• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Proforce manufactures military products to support Nigeria’s insurgency fight

Ade Ogundeyin

Ade Ogundeyin, chief executive officer of Proforce Limited, manufactures mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) for security operatives in the country.

He also produces bulletproof vests desperately needed by security operatives.

MRAP is a term for United States military light tactical vehicles designed to withstand improvised explosive device attacks and ambushes, says Wikipedia.

The firm, which operates at Ode-Remo in Ogun State, has developed a vibrant market for security and mobile protective products within Nigeria and Africa.

Ogundeyin was inspired to incorporate the business in 2008 as a total defense solution provider, specialising in armoured vehicles and personal protection. He was first approached by a Colombian company to help them sell their armoured vehicles in Nigeria.

He said he wanted to partner with the company instead of being their sales representative, but it turned down the request.

“We wanted a partnership with them but the firm disappointed us and, coincidentally, the company folded up within three months and we brought the equipment there into the country,” he said in a recent Journalists Hangout edition at TVC.

In addition to the third burner that can stand variance for stress, the vehicle also has a 360-degree camera.

It weighs 15 tons and can reach a speed of 120kilometer per hour on road and 110kilometer per hour off-road.

The vehicles have been designed and built by Proforce to assist Nigerian troops in the war against terror in the northeast and other parts of the country.

It has a height of 3.4meters and the engine is 400-horse power. The underbelly can withstand and deflect explosive weighing as much as 10 kilograms.

The MRAP has twin fuel tanks that take 440litres, meaning that the vehicle can run for 1200 kilometers without any need for refuelling.

It has long flat tyres which enable it to travel for 50 kilometres even when the tyres are fired at.

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According to him, the Nigerian government at all levels has no business importing any kind of armoured vehicles because the ones produced here are better, stronger, and have no overheating issues.

“The majority of the MRAPs you see out there have overheating engines and do not have long flat tyres, but in our own MRAPs this doesn’t happen,” he says.

“They have been tested in the North-East. It has been able to withstand the test of time,” he further said.

There is always the tendency to underrate anything made in Nigeria but with what Proforce has achieved with the country, that notion is gradually changing.

The Nigerian army has been making orders for Proforce’s MRAPs along with its spare parts.

Speaking of major challenges confronting the business, Ogundeyin said poor electricity supply and FX volatility have remained the main issues for Proforce.

According to him, the business imports some spare parts, stressing that accessing FX has been very challenging.

He said poor power supply has continued to impact the business negatively as it spends a lot on diesel to power its factory, thus raising its cost of production.

The business currently has Chad, Rwanda, and Niger as its clients.

“Most of the MRAPs we are currently producing are going to Chad. The government has concluded that our MRAPs are the business in this environment,” he said.

The employees are being trained locally and internationally specifically for the jobs. Through that, the business is increasing its capacity locally and providing the platform for locals in the rural community to work with an international firm like Proforce.

On the organisation’s future plans, he said the business, in the long run, wants to be on the international stage where its armoured vehicles will be in every country on the continent and also used on the international scale to fight terrorism.