The Abia State Government has explained the reason for purchasing a fleet of military vehicles from outside the country for the security personnel in the state.
Recall Governor Alex Otti had on Wednesday launched ‘operation crush’, a joint task force of police, army, navy, and other relevant security agencies, and subsequently unveiled 20 Hilux patrol vans donated by the administration to security agencies in the state.
However, Nigerians have berated the governor for ignoring indigenous companies like Innoson Motors and Nord while patronizing a foreign company.
Reacting in a Twitter post on Thursday, the Deputy Chief of Staff to Abia Governor, Nedu Ekeke said as at the time the trucks were needed in the state for swift military operations, Innoson had no such vehicles in stock.
He wrote: “We have read the comments on Social Media about the Toyota Hilux vans the Abia State govt bought for a special security operation named: Operation Crush.
“We appreciate the feedback, especially as most commenters are coming from a place of love for country and support for the Alex Otti administration.
“The administration appreciates, more than anyone else, the need to patronize locally made goods. And this was why we had, upon assuming office, ordered more than 50 units of cars from the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company. We currently have 20 unmet orders.”
Ekeke added that several commissioners do not even have official vehicles, and the Governor’s official automobile has yet to be delivered because he continues to use his personal vehicles as a sitting governor.
He added: “The military service commanders in Abia needed trucks for immediate take-off of the special operation and, unfortunately, Innoson had no such vehicles in stock.
“The government could not delay the operation as it places a premium on the lives and property of all Abia Residents.
“We are, first and foremost, interested in stemming insecurity in the state, and we want to do it quickly. We were constrained by time and had to go for what was readily available.
“This does not foreclose any prospect of future transactions with Innoson or any other local brand.
“We are open to honest feedback such as the one we have had in the last two days. We will always listen and respond. And even if we disagree with your perspective, we will still respond.”