The first batch of vehicles manufactured for the government of Sierra Leone by Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Ltd (IVM), has been delivered to the West African country by the Nnewi-based indigenous automaker.
The vehicles, which arrived at Freetown on Monday, November 21, 2022, were built to the order by Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Defence.
The request for the made-in-Nigeria vehicles was made during a working visit to Innoson Vehicles by top hierarchy of the Sierra Leone Defence Ministry led by Mr. Edward Soloku, the Minister of Internal Affairs, as well as Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation (SLRTC) led by its President Mr. Isaac Ken-Green.
Head of Corporate Communications, Innoson Group, Cornel Osigwe, said in a statement that various models of vehicles bought within that dispensation were for the present administration.
Osigwe explained that subsequently, the Government of Sierra Leone led by President Julius Maada Bio placed an order for the manufacturing of Innoson Vehicles valued at $4.7Million for the officers of Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).
The first set of the vehicles supplied from Nigeria to Sierra Leone were on Monday leaving Queen Elizabeth 2 Port (Sierra Leone’s Sea Port “Water Quay”) in Free Town for distribution to military officers across the country.
Reacting to the development, the people of Sierra Leone is said to have commended their President, Julius Maada Bio, 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.
“Innoson Group has penetrated the vehicle market over the years. It is currently serving as one of the few wholly African car assemblers,” a report stated.
Also 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 the history of Sierra Leone. God bless you, HE President Bio for equipping the RSLAF.”
This development is indeed a step towards the acceleration of intra-African trade as facilitated by the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).