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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has invited Chinese firms to establish production line in Nigeria for manufacturing of electronic warfare and communication equipment.
Buratai made the call when officials of China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC) led by its Manager, Department of African Market, Mr Eric Zhang, visited him on Wednesday in Abuja.
CEIEC is a Chinese state owned enterprise in defence trading companies authorized to represent the domestic defence production industries in overseas sales, concentrating on sales of defence electronics.
Buratai, represented by Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, said that the army was more interested in building its capacity to be able to produce its equipment.
He said that establishing production line to either manufacture or assemble some of the equipment would best serve the interest of Nigeria and China.
According to him, the relationship between China and Nigeria is not just starting as there has been areas of cooperation especialy that of military cooperation.
“As we speak, there are arrangements for purchase of equipment directly from China for the armed forces of Nigeria.
“One thing that is germane to the future of Nigerian army is developing the capacity to be able to produce or assemble some of these things here.
“One, to reduce the time it takes for processes of importing and the bidding time by the country of manufacture as it takes a lot of time.
“Establishing production line for some of these equipment will best serve the interest of Nigeria and China.
“This is the area we should be looking at as we continue to establish our relationship further,” he said.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Eric Zhang, said that the purpose of the visit was to seek opportunity to provide defence products for Nigerian defence industry.
Zhang said that the firm was ready to partner with the Nigerian army to develop the capacity of its industry to produce equipment locally.
He promised to engage the army authorities further on how to create and deepen their engagement toward having working military cooperation.
“We all know that the Chinese military industry has the long history of operating with Nigerian services and we are very glad that there is made in chine in your military equipment.
“CEIEC is 100 per cent defence industry in China and it is the corporation that is mainly concerned with the production of defence communication equipment.
“As long as it relates to defence electronics, CEIEC has contracts with over 30 countries in the world including some of the African countries.
“Before now, we have an engagement with the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force and what we hope is to seek the opportunity to provide products for your national defence industry,” he said.