Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai
The Chief of Army Staff (CAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, yesterday said the Nigerian army was presently involved in various researches towards evolving suitable local metals or steel that would be used in the manufacturing of general purpose machine-guns and other weapons for military use.
Buratai, represented by the GOC, 6 Division, Maj.-Gen. Enobong Okon, stated this at the ongoing 33rd conference of the Nigerian Metallurgical Society (NMS) at the Petroleum Training Institute Conference Centre in Effurun, near Warri, Delta State.
He said: “The Nigerian Army Institute of Technology, the Nigerian Army engineers and research units have made invariable contributions in researches leading to the production of general purpose machine-guns using local metal materials.”
The army chief, who stated that this was one of the new innovations of the Nigerian army in line with its technological advancement projections, said the army would collaborate and synergise with the NMS and other stakeholders to produce other local metal materials to be used in the production of other weapons.
The conference with the theme “Metal Production: A Panacea for National Security and Economic Recovery,” also had in attendance representatives of the Ministers of Mines and Steel Technology and his Science and Technology counterpart, represented by Dr. Sam Etatuvie, and other stakeholders.
Various speakers at the conference, including the president of the NMS, Prof. Benjamin Adewuyi, were unanimous that the steel policies of government were yet to yield any dividend in the country despite the importance of iron and steel in industrial and national development.
Adewuyi said the role of steel in national development could not be over-emphasised and that it is not only the pillar or bedrock of industrialisation, but also a yardstick for measuring the strength of a nation.
He said: “Despite the fact that steel and aluminum industries had been described as pathway to economic and industrial growth, the Ajaokuta Steel Plant (ASP) and Aluminum Smelting Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) had been enmeshed in one controversy or the other.”