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Reps Empanel Conference Committee On Electoral Act Amendment Bil …Probe NYSC Over Ransom Payment To Kidnappers’ Claim

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The House of Representatives has set up a 7-member Conference Committee on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, made the announcement during plenary in Abuja, yesterday.
Gbajabiamila said the conference committee would work with that of the Senate on the Electoral Act to achieve concurrence.
It would be recalled that the members are; Akeem Adeyemi as the chairman, James Faleke, Blessing Onuh, Aisha Dukku, Unyime Idem, Chris Azubogu and Abdullahi Kalambaine as members.
Meanwhile, Rep. Godday Odagboyi, who was elected on the platform of Labour Party (LP), from Benue State, has officially defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the floor of the House.
Reading the letter of his defection, Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, said Odagboyi’s defection was due to a crisis in the party.
Gbajabiamila went ahead to appreciate the Minister of Special Duty, Senator George Akume, the former Governor of Benue State and the Acting National Chairman of the APC, Mai Mala Buni.
He, however, asked the Minority Leader, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, if he had any objection to his defection, but there was no objection.
Also, the House of Representatives, yesterday, resolved to investigate the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) over alleged insertion of the advice for payment of ransom to kidnappers into its pamphlets containing security tips to serving corps members.
It would be recalled that the matter which went viral, especially on social media became controversial with the NYSC authorities initially denying the insertion but later backtracked.
The insertion read thus, “When travelling on high risks roads such as Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja-Okene or Aba-Port Harcourt roads, then alert your family members, friends and colleagues, in order to have someone on hand to pay off the ransom that could be demanded.”
Also, in another section of the hand-out, the NYSC also warned serving corps members against travelling with communication gadgets like laptops and cell phones so as not to be charged according to their worth.
The section reads, “In this period of ICT, do not travel with communication gadgets like laptops, iPad, handsets, and other electronic facilities that you stored personal information such as finances, net worth, investment, and business dealings as kidnappers will charge according to your worth.”
Considering and adopting a motion titled, “Need to Investigate the Alleged Insertion of the Advice for Payment of Ransom into the National Youth Service Corps Pamphlets Containing Security Tips”, sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu at yesterday’s plenary, the House of Representatives mandated its Committee on Youth Development to investigate the insertion of item 65(e) in the NYSC Security Awareness and Education Handbook to ensure that adequate measures were put in place to provide safety of corps members across the country.
Presenting the motion earlier, Elumelu recalled that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was created on May 22, 1973, as an avenue for reconciliation, reconstruction and rebuilding of the nation after the civil war.
He noted that the programme was set up, primarily for Nigerian graduates below the age of 30 who intend to work in Nigeria to be at the forefront of national developmental efforts as well as a means to impart values of nationalism, patriotism, loyalty and accountable leadership in Nigerian youths.
“The programme requires that participants be posted to states other than their states of origin where they are expected to mix with people from other ethnic groups, social and family backgrounds and learn the culture of the indigenes they are posted to, to bring about unity in the country regardless of cultural diversity
“The security challenges in the country affect corps members as some of them, on their way to respective places of posting, have fallen victim to kidnap-for-ransom, some have lost their lives to insurgents and other mishaps.
“In the last few days, reports have surfaced with picture evidence of an embarrassing provision under Section 65(e) of the NYSC security tips pamphlet, advising corps members to tell their families to make ransoms available in case they are kidnapped on the road.
“The inclusion of the said section shows a complete collapse in the architectural system of the country’s security forces and a major worry for friends and family as to why their children should be allowed to participate in this compulsory exercise.
“The provision shows a lack of concern for the safety of corps members as against the provisions of Section 19 of the Public Officers Protection Act which places the welfare and security of corps members on the Federal Government disturbed that the insertion of such a clause by the NYSC in its security tips manual portrays the inability of the government to provide security on the highways as well as a surrender by the government to kidnappers and bandits”, he said.
Reacting to the motion, the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila reminded Elumelu that the NYSC denied the praise.
“I thought NYSC denied it”, he said.
In response to Gbajabiamila’s question, Elumelu read the lines in the pamphlet.
“I am aware that NYSC denied it but Mr. Speaker, I have before me the pamphlet. This is the pamphlet they are using everywhere”, he said, and proceeded to read the lines.
But Gbajabiamila still expressed fear there could be another version of the booklet, especially with the NYSC denying the insertions.
He, however, asked the committee to verify the authenticity of the insertions, saying there will be a problem if it was real.
“During the course of your investigation, verify the authenticity. If it is authentic, then, there is a problem”, he said.
The motion was eventually adopted after securing the votes of the majority of the House.

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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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