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Boko Haram: US Offers N2.5bn For Shekau’s Arrest

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The United States Department of State is offering a reward of up to $7million (approximately N2.5billionn) for information leading to the arrest of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.
The Rewards for Justice Programme, which is the counterterrorism rewards programme of the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, said this in a tweet on its official Twitter handle, yesterday.
The tweet reads, “The United States Department of State offers a reward up to $7million for information leading to the arrest of the terrorist, Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram”.
Shekau has been the leader of Boko Haram since the extrajudicial killing of its former leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in 2009.
It would be recalled that the terrorist group has killed tens of thousands and displaced roughly 2.3 million from their homes, and was at one time the world’s deadliest terror group, according to the Global Terrorism Index.
Boko Haram’s past targets have included suicide bombings of police buildings and the United Nations office in Abuja.
Of the 2.3 million people displaced by the conflict since May, 2013, at least, 250,000 have left Nigeria and fled into Cameroon, Chad or Niger.
The group has carried out mass abductions, including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April, 2014, and two years ago, abducted some schoolgirls from Dapchi in Yobe State, releasing all of them except Leah Sharibu who refused to deny her Christian faith.
The Federal Government has since initiated a plan to give amnesty to repentant terrorists while the Senate is currently debating a bill to establish an agency that will cater for the repentant insurgents.
The government has on three separate occasions claimed to have killed Shekau but the Boko Haram leader has resurfaced on several videos to show that he is still alive.
Shekau is currently number eight on the list of the most wanted terrorists by the US.
Some others include: Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is the current emir of al-Qaeda and former leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad ($25million); Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is the leader of the Haqqani Network, based in Pakistan ($10million); Abu Muhammad Al-Julani $10million, Abdullah Abdullah ($10million) wanted for his role on behalf of al-Qaeda in the 1998 US Embassy bombings.
Saif al-Adel ($10million) is believed to be a high-ranking member of the al-Qaida organization and also wanted for the 1998 US Embassy twin bombing.
Meanwhile, jihadists have killed four police officers and two civilian militiamen in an attack on a military base in Borno State, yesterday, security sources said.
Suspected Boko Haram fighters in trucks fitted with machine guns launched a dawn raid on the Army base in Damboa town, sparking intense fighting.
“We lost four mobile policemen and two civilian militia fighting alongside soldiers during the fight with the terrorists,” said a military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Anti-jihadist militia leader, Ibrahim Liman confirmed the toll, after supporting soldiers during the attack.
Nigeria’s decade-long jihadist insurgency has killed 36,000 people and displaced two million others inside the country, and spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Local resident, Modu Malari said, yesterday, that the insurgents had attacked with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades but were forced out from the town by troops after a fierce two-hour battle.
More than 50 residents were injured by shrapnel from grenades fired by the jihadists, he said, after some strayed into nearby homes.
Damboa lies on the fringe of Boko Haram’s Sambisa Forest stronghold from where the group has launched repeated attacks on villages and military posts.
In November, last year, at least, 10 Nigerian soldiers were killed and nine injured in a Boko Haram ambush in Muchima village, outside Damboa.

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FG Targets Production Of Locally Made Vehicles By Dec

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The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, has affirmed that Nigeria now has the capacity and materials to manufacture Made-In-Nigeria cars for local use and export.
With the enabling environment being provided by the government, she said manufacturers should be held responsible if the cars are not rolling out by December 2024.
Currently, Nigeria produces less than 10 per cent of the vehicles used in the country.
Last year, Nigeria’s vehicle assembling industry, estimated to be worth around N302billion, tanked to a new low due to increasing production costs and weakened demand for locally assembled automobiles.
According to the Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index, activities of motor vehicles and miscellaneous assembly deteriorated further below the benchmark (50 points) from 48.6 to 46.7 points.
But speaking at the Automotive Component Manufacturers meeting in Abuja, she noted that the automobile industry is faced with both challenges and opportunities.
A statement issued last Friday by the Director of Information and Public Relations, Adebayo Thomas, said, “In a significant move aimed at fostering sustainable growth and development in Nigeria’s automobile industry, the Federal Government has issued a clarion call to all stakeholders, including manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem.
“The call comes as part of a broader strategy to enhance the sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy.”
Encouraging the stakeholders to key into the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy, the Minister said, “As far as we are concerned, the auto industry is now set to go.
“We are counting on all stakeholders to make that happen. If we do not produce made-in-Nigeria cars before the end of this year (December), it will be your fault, because I am sitting down here giving you all the assurances that this administration has created the enabling environment to make sure that the auto policy kicks off.”
Anite emphasised the need for collaboration among manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem, saying by working together, they can address challenges, streamline processes, and drive innovation.
She also urged stakeholders to maintain high-quality standards across the board, including vehicle manufacturing, safety features, emissions control, and after-sales services.
Stringent adherence to quality, she said, will boost consumer confidence and attract investment.
The minister assured all that the government would continue to encourage increased investment in research and development, adding that, innovations in electric vehicles, fuel efficiency, and alternative energy sources are critical for long-term sustainability.
On local content, she also emphasised the importance of promoting local content by sourcing materials and components locally.
By doing this, she said, the sector can create jobs, reduce import dependency, and contribute to economic diversification
In his introductory comments, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nura Rimi, emphasised the significance of team action and shared vision as outlined in the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy.
He also urged stakeholders that the country “will overcome obstacles and unleash the full potential of Nigeria’s automotive component sector.”
He encouraged NADDC and other stakeholders to use the chance to form alliances, explore new areas of collaboration, and devise ways to catapult the automotive components manufacturing industry to new heights of success.
The statement added, “The government’s charge underscores the pivotal role stakeholders play in shaping its trajectory. Their commitment to sustainable practices will drive Nigeria’s automotive sector towards a brighter and more prosperous future.
“Environmental Responsibility: Stakeholders are reminded of their environmental responsibilities. Sustainable practices, recycling, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes are essential for a greener future.”

