RETIRED Maj-Gen. Godwin Abbe, the Minister of Defence, said the Federal Government planned to establish an aircraft maintenance centre. Abbe made the disclosure when the Chinese Military AttachÃ©Ã©, Snr Col. Kang Honglin, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja on Tuesday.Â
Receiving the attachÃ©Ã©, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Ezekiel Oyemomi, who represented the minister, said it was necessary to have the centre in the country. Abbe said:
Â â€œ We want to establish the centre in Nigeria where our aircraft will be maintained so that we can serve as a hub for the West African region. We have known China over the years and we have come to recognise it as a key partner in our development and aspirations, we are happy with the sustained relations between us so far.â€œWe have contracted out some F37 jets and they are being assembled in Nigeria, specifically in Markudi and the jets will soon be handed over to Nigeria.
â€˜This is a relationship, which shows that China is relating with us well and we are looking forward to more of that especially in the area of aircraft maintenance and other equipment.
Currently, there are Nigerians in your Defence Colleges and some officers are also being trained in various military institutions across your country.We look forward to exchange programmes such that there will be participants from your country to Nigeria on defence matters,â€ he added.Earlier, the Chinese Military AttachÃ©Ã© had told the minister that he was in the office to introduce himself to him and to promote mutual relations between China and Nigeria. Also on Tuesday, a Spanish delegation was in the ministerâ€™â€™s office to seek collaboration for the supply of defence equipment to Nigeria.
The permanent secretary, who also stood in for the minister, said he would encourage the countryâ€™s Armed Forces to interact with the Spanish Company, Tecnove, in respect of the request. He stressed the need for the training of personnel for the maintenance of the equipment, if the Spanish proposal was approved. Earlier, the Export Manager of the company Gracia Marato said the team came to introduce some equipment that would be of good use to the military.