Nigeria’s ‘Giant of Africa’ claim questioned, as Algeria launches ambitious helicopter manufacturing factory

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*Respondents tip Caverton, Innoson as African pride in waiting, if supported

*See treatment metted to Air Peace as show of an unready country

By BASHIR ADEFAKA

 

This joint venture marks a significant step forward for Algeria’s industrial development, with the country owning 51% of the facility and Leonardo-Finmeccanica holding the remaining 49%.

 

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Amidst continued excuses of ‘global economic challenges’ being adduced by politicians in control of power in Nigeria in effort to justify the unprecedented hunger and hardship in the land of world biggest black nation, the country’s claim to being the Giant of Africa as been profoundly challenged by developments recorded recently in some other fellow African countries.

This is as a significant milestone for Africa’s aerospace industry has been announced by Arab-African Algeria, which just launched a helicopter manufacturing factory in partnership with European manufacturer Leonardo.

Algeria would be the second in 39 days following sweetening report from the hijab wearing woman President-led United Republic of Tanzania, where five of its hydroelectric stations were shut down to reduce excess power on national grid, The DEFENDER reported on April 25, 2024.

Nigeria for decades has laid claims to being the most economically viable country in Africa with its citizens still groaning in abject poverty, out-of-school children and unemployment rate still far on the high side.

Whereas to the watch of those in power of state, Nigerians continue to feel the heat of harrowing pains, hardship and hunger without the ease of doing business especially in the last 12 months when the hardship got worse and unprecedented with consumers being compelled to pay for electricity unused amidst epileptic supplies, the United Republic of Tanzania announced the shutdown of give hydroelectric stations in its power sector, not for any negative reason but to reduce excess electricity in its national grid.

Ruled by Hajia Samia Suluhu Hassan as its President, Tanzania, an East African regional bloc country, recorded that excellent achievement in electricity, a sector that not many higher-hype giants of Africa even ruled by men have been able to really make good for their industrialisation development need.

Electric power growth and development is one of the undeniable achievements – under one year in office – of President Samia Hassan, who came to power after she was sworn-in on March 19, 2021 following the death of her predecessor, now former President, John Magufuli.

The nation’s Prime Minister, Mr. Kassim Majaliwa, announced the shutdown of the hydroelectric stations explaining it was done in order to reduce excess electricity in the national grid.

According to Mr Majaliwa, the main plant, which is Mwalimu Nyerere Hydroelectric Station, alone had already generated enough electricity to power major cities, including the country’s main commercial hub, Dar es Salaam.

An official of Tanesco, the power company run by the country, was quoted by the BBC as saying that, “We have turned off all these stations because the demand is low and the electricity production is too much, we have no allocation now.”

Within the 39 days of the development from East Africa, the report from the North African sub-regional bloc of Algeria about an aerospace industry was launched whereby a helicopter manufacturing factory will not operate in partnership with European manufacturer Leonardo.

Located in Aïn Arnat, Sétif province, the facility will produce three different Leonardo-Finmeccanica light and medium helicopters, catering to various roles such as transport, medical evacuation, surveillance and control.

This joint venture marks a significant step forward for Algeria’s industrial development, with the country owning 51% of the facility and Leonardo-Finmeccanica holding the remaining 49%.

The partnership aims to boost high technology capabilities in aeronautical material production.

The factory is expected to provide repair and overhaul services, as well as training programs, further solidifying Algeria’s position in the global aerospace landscape.

This initiative has been hailed as a major breakthrough for Africa, paving the way for enhanced industrial cooperation and technological advancement on the continent.

However, with some indigenous boat and automobile manufacturing companies like that Caverton Offshore Support Group (COSG), Innoson Vehicles Limited and, even, the Air Peace the only airline company that has done operated the Lagos-London route, Nigeria is on its better state to climb back to being African giant in matter of time.

This as respondents tipped, particularly, Caverton and Innoson, manufacturers of boats and vehicles varieties, respectively, for taking the country there.

With its two subsidiaries, namely Caverton Marine and Caverton Helicopers, the COSG only recently rolled out 15 of targeted 25 locally manufactured 40-passenger ferries from its boatyard in Lagos all of those boats build in partnership with Lagos State Government . It also has its Caverton Helicopters with components namely the Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) and Caverton Aviation Training Centre that houses the first-ever full reality AW-139 Flight Simulator as well as the AW-109 Flight Simulator.

In a matter of time, it was gathered from those who reacted to the development in Algeria, where helicopters will now be produced, repaired and overhaul (PRO), if supported, Caverton Helicopters, which already produced all its needs except the engine, will also grow to the point of PRO as currently is the case with Algeria.

One of the respondents was not happy that, despite the great work being done by a committed Nigerian like Innoson producing vehicles of varied categories; cars, bullion vans, pickups, Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), among others, Nigerian government including its National Assembly leadership still have no taste for patronising their own Made-in-Nigeria vehicles except to take orders from abroad with huge amount of money, thus creating a situation of capital flight that sees Nigeria, rather than spending its money locally to reduce its unemployment rate, helping develop economies and growing the employment rate of other countries.

On Air Peace Airline, one of them said, “The fact that we have a doing well airline company like Air Peace flying the Lagos-London route still having problem to the watch of the Nigerian government is clear evidence of a country that is still unserious about developing. If not, how come under one year, that is 12 months alone!

“How come we have reportedly 767 manufacturing companies shutting down in Nigeria and relocating to other countries like Kenya now because some of them have lost money with N350 billion goods unsold in 2023? This is not good story about a country that wants to be congratulated like Tanzania and Algeria, even Egypt now has its nuclear being built.

“We listened to Mr. Allen Chukwuma, the Chief Executive Officer of the company as he talked in details about how even the civil servants of the Nigerian airport authorities treat Air Peace London-Lagos, Lagos-London passengers and other things he said in that interview on Arise Television and we begin to call the attention of Nigerian leaders and people to Tanzania, where a woman as President achieved so much in electricity under one year, and Algeria, where we are now hearing about helicopters of various types being launched to make Africa proud.

“You could permit me to now end my comments with this borrowed word from Professor Lumumber, when invited to give a retreat lecture to our won National Assembly members-elect in 2019 and he asked them a simple but unanswerable question: ‘Are you honourable members or horrible members?’

“To Nigerian government and Nigerians themselves, who seem not to know what they want as they continue to glorify even the same politicians in power the put them in bad state they find themselves, I ask: Are we really honourable Nigerians or horrible Nigerians? Only the time will time. For now, let me congratulate Tanzania and Algeria for their giant strides in making their respective nations and Africa proud. I am sure that with Caverton, Innoson and Air Peace, I should be able to wish Nigeria same soonest.”


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