By Theodore Opara


THE Federal Government and the Lagos State Government have commended the establishment of an auto assembly plant by Nord Automobile, an indigenous firm, and the University of Lagos, which can also produce drones at the university. The Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, who represented the President, Alhaji Mohammadu Buhari at the opening of the plant, expressed excitement over the establishment of the assembly, which is the first of its kind in Africa.

He commended the partnership between the university and Nord during the inauguration of the multipurpose automobile complex, describing the initiative as “a demonstration of abundant innovative energy of the youths of this country”. He said the project was in line with the motive behind President Buhari’s recently signed Executive Order 5, “which essentially has to do with indigenous components across all sectors of the economy. That is what we are putting into practice. And this project is part of that.”

Speaking on the drone technology, the minister said, “This is relevant in many areas, even in the delivery of drugs and in the area of security. It can be used to gather information that will be needed to move forward.“ He promised the support of the ministry to ensure the sustainability of the venture, stressing that such a partnership was needed for the economic growth of the country.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by Lola Akande, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, and Cooperatives, said the in-campus automobile complex provided “a hallmark of hope” for progress. He said, “The opportunity you have provided for our youths and the general population by setting up this assembly plant here in Lagos is greatly appreciated by us. This is consistent with our administration’s goal of creating a favourable business environment for the good people of the state.“

Outgoing Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, accompanied by the incoming VC, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, to the unveiling, said, the university decided to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nord team having found out the immense benefits of the project to the school. He said, “We entered into an MoU with Nord so that our students can get their training through this platform; the academic staff too can get their exposure through this platform. It is not only the staff in the Faculty of Engineering that will benefit from this, even those in the departments of architecture, finance, marketing, and every other department that has relevance to this project.”

Ogundipe said with the inauguration of the automobile complex, the university would now start assembling cars, buses, and other vehicles, depending on demand. He added, “We are going to be manufacturing drones in this same place. They already have an agreement with the Nigerian Air Force. And I want us to know that our students will learn something new in this area of drones and other things that will come from this particular arrangement.”

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