By Ismaila Chafe, Abuja.
The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has entered into a partnership with the Israeli and Japanese firms to commence assembling and manufacturing of environmentally-friendly, green, electric and smart automobiles by 2023.
Some Nigerian companies, including PAN Nigeria Limited, are also in the partnership.
Speaking while signing the partnership agreement in Abuja, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Freeman, said that the partnership was a combination of Israeli, Japanese and Nigerian technologies.
He, therefore, expressed the hope that the partnership would help address the many challenges affecting the transport and environment sectors in Nigeria.
Freeman said: “It is a project that is a partnership with Israeli, Japanese and Nigerian companies taking place in Nigeria.
“What is special about this project is that it is a timely project that combines Israeli technologies, Japanese technologies, Nigerian entrepreneurship and innovation together to create a project that is going to work fabulously.
“We are talking about bringing electronic motorcycles into Nigeria, which will be a programme that is green, environmentally-friendly.
“It offers people a cheap way and safe way of transport and even has a technology to ensure that the motorcycles are only used for legal and appropriate purposes.
“When we look at what the problems are in the world and in also in Africa and in Nigeria, we are talking about issues of fuel scarcity, we are talking about green technology, we are talking about the need to provide cleaner, cheaper, easier transport.”
The Executive Vice-Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, lauded the collaboration, saying that with the project, Nigeria would start the manufacturing of Nigerian-made electrical vehicles in the nearest future.
He said: “The first attempt to domesticate certain technologies in this country, especially in the automobile industry. has not worked with continuous importation.
“NASENI has come into this now with the perfect partners, Japanese and Israeli companies; their technologies are proven and known.
“But most importantly, Nigeria will not just be consuming this technology; we are here to make sure that we domesticate, produce and manufacture in Nigeria.
‘We are grateful and we are happy with this collaboration and we assure Nigerians that the automobile industry, after this collaboration, will not be the same again.”
The representative of Israeli company, Peramare Enterprise, Dr Ayal Raz, said that in spite of certain perceptions, Nigeria was a safe place for investments.
“With this innovative idea, we believe it is going to change so many things in the face of Nigeria.
“It will bring green energy, which means cheaper cost of transport and we all know what that means for our people.
“It will give work to the people because it is industry, we are going to put a factory here, we will start with assembling, then building. It will give us less pollution and greener air.
“Nigeria is safe to do business and by the special grace of God, it is going to come during the first quarter of 2023,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer, SIXAI — the Japanese partner — Mr Sasi Shilo, said that beyond production, his company was keen on supporting Nigeria to build a sustainable nation with clean and safe technologies.
“It is very exciting moment. We have been working in the automobile industry for about half a decade, we have certified plants in 14 different countries.
“We really want to contribute to the growth of African nations with our technology.
“What we want to bring is not only to produce but what we want to achieve is to support the African nations to be sustainable through our products, with safety and environmentally friendly features in our technology,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of PAN Nigeria Limited, Wadada Aliyu, described the initiative as historic and a starting point for technological evolution in Nigeria.
He said: “This is historic, because Nigeria is conforming with the order of the day, which is green environment and it is memorable because NASENI has set the ball rolling.
“This synergy between Israeli, Japan, NASENI and PAN as a facility where the assembling will be done, I think the sky will be a starting point of technological evolution in Nigeria.”
The project was facilitated by Nigerian company, LINKSMAN International Ltd.
According to the Managing Director of the firm, Madisa Haruna, the project seeks to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 7.
He said that it seeks to enhance international cooperation, facilitate access to clean energy research and technology.