By Dayo Adesulu
DIRECTOR of the Institute of Governance and Development Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi has said that the nation’s academia have a pivotal role to play in the nation’s quest for industrial growth of defence related institutions especially Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, DICON.
He stated this when he led a team of students on Doctoral and Masters Degree courses in security and strategic studies as well as peace and conflict studies during study visit to the ordnance factory of DICON, Kakuri, where the production of 7.62 x 39mm ammunition special is currently in full blast.
Professor Akinwumi who disclosed that the visit was aimed at exposing the students to practical realities, maintained that it would further enhance the class room lectures for the post graduate students.
He noted that with sense of satisfaction, he was proud to be a Nigerian, stressing that his earlier opinion about DICON had been remarkably changed having listened to a well detailed briefing from the current Director General of DICON, Maj Gen Bamidele Ogunkale.
According to him, when he was on study tour to Kuwait, he saw what the country produced in its defence industry, adding, “When I went round the production lines of DICON factories, I have every reason to thank God for the current efforts of the DG and his management team.”
He explained that it was based on this exposure in some of the defence industries he visited outside the country that formed part of the decision which led to the introduction of the course on Security and Strategic Studies cum Peace and Conflict Studies in Nasarawa State University.
He said: “We visited Ajaokuta for similar study tour. At the end of the visit, we submitted a paper to the Federal Government, all for collective national interest. We are equally ready to do the same at the end of this visit to DICON.
“Nasarawa State University will be quite willing to partner with DICON having gone on facility tour of the OrdFac.”
On his part, the director general, Gen Ogunkale, gave a detailed brief about DICON’s current activities, including recent military and civilian products and how almost all the key industries and workshops were being gradually revived.
The director general said that with the current level of commitment from the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, he was highly optimistic that DICON would take more giant strides in the area of production of both military and civilian products. He said the factories’ excess capacities were channeled towards production of most of the civilian products, though military products were being given priority attention.
He also noted that DICON had gone into lots of collaboration both at the international and local levels with defence industries or defence related industries as well as notable universities of technology across the country.
Such universities, he noted include the Federal University of Technology, Akure and the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi. He said, “the premier industry has also collaborated with Nigerian Defence Academy and Airforce Institute of Technology among others.”
General Ogunkale further stressed that owing to the importance the corporation attached to research and development, a world class metallurgical and material testing lab were almost completed in DICON R&D Centre with highly sophisticated equipment being imported from German, Sweden among others.
“The laboratories have been rated as best of their kind in West Africa”.
He maintained that DICON would be willing to collaborate with Nasarawa State University in some notable areas, especially in the areas of research and training.