President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday unveiled Made-in-Nigeria Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for counter-terrorism and other operations across the nation.
The vehicles named Ezugwu MRAP were unveiled in Kaduna state at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the vehicles were produced by the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), an indigenous firm, for the Nigerian Army.
Speaking on the occasion, President Buhari praised the gallant efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces in routing terrorists and combating insurgency in the on-going operations in the North East.
“I note the collaborative efforts of the Command Engineering Depot with relevant indigenous organisations to promote local content towards developing our military-industrial complex.
“I am glad that the production of Ezugwu Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles which I will be unveiling today will join the infantry patrol vehicles that were earlier produced as testimony that our efforts are yielding positive results.
“Additionally, your efforts in terms of capacity building, training and conduct of exercises are quite commendable.
“I am aware that there are on-going field exercises such as Atilogwu, UDO 1, Exercise Akpatuma 2 and Exercise Crocodile Smile 4, among other civil-military cooperation activities.
“These are impressive efforts geared at enhancing the operational efficiency of the army as well as facilitating a conducive security environment for social, economic activities to thrive.”
President Buhari urged the soldiers to abide by the ethics, ethos and code of conduct of the military while ensuring that human rights and international humanitarian laws are promoted and respected in the conduct of military operations.
Later, the President inaugurated 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna.
The hospital was upgraded to a level 4 United Nations hospital to cater for the medical needs of the military and civilian population in the country.
In his goodwill message, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna said the State was privileged to play host to several military formations, units, schools and establishments, adding that this was beneficial in fostering synergy between the military and civilians.
Gov El-Rufai also lauded the army for playing a key role in confronting the menace of the outlawed ‘El-Zakzaky movement’, which had oppressed the people of Zaria for the last 30 years, as well as various corporate social responsibilities including medical outreaches and infrastructure interventions in Kaduna State.