Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has indicated interest to make over one hundred thousand uniforms at the Cross River Garment Factory in Calabar.
Air Marshal Abubakar stated this at a courtesy visit on Professor Ben Ayade, the Governor of Cross River State in southern Nigeria.
Abubakar described the garment factory as an excellent investment, which has reduced the number of unemployed in Cross River.
According to Abubakar, “in the last four years, we have brought in about 10,000 recruits and assuming we had started this partnership much earlier and each of these recruits requires uniform. We have the camouflage, the other number four uniform, the tunic uniform. So, we are talking about over a hundred thousand pairs of uniform”.
“I am very excited with the opportunity given to me by the governor to be here. We are going to send samples of what we require for both our recruits, our pilots, our officers and men to see if we can get it done here,” stated Abubakar.
The Chief of Air Staff also said that his visit to the state was to mobilize and sensitize officers and men on the need to tackle security challenges, noting “I think we can benefit from the Cross River Garment factory as we look inward to get all that is required to execute our task. We see in Cross River that the Garment factory is one place that we can get the partnership we require”.
He noted, “security was about everybody. It is not about fighting or dropping bombs. It is getting all hands on deck to ensure that we give support our forces and what we can derive from here is to get our uniform sewn. And what I have seen is amazing. The number of people employed is another way of also impacting on security. I am really excited that we have this opportunity”.
“So, we are here hopeful that at the end of the visit we should be able to work out something with Cross River Garment factory. We will donate trained Airmen to work in the Garment factory so as to train others in the production of our uniforms and other materials,” he hinted.
He stressed, “we came all out from Abuja to make sure that we are able to achieve a clearly defined objective, which is to see that we can get this job done locally. We have some other fabric factories that produce the fabric outside, we can get the fabric and then send it here. We have a small facility that sews uniform, but it is very small for our requirements”.
Responding, Governor Ayade expressed profound gratitude to the Chief of Air Staff and his team for accepting to partner with the garment factory and training the staff on how to make the uniforms.
Ayade stated, “because you may have internal tailors within the Nigerian Air Force, we will like to have at least ten or twenty of them to join us in the factory. We will provide accommodation and logistics so that they can work with us,” further noting, “we are ready to employ more people, who need to go into tailoring and garment making as a profession to ensure that we fill the factory with competent and capable hands”.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari the directives on localization of needs and reduction of import dependent consumption as well as the closure of the borders.
“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari, who has emphasized on backward integration, and refocusing. I also thank the Chief of Air Staff for seeing to the local content as the first service chief to take a bold step and say I must domesticate the production of my uniforms”, stated Ayade.
Air Marshal Abubakar undertook a tour of the facility alongside the Governor and other top military officers.