By Sumaila Ogbaje
Rigachikun (Kaduna State) – The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, says production of the first set of Mines Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles by the Nigerian Army Command Engineering Depot in Kaduna has reached 80 per cent completion.
Buratai disclosed this during the inspection of work at the depot in Rigachikun, Kaduna State on Monday.
He disclosed that that the decision to go into local production of combat vehicles nicknamed ‘Ezugwu MRAP’, was to deploy local content and technology to support army operations.
Buratai said that the first set of MRAPs would be rolled out soon, adding that the vehicle were being produced using 100 per cent local engineers of the army.
He added that the vehicles were also made of over 70 per cent local content in collaboration with the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria (DICON).
“I am very much satisfied with the level of work in respect of Ezugwu MRAP and this is our flagship vehicle for the infantry and of course the army for now.
“The progress is quite impressive and we hope to display them very soon during the COAS conference. I will be here again before we finally role them out.
“As I have been briefed, it is up to 80 per cent of the 10 they intend to produce immediately and it is a good number.
“They will soon be inaugurated and once they are formally inaugurated, we will launch them, operationalise them in our available theaters of operation.
“They are going to influence our operations not only in the North East but across the country and in fact even if we get any external challenge, this vehicle will be very useful,” he said.
Buratai described the initiative as a revolution in military affairs, its operations, training, general administration and technical know-how.
He commended the depot and army engineers for their commitment and high level of expertise in building the made in Nigeria MRAP.
Buratai explained that the name Ezugwu was given to the vehicle in honour of Maj.-Gen. Victor Ezugwu for his combat performance against insurgents in Nigeria’s northeast region.