The Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Company Ltd has begun exporting automobiles with Sierra Leonian Government taking delivery of first batch of automobiles produced by IVM, Monday
The vehicles, arrived Free Town, the Capital of Sierra Leone would be used by the Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) military officers.
The company with its head office in Nnewi, Anambra State said the success was in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
In a statement to journalists in Lagos the company said that decision of the Sierra Leone Government led by President Julius Maada Bio has received commendation from its citizens.
The statement hinted that the people lauded the government for acting in line with the spirit of the continental agreement by opting for an African (IVM) brand of vehicles for the use of the country’s Armed Forces.
With the arrival of the Innoson vehicles in Free Town, Sierra Leone has become the first country in West Africa whose armed forces are using the IVM products outside Nigeria.
“The IVM vehicles are currently being discharged at Queen Elizabeth 2 Port, the Sierra Leone’s sea Port Water Quay in Free Town,” the statement said.
In one of the many reports in the local media on the purchase of the Made-in-Nigeria vehicles, a popular blog in Sierra Leone, Focus News Blog, hailed President Bio for believing “that our Army Officers deserve better.”
The post, which showed a line-up of the IVM products from Nigeria, informed Sierra Leoneans that the vehicles would soon be “ready for distribution to military officers across the country” by the government
In one of the effusive commendations for President Bio, a Sierra Leonean, Francis Ken Samu, remarked, “We are on top of the situation in times of security. Bravo HE President Bio. Keep the Military Colour Flag going up higher than ever before in de history of Sierras Leone.. God bless you, HE President Bio for equipping the RSLAF.”
Four years ago, the Nigerian Army signed a partnership agreement with the Nnewi auto plant for the supply of purpose-built vehicles for its personnel.
The agreement also includes identifying requirements for the production of the armoured fighting vehicle in Nigerian Army Central Workshop in Kaduna and enhancing the capacity of Nigerian Army personnel to actively participate in the successful implementation of these joint ventures
The export of Innoson is coming two years after President Mohammadu Buhari signed the AFCFTA agreement in July, 2019.
However, there has been foot-dragging locally on the implementation of the agreement, which is believed to have great potential to support economic development on the continent