Nigeria's first car maker Innoson takes to the skies in fighter jets

By Kemi Mobuse - Monday, March 28, 2016

Innoson has signed an agreement to supply the Nigerian Air Force with spare parts for Alpha fighters.

The grinding conflict between the Nigerian state and Boko Haram insurgents has exacted a devastating human and economic toll over the past six years.

But for Nigeria's first car manufacturer, the crisis may represent an opportunity.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) recently announced a partnership deal with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), which will see the company supply spare parts for jets conducting airstrikes against the insurgents.
The ingenious effort by IVM is instrumental to the continued operation of the Alpha Jets," NAF spokesperson Ayodele Famuyiwa said of the deal. "IVM helped to save the day when help was not forthcoming from abroad."
IVM, part of the Innoson Group owned by billionaire Innocent Chukwuma, started producing commercial vehicles such as coaches in 2007, before launching a range of private cars in 2014 -- the first to carry a "Made in Nigeria" seal.

The offshoot company now employs over 7,000 people and has capacity to produce 10,000 cars a year. It is hoped that the partnership with NAF could help the business expand further.
"The attention is providing a big boost for the company," says Osigwe.

Innoson has gained several new clients since the deal, according to the spokesperson, including the National Assembly. Leading politicians such as Senator Ben Murray-Bruce have offered strong support.

Osigwe hopes that high profile supporters will help the company make inroads with the wider public.
"If the government patronize Innoson, individuals and companies will follow," he says.

Credit: CNN

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