NAN reports that the move is aimed at intensifying the campaign against insurgency especially in the North Eastern parts of the country.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who made this known to newsmen in Nnewi, Anambra, explained that the MoU helped the air force to keep its jet fleet running for months.
Abubakar, who was represented by the Chief Of Policy and Plans, Air Vice-Marshal James Gbum, said that the MoU would further solidify the collaboration, improve local content and engineering as well as save the country a lot of foreign exchange hitherto used to import expensive spare parts.
“Our war efforts will be in vain if we don’t do something to ensure that we get spare parts.
“For instance, we were down to one or two of our fighter aircrafts – the Alpha Jets that have formed the backbone of our struggle against Boko Haram – due to lack of spare parts, mainly the break assemblies of these aircrafts.
“The Chief of Air Staff (Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar) immediately ordered our research and development cell in Ka’inji to start to research into this break assembly overhaul.
“They went ahead, carried out the research, (however) the first proto-type they brought couldn’t pass the test.
“The Nigerian Air Force later discovered that Innoson Vehicle Maintenance Company at Nnewi are very capable of collaborating with the Nigerian Air Force to achieve the required standards of overhauling our break assemblies.
“The company was invited to headquarters Nigerian Air Force for discussion and thereafter went into research and development collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force and the result was successful.
“To this effect, we have reasonable number of these Alpha Jets serviceable daily to fight the war in the North East.
“So, today we as representatives of the Chief of Air Staff are here officially to sign a Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Innoson Vehicle Maintenance Company.
“This is in-line with the change agenda of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and it is also in line with the vision and key-drivers of the Chief of Air Staff.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the company, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, said the company had the human and technical competence to sustain the collaboration.
“When they (Nigerian Air Force) came to me, I developed it the way they wanted it and they are happy with it and that is why they are here again.
“It (MoU) is something that will move Nigeria forward because can’t always depend on imported items; so we will always strive to do for them anything they want from us.
“The important is that if things are moving very well, Nigerians will see that it is better to patronise Nigerian products and services.”
Earlier, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra, said the company had been a veritable tool for technical and engineering advancement of the state.
Obiano said this when the Nigerian Air Force team paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Awka.
“This great initiative of yours to partner with Innoson Motors in helping you to get some spare parts to service, I believe it won’t be only aircraft, as times goes on you will be able to buy the four-wheel (drive vehicles) that would replace the Hilux (pick-up vehicles) that are imported.
“The beauty about Innoson is that they always have the parts and are a phone call away.
“I am confident that he been able to get this big deal.
“As we speak we have 500 youths, who are doing automobile engineering, doing practicals in his factory at Nnewi. And it has been a great, great motivation and innovation.
“And I must commend you (Air Force) for the decisive blow you’ve given to Boko Haram.
“At some point, they were looking invincible, but since this administration came you guys showed no nonsense and went after it the way should be done and today, we have recovered virtually all the lands they have taken and all that is left is a mop-up operation.”
Highlight of the event was the signing of the triplicate copies of the MoU by representatives of the company and the Nigerian Air Force team.