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Nigerians spend N4bn on bulletproof vehicles

Posted by by Horatius Egua on 2005/01/19 | Views: 431 |

Nigerians spend N4bn on bulletproof vehicles


Nigerian politicians and tycoons may have spent up to N4billion on over 61 special protection (bulletproof) vehicles in the past three years.

Nigerian politicians and tycoons may have spent up to N4billion on over 61 special protection (bulletproof) vehicles in the past three years.

Another batch of 20 armoured Mercedes lorries valued at about N500 million would have arrived in the country in 2004, but for the ongoing recapitalisation in the banking sector.

An indigenous company, XL Logistics, a subsidiary of a notable new generation bank which intended to import the vehicles, had to soft-pedal.

It decided to put the importation on hold because most banks were preoccupied with how to meet the new N25 billion recapitalisation scheme. The Central Bank of Nigeria gave all banks a deadline of December 31, 2005 to achieve the target.

A United States-based armour manufacturing company, Texas Armouring Corporation, said it had manufactured and delivered more than 36 units of bulletproof vehicles to some politicians and businessmen in the country.

The 36 units cost N3 billion, with each selling for between $65,000 and $85,000.

In April, 2004, one of the world’s leading car manufacturer, DaimlerChrysler of Germany, said it exported about 25 units of such vehicles worth a billion naira to Nigeria.

The cheapest was sold for 250,000 euros; and the costliest at 350,000 euros.

Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the most sought after brands are the Mercedes Benz G-500, E-320, E-500; S-Class, Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover Discovery; Range Rover, BMW X5 and BMW sedan.

It is said that the brands which come in the B4, B6 and B7 categories, are impregnable against high-powered rifle fire, such as the AK-47 and M-16.

The Chief Executive Officer of Texas Armouring Corporation, Mr. Ronald Kimball, told our correspondent, that the global supply figure had exceeded 3,000 vehicle units since the company was established in 1977.

Texas Armouring Corporation specialises in the manufacturing of armoured bulletproof passenger vehicles.

Kimball said, “Our clients are normally corporate executives, government officials and diplomats from all over the world.”

Although he declined to name his company’s clients in Nigeria, Kimball disclosed that the first client in the country was an Imo State- born businessman.

In a reply to an inquiry by our correspondent, Kimball said, “In the past two years, Texas Armouring Corporation manufactured more than three dozens bulletproof vehicles, just for clients in Nigeria. The rest of the world is another story.”

The armoured vehicles bought by Nigerians, according to him, include Toyota Land Cruiser; Land Rover Discovery; Range Rover; BMW X5 and BMW sedan, fully armoured to defeat all high-powered rifle fire, such as the AK-47 and M-16.”

The vehicles, he added, may have optional equipment such as the smokescreen system, electric shocking system, dual ram bumpers, dual battery, siren/public address system, flashing strobe lights, and run-flat tyres.”

“Basically, anything that can save your life is worth having”, he said.

A document made available to our correspondent recently by Mercedes Benz, stated that high protection vehicles, designed to meet European B4 resistance level, can withstand large calibre revolver ammunition and offer particularly good protection against the increasing threat of drug-related and violent street crimes.

The toughest protection vehicles, with resistance level of B6 and B7, can provide effective protection against the threat posed by terrorist attacks.

Their armour can resist riffle-launched projectiles from military weapons, which have a velocity almost twice as that of bullets fired from a revolver.

They also offer a high level of resistance against shrapnel from hand grenades and explosive charges.

Kimball said his company was curious when in 1986, a Nigerian requested for a bulletproof vehicle

He explained, “In 1986, I recall having sold my first bulletproof car to a very nice gentleman from Imo State, who declared himself to be a chief. I was amazed that there was such a need”

Despite overblown reports in the international media about the menace of fraudsters in Nigeria, the security expert said, “It is a very interesting opportunity working with some very fine Nigerian businessmen and businesswomen.

“We had been warned. However, our experience is totally the opposite of so many others. We heard of 419 and other forms of fraud, but we never fell victim of any of them.”

Giving insight into the categories of people they provide services to, Kimball said, “Our clients represent some of the most threatened people in the world. Those threatened by assaults, kidnapping for ransom, and assassination attempts almost on a daily basis. The first line of defence for these people is the bulletproof car.”

Texas Armouring Corporation was founded in 1977 by the Kimball family in San Antonio, Texas.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.