President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday urged Nigerians to look inward and become more innovative in the use of local resources.
Represented by Mr Danjuma Sheni, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Buhari commended NAF for harnessing the available research and development potentials especially in the military aviation sector.
He said “I have been a keen admirer of the NAF, having been following the great stride it has been attaining as a service.
“I recall NAF in collaboration with an indigenous firm produced a set of air craft for the primary training of its pilots, the more recent being the design and production of an unmanned aerial vehicle.
”The overhaul of the brake assembly of one of the fighter aircraft in collaboration with an indigenous company Innoson is commendable. Without any doubt, such research will be of use to the nation.”
Buhari said the research arm of NAF also developed an operational unmanned aircraft vehicle which currently undergoing series of test flights.
This he said renewed the hope that with determination and the right leadership, NAF could achieve much.
He said“I strongly believe that if we can harness our efforts as a nation, there is no challenge that we cannot surmount.’’
He urged stakeholders to embark on fruitful collaborations and joint partnerships to fund more research.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, represented by Sen.Aliyu Wakili, said Nigeria could only carve a name internationally by investing heavily in research and basic technology.
Saraki said Nigeria must maximise the application of the cutting edge designs.
He said “We must begin to look inward in order to provide funding for these ideas that can help us address our current security challenges and advance our military technology.
“We must seek them out in our people by providing them with the platform to grow.”
He reiterated the senate’s support to NAF; adding that the senate through passage of laws would encourage local content in Nigeria.
He said just last week the senate pushed Nigeria forward to join the rest of the world with research institutes through passage of the air force institute of technology bill.
Saraki said with this framework in place, local content and research by NAF would be built on and developed.
He said the exhibition of NAF’s innovations had proved that Nigeria had ample potential hence the need to invest in maximising the value of local content development.
Air Vice Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff said the event was organised to buttress the President’s plan of re-professionalising the Nigerian Armed forces and to promote local content.
Abubakar said there had been collaborations between NAF and academic community and other stakeholders as part of efforts toward creating synergy for technological development of the nation.
He said the aim was to develop its operational and technological capacities while gradually reducing Nigeria’s reliance on foreign products and equipment.
He said that this was what initiated this year’s theme ”Developing Civil-Military Research Programmes toward Enhanced National Development”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event witnessed the exhibition of locally made military equipment.