Experts in the automobile ammunition industry have criticised the N255m-price and the specification of the two armoured BMW 7li bought by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.
The Managing Director, Coscharis Motors, Mr. Josiah Samuel, had on Wednesday, while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation in Abuja, denied the committee’s accusation that the company connived with the NCAA to inflate the cost of the cars.
Samuel had claimed that the BMWs were “7 Series, B7” security cars, which were costlier than their equivalent quoted by “independent armourers” on the Internet. He said the BMW cars the firm supplied to the NCAA was €418,000, excluding other charges.
He argued that the cars in question had factory-fitted armour, as against buying a plain car before taking it to an independent firm to rebuild.
However, the managing director of a firm that specialises in armouring cars, told our correspondent on Friday that Samuel was not sincere with the specification and the price of the cars.
The MD who pleaded anonymity said class B7 armour was strictly for the military and that Samuel might have made the claim to justify the amount the cars were supplied.
The source said, “Coscharis said it was B7, it can never be B7. Level B7 is military spec. It is only the United States President, Barack Obama that uses a personal vehicle that is B7. Obama’s car is B7, no other person. It can’t be B7; B7 for what?
“If you go to the windscreen (of the armoured vehicle), check the diameter; B6 is 35mm, B6+ is 39mm, and B7 is 72mm. That is double. I can assure you, it can never be B7. It is not possible.”
Besides, the expert said the price was too exorbitant. He said while the cars bought by the NCAA, which were manufactured in 2008, cost N127.5m each, “the landing cost of a brand new 2014 model imported, duty inclusive, is about N43m.”
He added, “The Toyota Prado which NCAA said cost N60m is even too high. A brand new 2013 Landcruiser 4.6L, not even Prado, supplied last week cost N48m.”
The source also faulted the claims by Coscharis that the vehicles were costlier from the manufacturer, BMW. He further said it was untrue that factory-fitted car armour was costlier, as the cost of production is reduced where a car was armoured by the manufacturer.
“When the manufacturers build the cars (armoured and unarmed), it is the same thing. The only advantage is that it is cheaper from them because they are not going to remove the metal panels on the car before armouring. It means when an order is placed, the panels would have been armoured before they are placed. It is easier for them and it should be cheaper,” the source said.
When our correspondent enquired from another armoured vehicle company, Proforce Limited, Mr. Kunle Laguda, he said armoured vehicles, such as those bought by the NCAA, should have heavy duty reinforced suspension and ballistic metals at level B6+, which will stop AK47 riffles; run flat tyres, and also more for 60km after being shot.
Other specifications, according to him, included electric door handles and smoke screen, which makes the vehicle emit smoke at the press of a button during an attack.
The source, however, could not determine whether the NCAA cars had these capabilities.
An infuriated member of the committee, Jerry Manwe, had said a quotation he received from an American firm showed that the same car sold for N42m.
He said, “We are not fools; you have been taking us for a ride. You imported the cars without paying duty, why are you selling one for over N127m? Are your own bulletproof cars manufactured in the moon?”
Source: Punch Nigeria