Nigeria: Inventor seeks govt support for amphibious cars

Nigeria – A 39-year-old inventor, Mr. Durojaye Obasanjo, who invented an Air-amphibian Jet, has called on the federal government to take advantage of specially talented people that abound in Nigeria to develop the nation. Obasanjo made the call when he visited the corporate headquarters of Champion Newspapers Limited (CNL) in Lagos on Wednesday.

He said the project of building his air-Amphibian Jet started in 1990, adding that the vehicles could run on land, sea, and air.

According to the Lagos state born inventor, his invention attracted the attention of the government during the regime of the Military President, Ibrahim Babangida but nothing came out of it other than a commendation letter from the then Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Department.

The inventor is going to Lagos State Government, his native state, Ogun State Government, and the National Assembly to seek assistance to further develop the project.

According to him, since his invention few years back, engineers from many countries have been wooing him for a possible partnership but he determined to develop the technology in Nigeria.

On his invention, Obasanjo said most of his materials were locally sourced from scrap, adding that the most expensive of the project was the conversion of Vespa engine to aerodynamic which made it possible to fly as well as run on waters.

He said the prototype cost approximately N2.5 million but if given adequate support from government the vehicle can be mass produced for the benefit of the masses.

He however noted that the sample being showcased cost about N650,000 as it was not yet developed for flying.

“We need about N2.5 million to acquire the necessary gadgets to make it very comfortable; given the necessary support we have the capacity to mass-produce the vehicle. This single prototype cost at least N650,000. It can run on the sea, land and air. We can put it in simultaneous mode where it can automatically adapts to either water, land or air situation, he said.

According to the inventor, his team had made such vehicle which has the capacity to carry about 22 persons.

Obasanjo is a graduate of Electronics & Computer from the Lagos State University (LASU) but he maintained that his educational qualifications had nothing to do with his inventions.

“I developed interest in automobile technology as a child, during my days at Iganmu High School, I had already started trying my hands in one invention or another,” he said.

It would be recalled that a similar invention was unveiled way back in 1997 by Imo born engineering wizard, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu.

The Izuogu Z-600 prototype was the first indigenous Nigerian car. It is also the first automobile of indigenous all-African technology.

Launched in 1997, it caused a stir in the hearts of the many Nigerians who hoped for a personal car and stimulated the Nigerian media.

The car was touted by the former Nigerian chief of Staff General Oladipo Diya.

The prototype was equipped with a self-made 1.8L four cylinder engine that got 18mpg and allowed the car to achieve a top speed of 140km/h (86 mph). Front Wheel Drive (FWD) was chosen over Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) because a transmission tunnel would be more expensive to fabricate. 90% of the car’s components were made locally.

The design of the car was very utilitarian resembling a Renault 4 with its upright stance and a front end that resembles the locally assembled Peugeot 504.

To be priced at $2000 it would have been the cheapest car in the world. Clever features like a door bell used in place of a horn ensure it achieves its low price target. Mass production was planned under Izuogu motors located in Naze, Imo State. But too many hurdles mainly financial and political prevented the car from going past the prototype stage.

In 2005 interest from other African countries arose about the Z-600 and Dr. Izuogu was invited to South Africa to give a speech on science and technology. The South African Government showed keen interest in the car and wanted Izuogu to build it in South Africa.

Optimism surrounded the car until March 11th, 2006, when armed robbers raided the factory of Izuogu Motors taking with them the molds for the engine blocks and crank shaft, mudguards and other components. This was a big setback for the project. Since then not much is known on the status of the car. Can the Obasanjo invention be allowed to die like Izuogu’s Z-600?

Source – Afrique en ligne



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