Nigeria’s DICON resumes ammunition production as it continues expansion

2076

The Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) has resumed the production of ammunition and delivered four million rounds to the Nigerian Army last month as it embarks on an ambitious expansion drive.

DICON Director-General, Major General Aniedi Edet, last week said 7.62 mm rounds were currently being manufactured, and weapons are being assembled for the Nigerian Army, Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported.

In November 2023, President Bola Tinubu signed the new DICON bill (The Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria Act, 2023), which repealed the previous iteration of the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria Act and empowered DICON to operate, maintain, and control subsidiaries and ordnance factories to manufacture, store, and dispose of ordnance and ancillary stores and material.

“This will enable us to incorporate so many defence-related industries in Nigeria which have the potential and capability to meet the country’s defence needs,” Edet said. “This simply means that DICON needs to build a robust partnership with relevant government agencies and organisations to achieve its mandate.”

The new act also established the Defence Industry Technology, Research, and Development Institute (DITRDI) to “create a scientific and research-based technological foundation for Nigeria’s defence industry through the leveraging of combined, multi-disciplinary research from multiple military research institutes for application that leads to commercialization and the development of new military technology and capacity in Nigeria.”

The act provides a comprehensive regulatory framework for the regulation of the manufacturing, distribution, storage, and disposal of defence articles in Nigeria, according to Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.

Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Nigerian Minister of Defence, said the DICON Act will stimulate investments in the sector.

He was speaking during a November tour of the facilities of Equipment and Protective Applications International Limited (EPAIL), which manufactures bullet-resistant vests, ballistic helmets, guard booths (armoured) and assembles light armoured vehicles.

“The DICON Act that has just been signed into law certainly will help to develop more companies as EPAIL,” he said, adding another local company, Ajaokuta Steel, will contribute to more local defence production.

In September 2023, Nigeria approved a $1 billion partnership agreement with the Indian government to help DICON attain 40% self-sufficiency in local manufacturing and production of defence equipment in three years.

Meanwhile, US-based North Eastern Aeronautical Company (NEANY) is looking at partnering with DICON on defence equipment production.

Nigerian Minister of State for Defence, Dr Muhammed Bello Matawalle, said that DICON would explore new innovations and technologies with NEANY in fighting terrorism and other forms of criminality in Nigeria.

Matawalle said the discussions in December, while on a visit to the US, looked at the possibility of establishing assembly lines for the production of advanced military equipment to help in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.

During his visit, Matawalle visited NEANY’s facilities and inspected a rapid deployment mobile radar system, unmanned surface vessel, drone ground control station, and compact biometric search-scan system, among others.

“The comprehensive tour of NEANY’s facilities, has provided me with insights into cutting-edge military and intelligence hardware capabilities and high-tech equipment of the US,” Matawalle said.

“This tour marks a pivotal step in fostering collaboration and integrating cutting-edge military technologies to strengthen Nigeria’s defence capabilities. We are committed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s vision of modernizing our armed forces to effectively address evolving security threats.”

The Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria was established in 1964. It operates an Ordnance Factory in Kaduna, where it makes small arms and ammunition, including assault rifles, machine guns and sub-machine guns (in 2018 it secured an agreement with Poland’s PGZ to manufacture Beryl assault rifles locally). Its Special Vehicle Plant is carrying out the refurbishment and upgrade of armoured vehicles, and has manufactured locally developed Ezugwu mine-resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles for the Nigerian Army.