The Nigerian Army is now operating an unspecified number of locally-built Innoson IVM G-12 Series Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) that were handed over to Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai last month.
The hand-over ceremony was attended by several high ranking government and military officials as well as Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Limited chairman Innocent Chukuma.
The IVM-G12 is described by its manufacturer as ‘a highly mobile and tactical pick-up van with double reinforced shock absorbers that have demonstrate strength and ability to cope with military functions.’
In his address, Chukuma said the vehicle was built to meet the challenging demands of military operations across rugged terrain. He said units of the vehicle had been pre-tested by the army in deployments against Boko Haram in the north-east.
He said the vehicles were designed with Boko Haram and the need to return the schoolgirls who were captured by the armed group in 2014 back to their families.
“In designing the IVM G12 series, we were guided by the urgent need to rescue the remaining girls who are still being held captive (by Boko Haram) in those harrowing conditions inside the notorious Sambisa Forest. These vehicles were designed to enter any part of Sambisa Forest, no matter how difficult the terrain,” Chukuma said.
Some of the army drivers who operated the vehicles during the test phase described the G-12, with variants built to carry between four and eight soldiers, as suitable for use across the rough terrain and dangerous environments of the present theatre of operations.
The vehicle features a permanent 4X4 system and comes in long and short-base, station wagon as well as twin-cab configurations.
However, it has no body or underside armour for troop protection against direct gunfire, landmine and explosive device attacks.
Lt. Gen Buratai said the new vehicles would help the army partially resolve a persistent shortage of logistical equipment, which he said was holding back key counter-terrorism operations against the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east.
He praised the collaboration between the army and Innoson, which he said would soon result in the production of more SPVs and armoured variants of the IVM G-12 for military use.
The company also has a running research, development and promotion collaborative agreement for the local production of spares parts for some of the aircraft in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) inventory.