doubted the capability of Nigeria to venture into production of defence materials at inception of the company.
“They told us we cannot do it because we are Nigerians, but the assistance from government made us to standout and those that we used to chase now chase us.
“We had 25 expatriates at inception, but now reduced to three. They did not want to transfer the technology, never allow Nigerians to do intricate jobs.
“But we had to get the technology forcefully,” the managing director said.
Ogundeyin said that the company had invested in backward integration by acquiring a steel company at Sango Ota where production of steel from scrap materials was being done.
“We will soon be producing our glass through a joint venture with another glass company.
“By the time we produce our steel and glass, we will have achieved about 70 to 80 per cent technology,” Ogundeyin said.
He said that the company had exported armoured vehicles to Rwanda, South Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR) for the UN peacekeeping missions.