The Nigerian Air Force has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an indigenous oil service company, Mudiame International Limited, to manufacture equipment locally and assist other African countries in the areas of oil and gas projects.
Parties in the agreement stated that the MoU would help reduce capital flight by cutting down on funds used in importing expatriates, oversea training and maintenance of oil and gas equipment.
They stated that the partnership would be useful in the calibration, welding and non-destructive testing of aircraft, adding that it would ensure the domestication of key skills needed in NAF, Navy and allied industries.
According to a statement issued by the oil firm in Abuja, the MoU would further help in growing local content in Nigeria.
It stated that both parties made the partnership public during the graduation of the first set of Air Force officials trained under the MoU.
In his address at the ceremony, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said NAF had signed various partnerships with about 100 local firms as part of measures to design local solutions that would help reduce the amount spent on foreign trips.
He said the partnership with Mudiame International would enable the Air Force to calibrate and weld its equipment used in the oil industry and other sectors, thereby kick-starting the force centre’s operations located in Kaduna with limited or no assistance from external bodies.
Abubakar, who was represented by the NAF’s Director in charge of Aircraft Quality Assurance, Air Commodore Cosmas Ozougwu, said, “Our equipment needs a lot of maintenance. Before now, most of the measuring facilities have been taken abroad for calibration and maintenance at a very exorbitant cost but the Chief of Air Staff said as long as we keep using foreigners to maintain our platforms, we may not make any head way.
“The choice of Mudiame is the right step for us because we didn’t have this level of equipment anywhere else. This development will help save taxpayers’ money.”
The Managing Director, Mudiame International, Sunny Eromosele, said the oil servicing firm would work with NAF in promoting Nigerian content, adding that the partnership would benefit other African countries.
He said, “This development has a lot of benefits to the country. Apart from the fact that we will conserve a lot of foreign exchange, we are supporting the Nigerian Content Act, empowering our own people, saving time that is needed to transport equipment abroad and it reinforces the confidence that these things are doable in this country.
“We started with the oil and gas industry by supporting infrastructure development in the country because past certification/ training was mostly done outside Nigeria and it’s difficult to find qualified Nigerians participating in these projects. We lost a lot as a country. Now we are making another progress with the Air Force.”
Eromosele added, “We are aiming at manufacturing of the equipment in-country. We cannot perpetually depend on others. We already signed partnerships with leading organisations across the world. We have global standard welding institute and we are at the verge of completing Mudiame University.”
He said with these initiatives, the firm would be contributing greatly to other industries, especially the manufacturing and allied sectors of the economy.