President Muhammadu Buhari has given a fresh challenge to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the Airforce Institute of Technology (AFIT) Kaduna to complete work on the ongoing manufacturing of the first Nigerian-made Helicopter before the end of his administration.
The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of Engr. Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna disclosed this at AFIT Kaduna when he led a team of NASENI Staff on a visit to the site of NASENI’s new Aeronautics and Air Vehicle Development Institute(AAVDI) located in AFIT which houses the Made in Nigeria Helicopter project.
According to Prof Haruna, President Buhari looked forward to a formal launch of the Helicopter before May 29 2023 which marks the end of the present administration.
The NASENI Executive Vice Chairman during a meeting with the newly appointed commandant of AFIT Air Vice Marshal Paul Olugbeji Jemitola today in Kaduna disclosed that President Buhari was particularly interested in the completion of works on the Made in Nigeria Helicopter during NASENI quarterly briefing of Mr President by the EVC/CE on the activities of the Agency last week.
He said the President specifically asked about the ongoing works on the project, stating that President Buhari’s enquiry on the Helicopter project was an indication that the President was keen on the need to complete work on the manufacturing of the Helicopter.
Responding the Commandant of AFIT, Air Vice Marshal Jemitola said that the order from Mr.President “is a task that must be carried out on the completion of work on the project.
According to him “no stone will be left unturned in order to accomplish the work so that the desire of Mr President on the Helicopter Project will be realized”
He said “NASENI has been instrumental to the development of many facilities in AFIT in the past while commending the proactiveness and the dynamism with which NASENI now does its work”
He said “AFIT welcomes the Challenge by Mr President, the existing MoU between NASENI and AFIT, and the significance of the project, all combined to make the presidential challenge worthwhile”
Explaining further on the significance of AAVDI as NASENI emerging institute, the EVC/CE disclosed that “the Aeronautics and Air Vehicle Equipment Development Institute located at AFIT Kaduna is one of the new institutes of NASENI approved by President Buhari. The institute has the mandate to research and develop spare parts, components and systems of Aeronautics and Air Vehicle Technologies. It is mandated to produce both passenger and military aircraft through backward integration. It is the Centre of NASENI Helicopter project assembly and the first Made in Nigeria Helicopter now being relocated to AAVDI.”
The visit was for site take over, design and to strategize the commencement of construction work to fast track the take-off of the project.
According to the NASENI plan, the EVC disclosed “technologies prospecting for domestication from our counterpart agencies across the world for aircraft manufacturing will have pilots plants for realization here in Kaduna and the facilities will be designed to provide machineries, equipment, laboratories and workshops to be shared with AFIT and Nigerian Airforce”
On the second project that was inspected by the EVC/CE, he said that the Federal Government has a plan to develop industrial parks for the Automotive sectors in three zones of the country: Nnewi-Anambra State, Osogbo in Osun State and Igabi, Kaduna State. The project initiative is in line with the concept of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment which initially proposed establishing the Automotive Supplier Industrial Park (ASIP). This concept agrees with the mandate of NASENI for the provision and development of primary and intermediate capital projects required for machine and equipment design, fabrication, and mass production, in order to provide the enabling environment for the sustainable industrialization of the country.
According to Professor Haruna the project intended to unlock the opportunities in the auto sector as well as potential in the manufacturing industry with a view of creating employment, and skilled labour in this region and sub-Saharan Africa. It is expected to earn the country foreign exchange and stop the importation of vehicle spare parts.
Major vehicle manufacturers from different countries have indicated interest to operate from this facility. It also intended to provide the Nigerian Army Vehicle Manufacturing Company with the necessary support in the production of Armoured Vehicles. Once Fully taken up and equipped, the automotive park will be self-sustaining and also becomes a source of revenue to the government”
Amongst top management Staff of AFIT who received the EVC/CE and his team and conducted the inspection of AFIT facilities include the Provost of AFIT Prof Mohammed Dauda, the Registrar, Air Commodore Oluokun, the Deans, Directors and Heads of Departments.