Nigerian indigenous car manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Ltd, has just delivered to the government of Sierra Leone, the first set of vehicles as ordered by the country’s Ministry of Defence.
This was done in fulfilment of the promise made during a visit by the top hierarchy of the Sierra Leone Defence Ministry led by Edward Soloku, the Minister of Internal Affairs as well as Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) led by its President Isaac Ken-Green to Innoson Vehicles.
Cornel Osigwe, the head of Corporate Communications at Innoson Vehicles explained that the Government of Sierra Leone led by President Julius Maada Bio placed an order for the manufacturing of Innoson Vehicles valued at $4.7 million for the officers of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).
The first set of the vehicles supplied from Nigeria to Sierra Leone was on Monday leaving Queen Elizabeth 2 Port which is Sierra Leone’s sea Port “Water Quay”, in Free Town for distribution to military officers across the country.
Reacting to this development, the people of Sierra Leone are excited about this and have been commending their President for being in tune with the spirit of the continental agreement by opting for an African (IVM) brand of vehicles for the use of the country’s Armed Forces.
In one of the reports in the local media, a popular Sierra Leonenian blogger, Focus News Blog, hailed President Bio for believing that their Army Officers deserve better.
The post, showed a line-up of the IVM products from Nigeria, and told Sierra Leonenians that the vehicles will soon be “ready for distribution to military officers across the country” by the government
This development is indeed a step towards the acceleration of intra-African trade as facilitated by the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
The arrival of the Innoson vehicles in Free Town has made Sierra Leone the first country in West Africa whose armed forces are using IVM products outside Nigeria.
Four years earlier, the Nigerian Army signed a partnership agreement with the Nnewi auto plant for the supply of purpose-built vehicles for its personnel.
This agreement includes identifying requirements for the production of the armoured fighting vehicle in the Nigerian Army Central Workshop in Kaduna and enhancing the capacity of Nigerian Army personnel to actively be a part of the successful implementation of these joint ventures.
The export of Innoson vehicles to Sierra Leone is coming two years after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the AfCFTA agreement in July 2019.