South African Defence Manufacturer May Build Armoured Vehicles in Nigeria

Springbuck armoured personnel carrier

South Africa based military and security equipment manufacturer Mekahog has proposed setting up a facility to build the Springbuck series of armoured personnel carriers in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade commended Mekahog’s management for offering to establish an armoured personnel carrier (APC) production facility in Nigeria. He promised to facilitate the steps necessary to set up the plant.

Mekahog, an agent of South African company Drakensberg Truck Manufacturers, has supplied its products to the Nigerian Police Force and may refurbish and upgrade some items. Since 2008, more than 30 Springbuck APCs have been delivered to Nigeria and more are on the way as part of an ongoing contract.

Mekahog Group president Ikedi Ohakim earlier told the minister than many of the company’s products were being satisfactorily used by the Nigerian police and other security agencies.

The good experience with Nigeria’s security agencies was an incentive to establish a manufacturing plant in Nigeria, Ohakim said. The factory would provide work for around 2 000 people. However, discussions with the Nigerian government are ongoing.

Ohakim said that Mekahog was prepared to train officers in the Nigerian police in the repair and maintenance of its equipment and invited officials from the ministry of police to inspect its factory in South Africa.

According to Nigeria’s Ministry of Information, the Nigerian government will soon stop doing businesses with foreign firms that have no production facilities in Nigeria with the aim of stopping the country from being a dumping ground for low quality foreign products.

The Springbuck vehicles is roughly based on the dimensions of the original South African Mamba vehicle and weighing from 8 tons up. Carrying capacity is ten troops, plus a driver. Ballistic protection is able to stop bullets up to 7.62 mm calibre. A V-shaped hull provides protection against a single TM57 mine under the vehicle while the Springbuck has sufficient armour to defeat a double TM57 mine under any wheel. The vehicle has a top speed of 115 km/h.

Excellent outward visibility and easy handling makes the vehicle specifically suitable for urban patrols, which is something of a necessity in Nigeria as it combats Boko Haram militia.