Nigeria is seeking to boost its defence industry by collaborating with a leading US military firm, NEANY, to establish advanced weapons production lines at the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).
The Ministry of Defence in Nigeria announced this plan after a two-day visit to NEANY’s facilities by Dr Bello Matawalle, the Minister of State for Defence, who explored various areas of partnership with the company.
According to a statement issued by Mr Henshaw Ogubike, the Director of Press and Public Relations at the ministry, the primary objective of this collaboration is to create assembly lines dedicated to manufacturing cutting-edge military equipment, such as drones, radars, and biometric systems, that can significantly contribute to Nigeria’s fight against insecurity.
The initiative also aims to introduce innovative technologies that can augment the efficiency of the Nigerian military in tackling contemporary security threats, such as terrorism, insurgency, banditry, and kidnapping.
NEANY, a renowned US military equipment manufacturing company, and DICON, a Nigerian government firm specialising in the production of military equipment and hardware, are the key players involved in these discussions.
Dr Matawalle said that the collaborative discussions were centered on potential collaboration between NEANY and DICON to establish assembly lines for the production of advanced military equipment to help in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.
“This tour marks a pivotal step in fostering collaboration and integrating cutting-edge military technologies to strengthen Nigeria’s defence capabilities,” he said.
The minister further affirmed Nigeria’s dedication to President Bola Tinubu’s vision of modernising the armed forces to adeptly address evolving security threats.
The facilities visited by the minister during the trip included NEANY’s Rapid Deployment Mobile RADAR system, Unmanned Water Vehicle, Drone Ground Control Station, and Compact Biometric Search-scan System, among others.
One the other hand, China is looking to expand its military and economic influence in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and largest economy, by establishing its military industry in the country.
Meanwhile, last October, Nigeria signed the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) Bill, 2023, into law, giving a new impetus to the country’s defence industry.
The bill, which was sponsored by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, repeals the previous DICON Act and introduces several reforms and innovations to the corporation.
The bill empowers DICON to operate and maintain subsidiaries and ordnance factories, establish a research and development institute, provide a regulatory framework for the defence sector, and attract private capital to facilitate production and innovation.
The bill also aims to make DICON more accountable, transparent, and efficient in its operations and management.
The bill is expected to complement the efforts of the ministry of defence and the Nigerian military in enhancing the country’s defence capabilities and self-reliance.
Last September, Nigeria approved the finalization of a new $1 billion deal to boost the country’s defense industry. The deal, which was signed with the Managing Arm of the Military-Industrial Complex of the Indian government, will see the Defense Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) become 40% self-sufficient in local manufacturing and production of defense equipment by 2027.