The director-general of the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), Jos, Engr. Linus Asuquo has highlighted that the Executive Order No. 5 has the solution to most of the nation’s technology-related issues if it is efficiently applied via collaborations and partnerships between ministries and parastatals.
Asuquo made this observation when he hosted the Chief of Air Staff, Nigerian Airforce, Air Marshall I. O. Amao at the centre’s headquarters in Jos, Plateau State.
While Amao was represented by the director, research and development, Air Vice Marshall Nnaemeka Ilo, Asuquo was represented by the director, research development and consultancy services, Dr. Dorcas Joseph.
Asuquo recalled that on February 5, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law Executive Order 5 which is primarily aimed at planning and executing projects and promoting Nigerian content in contract and science engineering technology.
Asuquo re-echoed the need for agencies to synergise to achieve the objectives of Executive Order 5, a policy capable of helping Nigeria transit from being a consumer-based nation to a more productive and industrialised one.
“We all know how China transformed itself from a Third world country to a First world country through the domestication of its local content legislation.” He further stated that with deliberate and conscientious collaborations among government agencies through the implementation of the order, Nigeria will record an astronomic shift from a Third-world economy to a competitive, enviable global one.
While guiding the team on a facility tour of the centre, Joseph informed the visitors that the NMDC, as a research and development centre, if properly funded, has all it takes to [lead the] industrialisation of the country.
According to her, despite minimal funding, under Asuquo’s leadership, the NMDC has been transformed from a moribund institution to a lively and attractive research and development centre for infrastructural development, procurement of research and development equipment and formed collaborations with relevant agencies.
In his response, AVM Ilo said that the COAS sent the team on a fact-finding mission after reading so much about the R&D exploits of the centre. Illo said with all he saw, there was no option beyond recommending the centre for a partnership with the nation’s airforce.
Ilo pointed out that Amao is passionate about exploring the use of local resources and, thus, was looking to enter into collaborations with other organs of the armed forces and civil establishments in the building, manufacture of defence equipment and maintenance of aircraft.
He urged the centre’s management to look forward to the process of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the airforce after he briefs his boss and gets his approval.
Lending his voice to Ilo’s impression, the deputy director, R&D, Nigerian Air Force, Wing Commander Abdulahi Hussaini agreed that research and development played a vital role in the running of the force and, thus, would add value to the overall realisation of the mandate of the force.
In a statement by the centre’s head, press and public relations, Sunny Eweama, Hussaini said the need for partnership with the centre was underlined by the plan to venture into the local production of weapons.
He opined that, with an understanding between the COAS, the Air Force Research Centre Kaduna and the NMDC, Nigeria could soon count herself among the comity of industrialised states. He said this would reduce the huge amounts spent on the importation of materials and expertise which can be locally sourced.