In an effort to key into the Federal Government’s drive for local content, the Nigerian Air Force on Saturday pledged to patronise Nigerian made tarpaulin.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, made the disclosure in an interview with Journalists shortly after a visit to Zaria Industries Limited in Zaria, Kaduna State.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that ZIL which was inaugurated in 1975 is a premier tarpaulin industry manufacturers in Nigeria and the first tarpaulin manufacturers in Africa.
Abubakar said: “I am highly impressed by what I have seen here and I have assured the MD that the Nigerian Air Force will patronise their products, they are of high quality and it meets our standards.
“There are so many things that we can get out of this facility that will help us in what we are doing in our training institutions, in our bases and quick response units and I have already directed that we should get all that they are doing and study it.
“And then immediately interact with them and see how we can acquire them especially for our bases, particularly Katsina where some of these things we have they are out there in the open.”
He noted with satisfaction that the products in the factory would provide solutions to so many of the problems confronting the Nigerian Air Force.
The Air Force boss assured that: “There is nothing local about what I have seen, everything is of high quality and just like I have said it meets our standard.
“They have quality assurance department, laboratories and so on, it is really incredible we have this kind of industry here in Zaria and we had not been able to take full advantage of it.
“But with this visit now, we have decided to come at the highest level so that we quickly take decision, its not an issue of sending a team to come and see, we have come here, we have seen and a decision had already been taken,” he said.
On his part, the Managing Director, ZIL, Alhaji Ilyas Saleh, appreciated the Nigerian Air Force for the visit describing it as the first of its kind in the history of the company.
Saleh said: “Sir, as you must have known, Zaria Industries is the first, and still the only Cotton Canvas Tarpaulin Manufacturer in the whole of West Africa sub-region.
“Specialised in the production of high quality cotton canvas tarpaulin fabrics from locally sourced cotton as well as the design and fabrication of all types of tents, vehicle and truck covers, security and conveyance bags, kit bags, camp beds and other tarpaulin related products.
“Sir, ours is a fully integrated textile company with an installed capacity to produce 2 million square meter of cotton canvas tarpaulin fabrics, several metric tones of cotton yarn and many types and sizes of tents.”
The MD sought for collaboration and patronage from the Air Force to boost the production capacity of the company in order to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed Nigerians.
“The management of our company would like to suggest that the Nigerian Air Force under your able leadership, explore means to acquire and incorporate this company into its subsidy organisations.”