Perhaps, Nigeria would have joined the likes of Germany, Japan, India and Malaysia as an automobile manufacturer as far back as 1997 when Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu, an electrical/electronics engineer, a doctor of science and lecturer of communications and electronics engineering at the Federal Polytechnic, Owerri, made a prototype of his first ever all-African car which he named Z-600.
The car which BBC’s Hilary Andersson described as the all-African dream machine, was made for the family market with a top speed of 140km (86m) per hour.
Ninety per cent of its parts were sourced locally. For instance, the horn was a doorbell and it would have been the cheapest car on the planet as it would have cost just $2,000 to own one.
According to Izuogu who had demonstrated a great flair for inventive and creative knowledge from early childhood, he was working on adapting the engine to allow the Z-600 to double up as a lawnmower or an electricity generator.
With the usual Nigerian lackadaisical attitude when it comes to things that will help project the country’s image to the world positively, the authorities were not ready to invest money in the project and so in 2005, the South African Government invited him to build the car there. And since he who pays the piper dictates the tune, South Africa would have been the proud manufacturers of the Z-600 were it not for the incidence of March 11, 2006.
Made by Izuogo
Unfortunately, this dream was not to see the light of day. According to Dr. Izuogu, some armed men numbering about 12 broke into the Izuogu Motors factory on Saturday, March 11, between 1.00 and 2.00 a.m. and carted away various machines and tools including the design history notebook of Z-600, the design file Z-MASS, containing the design history for mass production of Z-600 car, and the moulds for various parts of the car.
Said Izuogu; “It seems that the target of this robbery is to stop the efforts we are making to mass-produce the first ever locally made car in Africa. Other items stolen included locally produced timing wheel, locally produced camshaft, locally produced crankshaft, locally produced engine tappets, all 20 pieces each.
Made by Izuogu
Also stolen were ten pieces of locally produced Z-600 engine blocks, ten pieces of locally produced pistons, four pieces of engine block mounds, four pieces of top engine block moulds, ten pieces of engine fly wheel and two pieces each of rear car and front mudguard moulds.”
The inventor regretted that not only did they lose over one N1 billion in monetary terms, but also time (about 10 years) and the energy it took to design and produce the moulds. “To worsen the matter, our design notebook was also stolen,” he stated.
He regarded the incident as a national economic disaster because  the nation had lost a technological and intellectual property.

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