The newly assented 2023 Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) Bill by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will facilitate research, development, and production in the defence sector and aid the growth of the local industry in the manufacturing of defence gadgets and equipment.
The 2023 DICON Bill, sponsored by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson (APCIkorodu Federal Constituency) will provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for the regulation of the manufacturing, distribution, storage, and disposal of defence articles in Nigeria.
The Minister of Defence, Muhammed Badaru Abubakar,stated this during a visit and tour of the manufacturing facility of Equipment and Protective Applications International Ltd located at Orimerunmu, Mowe, Ogun State, on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, in the company of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar Kana and several other senior members of his ministry.
Badaru commended the management of Equipment Protective and Application International Ltd for its massiveinvestment in local manufacturing of Defence Gadget and equipment, which includes: the bulletproof vests, ballistichelmets, guard booths (armoured) and assembling of light Armoured Assault Vehicles.
Badaru expressed satisfaction with the level of investment and capacity in the company. He promised that his ministry would encourage the company to do more toboost local manufacturing of defence gadgets and equipment in order to create more job opportunities for Nigerians in line with the agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.
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“Well, I really did not believe that something like this is happening in the country, and truly, the DICON Act that has just been signed into law certainly will help to develop more companies as EPAIL. As you can see, they are not only assembling the armoured vehicles but also manufacturing some parts here. The systems on top, the gun station, the vision system and many other parts are being manufactured here. I am impressed and satisfied with this. Given time and patronage, I believe they can do more and more. With Ajaokuta Steel coming on board, we can see ourselves doing 70 to 80 per cent of the production locally”, he said.
Also speaking during the tour, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar Kana, commended the Chairman of EPAIL, Engr. Kola Balogun for his strong commitment to promoting local manufacturing of defence gadgets and equipment such asthe bulletproof vests, ballistic helmets, guard booths (armoured), assembling of armored vehicles as well as the development of the application of international quality standards.
Kana noted that the Federal Government is interested in deepening local production in the Defence industry and that he has been directed to prioritize local manufacturers to encourage investors and boost the economy through massive job creation in the sector.
In his Welcome Remarks, the Chairman, Equipment & Protective Applications International Limited (EPAIL), Engr. Kola Balogun thanked the Honourable Minister and the entire team for taking time out of their busy schedule to visit the factory. He assured them that the company has the capacity to meet all the defence equipment, surveillance systems and technological solutions.
Balogun disclosed that EPAIL was established to deepen technology, research and development indigenously to service the ordinance and technological needs of the security agencies, armed forces and private security firms.
He stated that the company, though an indigenous company, is manufacturing in line with the best known global standards. He further disclosed that the EPAIL products are best in class as they are manufactured in compliance with NATO, STAGNAT & NIJ standards.
He added that the company is leveraging technology and driving indigenous innovations and development in the defence and security industry, noting that, given the necessary support and patronage, the company can produce almost all the defence gadgets and equipment locally from end to end.