NAF Pays Official Visit to the Ibeto Group

On Tuesday 10th August 2021, a team of officers from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) led by the Director of Aircraft Engineering, Headquarters Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshall Moses Onilede, paid a working visit to the Headquarters of The Ibeto Group at Nnewi. The NAF officials received a rousing welcome from the Management Team of the Ibeto Group.

Explaining the purpose of the visit, the AVM Onilede stated that they are at the organization to “mutually identify and assess possible areas of further collaboration between the Nigerian Air Force and The Ibeto Group as it relates to aircraft maintenance”.

Photo: Nigerian Airforce combat helicopters

Furthermore, the Director of Aircraft Engineering emphasized that part of the vision of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Amao, is purposeful training and human capacity development as well as sustenance of platforms and equipment serviceability through innovative maintenance methods amongst others.

He praised the ingenuity of the Ibeto Group especially in their manufacture of specialized batteries for their aircraft and confirmed that the batteries and engine oil/lubricants produced by the Ibeto Group and supplied to the Nigerian Air Force are performing optimally.

It will be recalled that the former Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar had in November 2019 visited the Ibeto Group and there commended the then-existing working relationship between the Nigerian Air Force and The Group.

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No wonder in July 2020, the Ibeto batteries and the Ibeto Engine oils/Lubricants were adopted as the official products for the maintenance of the Ground and Aerospace equipment of the Nigerian Air Force.

On behalf of the Chairman/CEO of the Ibeto Group, Dr. Cletus Madubugwu Ibeto, CON, the Chief Operating Officer of the Union Autoparts Mfg. Co. Ltd, Engr. Vincent Ejike expressed delight saying that the visit portrays the confidence the NAF has in the quality of the Company’s Products and that the visit was an open show of the willingness of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Amao, to increase the local content value of the Air Force in addition to assisting local manufacturers to improve on their competences and competitiveness.

He assured the visitors that the organization is continually improving to ensure even better performance. He stated that the Group is ever ready to support and collaborate with the Nigerian Air Force in its onerous task of defending the sovereignty of the Nation by supplying quality products; Batteries and Engine oils/Lubricants that will guarantee optimum performance of NAF equipment.

He stated that the Ibeto Petrochemical arm of the Group is increasing its operations with the deployment of an Automatic Lube Filling Machine by the end of this August 2021 while Union Autoparts Mfg Co Ltd, the arm of the Group that manufactures batteries is already re-tooling its operations with the introduction of modern battery manufacturing equipment and that by the first quarter of next year, the modern battery plant will take off and will be in a position to not only do Automotive Batteries but also various types of Deep Cycle Batteries for Solar Project Applications and other uses.

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Engr. Ejike however bemoaned the uncontrolled importation of Batteries into Nigeria and the very high cost of used (spent) batteries due to the same uncontrolled activities of foreigners in Nigeria, particularly Chinese and Indians. He said that the above has led to the closure of 13 major battery manufacturing companies in Nigeria, a situation that threw over 13,500 workers back into the labour market, fueling unemployment and insecurity.

Concluding, he requested the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Isiaka Amao through the Director of Aircraft Engineering, Air Vice Marshall Moses Onilede to use his good offices to strongly support the continued usage of Ibeto batteries and engine oils/lubricants in all the formations of the Nigerian Air Force.

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Mr. Johnny Ekewuba, Head Sales/Marketing for the Battery manufacturing arm said that the visit will further solidify the relationship between the NAF and the Ibeto Group. The Head of Sales/Marketing for the Ibeto Petrochemical arm, Mr. Kingsley Ifegoro, commended the Air Force for looking inwards as it is a sure way of having a self-reliant Air Force.

In his vote of thanks to the visitors, the Ibeto Group General Manager, Human Resource and Administration, Sir C.J Ogbonnah, JP praised the vision of the Chief of the Air Staff, stressing that purposeful training and human capacity development are indispensable tools for raising a combat-ready Air Force. He thanked the NAF for their collaboration with the company and assured that the Ibeto Group will always play its role well.

In his parting words, AVM Moses Onilede assured that “the Nigerian Air Force will continue to be an advocate of the Ibeto Group”.

The Director of Aircraft Engineering was accompanied in the visit by the Deputy Director, Aircraft maintenance, Air Commodore P.G. Edem, and the Assistant Director, Wing Commander O.G Alabi among others.

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