By Samuel Itsede
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has perfected plans to enter into partnership with the Cross River State Government for the local production of uniforms and other items including combat rations for its men and officers.
The strategic collaboration with the Cross Rivers state government according to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, who visited some Cross River State owned Companies, including the State Garment Factory and other Agro-Allied Companies is designed to deliberately reduce dependence on foreign vendors for its operational and logistics needs, while consciously enhancing the fortunes of local industries through increased patronage.
The Executive Governor of the State, Professor Ben Ayade, while welcoming the CAS to the State, thanked him profoundly for his unwavering commitment towards patronizing made-in-Nigeria products. He said he was extremely impressed with the CAS’ determination to support local industrial concerns in line with the current policy thrust of the Federal Government (FG), noting that it was obviously a product of his clear understanding of the nexus between security and development, being an erudite strategic thinker. He said the Cross River State (CRS) Garment Factory was established based on the realization of the economic and social benefits that would accrue in terms of jobs and wealth creation within the extended value chain.
Citing the example of Bangladesh, Ayade stated that the optimization of the Cotton, Textile and Garments (CTG) Sector in Nigeria would create a considerable number of jobs that would significantly reduce unemployment whilst also earning the Nation much-needed foreign exchange. He said it was noteworthy and gratifying that the CAS was the first to visit the State’s Garment Factory, even though it has its own, albeit smaller, garment making facility in Kaduna. He noted that, in order to ensure the uniforms that would be made for the NAF meet the required standards, some of the NAF’s tailors who had earlier been trained by the Service in China could be detailed to mentor the CRS Garment Factory tailors.
Earlier in his remarks, Air Marshal Abubakar said he was highly honoured to have been invited to witness what the Cross River State Government had achieved in terms of developing Agro-Allied industries to enhance the socio-economic well-being of the State and its people. He emphasized that security was about development, stating that the more development that was realized in a particular area, the less the likelihood for the people to be mobilized for violence and criminality.
After a guided tour of the various Companies and especially the Garment Factory by the Governor, the CAS, who was visibly impressed, stated his willingness to immediately patronize the Company to provide uniforms for some of the 10,000 additional personnel that had been recruited into the Service in the past 4 years. “What is happening here is excellent and amazing. We will take immediate action to ensure that the orders start rolling out as soon as possible”, he said.