Fact Check: Who commissioned Nigeria’s first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle? Buhari or Jonathan?

  • Posted on: 16 February 2018
  • By: editor

On Thursday February 14, 2018, Nigerian media was awash with stories of President Muhammadu Buhari commissioning Nigeria’s first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) named TSAIGUMI in Kaduna.

 But fact check by TheNiche revealed that former President Goodluck Jonathan in fact commissioned Nigeria’s first UAV in 2014 named GULMA which was designed and built by Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

 At the event, which held at the NAF Base in Kaduna, Jonathan then said that indigenous initiatives remain indispensable in achieving notable greatness by any nation.

 He added that the government would encourage the private sector to collaborate with NAF to produce the unmanned aerial vehicle in mass for commercial use, the Nation newspaper had reported.

 “As I said in my Independence Day address, our nation is made great by the big and small efforts of regular citizens. Indeed, indigenous initiatives remain indispensable in achieving notable greatness.

“Our importance on the global stage suggests that we must continue to produce leaders in science, technology and engineering and invest more in creating new ideas. We must not forget the lesson of this encouraging moment in our nation’s history and that as Nigerians, we are capable of great deeds.

“In the same manner, we must not forget that ahead of us lie challenges that we must surmount. We must remain focused on our common national purpose.

“The unveiling of our country’s first indigenous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a landmark moment in our nation’s history. Besides its diverse military applications, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle provides mankind with a range of benefits in disaster management, power line surveillance, law enforcement, telecommunication, whether monitoring and aerial image mapping, which is also rapidly becoming an important tool in news coverage, environmental monitoring and oil and gas exploration.

  “Considering the potential impact of fixed benefits and versatility, I cannot, but say how proud I am of the men and women of our armed forces. Apart from their commitment to the protection of our sovereignty, they are helping to keep our nation ahead in military science and technology and keep their civilian counterparts on their toes.

“In the years past, we have launched the first indigenous vessel developed by our Navy and various armoured and operational vehicles developed by the Nigerian Army. To all of you, I say thank you. Your collective efforts have opened a new vista, innovation and opportunity for our nation.

“Today, as we stand in appreciation of the gallant men and women of our Air Force, we are reminded that hard work and diligence can break many barriers. I specially commend the Chief of Air Staff and all the officers and men of the NAF for this pioneering achievement, which will strengthen our nation and enhance our role in peace keeping and conflict prevention.

“With only a few weeks to our centenary celebration as a nation, this achievement is a shining ornament and the icing on our 100th anniversary cake. I congratulate all Nigerians, who are surely and steadily beginning to manifest the new awareness of self-reliance and global competition.

“When we apply the objectives of the transformation agenda, it was in the firm belief that Nigeria possesses to place it at the forefront of global prominence in technology and in the economy.

“I am proud to see that the Nigeria Air Force has keyed into this vision and has today underlined its commitment to record greater achievements. It is our fervent hope that this stride by NAF will mark a turning point for indigenous technology in every sector of our national life, thereby rapidly facilitating our match towards a prosperous Nigeria,” Jonathan said at the event.

In Daily Trust and other media outlets, it was reported that TSAIGUMI was the country’s first UAV, which is not.

 Daily Trust stated: “As part of the Federal Government efforts to tackle insecurity in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled a surveillance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) produced locally by the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology.

The UAV, TSAIGUMI, is the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to be produced in the country and will be used to fight terrorism, armed banditry and other sophisticated crimes through enhanced air surveillance.”

 Findings by TheNiche show that Buhari indeed commissioned again what former President Goodluck Jonathan had commissioned four years ago.

“If the reports that President Buhari did commission what the former president had done before and takes credit for it, it shows that the anti-corruption fight has gone south,” Justin Osayemi, a public affairs analyst, told TheNiche.

 Earlier this year, there was war of words between Senator Ben Murray-Bruce and Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, over who started Abuja rail.

 While El-Rufai gave the credit to Buhari, Murray-Bruce said that former President Jonathan built the rail. But a fact check by TheCable newspaper showed that Jonathan built it.

Efforts by TheNiche to reach the Presidency for comments were not successful as they neither answered phone calls made to their numbers.