The Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), is being repositioned to meet the security challenges in the country through increase of its production lines.
Specifically, the DICON, which was set up by the Federal Government in 1964 through an Act of Parliament, is embarking on new production lines to produce AK47 rifles as part of efforts to tame growing islamist attacks in the country.
AK-47 rifle, developed first in the old Soviet Union, is said to be the most-widely used and popular assault rifles in the world because of its durability, low production cost and ease of use even after six decades in terrorism, in the country.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and Chairman of the corporation’s board, Mr. Linus Awute, who revealed this information on inspection of DICON’s factory in Kakuri, Kaduna State, said the production of AK47 rifles would go a long way in meeting the demands of security agencies in confronting criminals.
‘We want to see what we can produce locally for our military and other security agencies to be able to meet up with the security challenges the country is currently facing. ‘Everything will be done to widen the scope of DICON systematically in view of the present economic situation in the country. The development of a new production line will help address the security challenges.
‘Apart from the military, other security agencies, especially the police, will benefit immensely in terms of weapons to confront crime.
‘Internal security is very paramount and that is why we are prioritizing DICON so that it will play its role effectively in meeting the needs of security agencies’ he said.
Awute stressed that Nigeria was fortunate to be one of the few African country which has a local defence industry, explaining that with the convergence of new technologies, there was need to reposition the industry to enable it to face the new challenges.
He commended the corporation for its strides, in spite of the challenges it was facing, assuring that priority would be given to what would enable it carry out its mandate in line with the transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He explained that government was aware that the corporation was yet to operate at full capacity, because some of the production lines were yet to be put in place. He promised to do all he can to ensure that the corporation produces to its full capacity by bringing up all its production lines.
The permanent secretary was optimistic that with the transformation agenda of the present government, ‘there will be a quantum leap forward in the performance of DICON,’ noting that the corporation had played its role well in the production of small arms.
However, he said the security of the nation is the concern of every citizen. ‘Every Nigerian has a duty to contribute in ensuring security in Nigeria. The media, in particular, must stand up and condemn criminality and stop glorifying it.’
DICON, at inception in 1964, had an install capacity to produce 5000 units of BM 59 rifles per annum, 18,000 units of SMG 12 per annum, 12,000,000 rounds of 7.62mm x 51 per annum and 4,000,000 rounds of 9mm x 19 per annum.