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Waive Tax On Electronic Imports, Women Engineers Appeal To Tinubu

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The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Lagos Chapter, has called on President Bola Tinubu to exempt the importation of electronic components from taxation for inventive engineers.
Chairman of APWEN, Ms Atinuke Owolabi, said this a in statement yesterday in Lagos, in commenration of the 2024 World Creativity and Innovation Day, with the theme: “Step Out and Innovate”.
The Tide source reports that World Creativity and Innovation Day is a global UN Day, celebrated on April 21, to raise awareness about the importance of creativity and innovation in problem solving.
This is with respect to advancing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, also known as the global goal.
Owolabi explained that such a measure would significantly enhance technological progress, support local innovators, and elevate Nigeria as a leading hub for innovation globally.
She stated that in a world marked by dynamic challenges and unprecedented opportunities, creativity and innovation stand as the driving forces behind progress and transformation.
According to her, women engineers recognise the critical role that innovation plays in shaping our societies and driving sustainable development.
”On this occasion, we affirm our commitment to fostering a culture of creativity and innovation within our organisation and the broader engineering community.
”Together, let us step out, innovate, and inspire the next generation of women engineers to reach even greater heights of achievement and impact.
”We believe that by stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new ideas, technologies, and approaches, we can unlock innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing our world today,” she said.
According to her, the theme: ‘step out and innovate’, serves as a call to action for women engineers everywhere to break barriers, challenge conventions.
She noted that it would also pioneer groundbreaking solutions that would propel them toward a brighter and more sustainable future.
Owolabi disclosed that in celebration of the World Creativity Day, APWEN Lagos had inaugurated an artificial intelligence club tailored for female engineering students and young engineers.
She said that the proactive initiative aimed to inspire and equip young engineers with cutting-edge technological insights.
Th chairman said, “Additionally, we already have a 200-capacity hall to set up a resource, technology, and innovation hub to empower women and girls in engineering.
”This endeavour serves as a catalyst for encouraging aspiring female engineers to embrace innovation and stay abreast of emerging trends in the field.
”APWEN Lagos stands united in its dedication to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and excellence in engineering.
“We encourage all female engineers to seize this opportunity to unleash their creativity, explore new frontiers, and make an indelible mark on the world.”

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Pan-Igbo Group Hails Dangote Group For Reducing Diesel Price

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A pan-Igbo group, Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), has commended the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his management for reducing the price of diesel from N1,600 to N,1000 per litre.
The Tide’s source reports that diesel is the major fuel used by heavy duty vehicles and generating sets to transport goods as well as run industries across the country.
The President of NUF, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, told The Tide’s source in Enugu, yesterday, that Dangote’s timely response to suffering masses of Nigerians, going through hell to get a meal a day, “is highly commendable”.
According to Chukwudum, Nigerians need to appreciate the patriotism of Dangote since what he has done will go a long way in reducing prices of goods, especially food stuff which has gone out of the reach of the poor.
He called on Nigerians, who wish and pray always for the betterment of the country, to appreciate and thank God for answering their prayer through Dangote’s move.
“It is clear that if Dangote Refinery starts fully and gets all the crude oil needed from Nigeria, the prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel will further reduce.
“We commend President Bola Tinubu for being a listening President and supporting the Dangote Group on our crude oil needs.
“We appeal to Tinubu to encourage Dangote by providing the company with crude oil at a reduced rate as we have been demanding,” he said.
Chukwudum said that this move and subsequent further reduction, would bring industries in comatose back to life, jobs created for unemployed youths and reduction in crime as well.
“We call on governors of oil-producing Anambra, Imo and Abia States to bring investors, who shall build refineries in each of the states to refine thousands of barrels of crude in commercial quantities,” he said.

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