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How NADDC Is Driving Nigeria’s Development Through The Automotive Sector

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By Meshack Idehen

Since coming on board as the Director General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, (NADDC) about a year ago, analysts and stakeholders within and outside the automotive industry said there has been a marked and positive difference in Nigeria’s quest to become the hub for auto design and development in Africa and beyond.
This positive development is coming, even as other observers and industry experts said the Nigerian government is now committed to diversifying its economy that had been largely dependent on gas and oil-dependent, with policies now matching developmental actions.
In the past, Nigeria, they said, did not have an expert to drive its automotive design and development policies, but was always keen to tap into the unlimited potential that the automobile manufacturing industry represents, particularly with the hope that keying into these opportunities will help create thousands of jobs and draw large-scale investment from global car-makers around the world.
However, considering the pace with which the industry has been growing since the current leadership of NADDC led by Mr. Jelani Aliyu came in place, industry watchers said there were now hopes that the desires of the Federal Government for the automotive industry are now being realized.
United Kingdom based African Development Expert, Dr Mike Uyi, said the NADDC under Jelani Aliyu has been effectively utilizing the policy mandate of government, and has through that boosted local car production, reduced vehicle imports, and created industry wide skill acquisition opportunities for talented Nigerians.

“NADDC’s work under the current leadership has been guided by an automotive policy of the government that the current director general has been utilizing to draw global multi-billion dollars auto investments into Nigeria, like that with Nissan that was recently concluded”, he said.
It would be recalled that only few weeks ago, and as part of its continuous bid to make Nigeria the automotive design and development epicenter of Africa, Jelani Aliyu’s NADDC concluded arrangements to partner with global auto manufacturers, Nissan Automobiles International.
That initiative came even as NADDC fortified its efforts at creating more skills and job opportunities for Nigerians through its auto test centers located in various parts of the county.
Nissans Executive Vice President for Africa, Middle East and India, Mr. Peyman Kargar, at the event, said Nissan, through its partner, Stallion Motors has pledged its commitment to make more significant investments running into billions of dollars in Nigeria’s automotive sector.
According to him, “Nissan vehicles assembly plant which already covers over 380 hectares in Lagos, and produces four vehicles brands including patrol, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), Almeria Sedan Urban Mini buses and Pick-up trucks will grow its investments and footprints in Nigeria”.
The global auto manufacturers also reiterated that it was committed to working even closer with NADDC due to the current leadership, in order to develop the automotive industry in Nigeria due to their belief in the work that the NADDC is doing.
According to experts, it is noteworthy that while the Nissan’s initiative is ongoing, that NADDC is also currently and very actively working with other global automobile manufacturers, including BMW, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen towards setting up operations to produce brand new ones right here in Nigeria, thereby employing thousands of Nigerians in the process.

Commending the NADDC for its foresighted plans for Nigerians in the automotive industry, Automobile Engineer, Mr. Daniel Yahaya said NADDC has structured the National Automotive Industrial Development Plan in full support of local automotive manufacturing, and is continuously working with relevant stakeholders to provide a vehicle financing scheme so Nigerians won’t have to put down 100% cash when buying new cars.
With these initiatives already being put in place, he said Nigeria will move from a place where there are few highly expensive cars and millions of cheap very old ones, but a place where there are millions of modern new cars and even more of current high end ones.
Giving insights into how the country will benefit from these initiatives recently, the Director General had disclosed that NADDC is in process of building three test centers in Lagos, Enugu and Zaria to make sure that the cars and components produced, sold and used in the country are world standard.

According to him, “NADDC is working on building Public Private Partnership (PPP) Automotive supplier Parks in Nnewi, Kaduna and Oshogbo that would go into automotive components production, and the agency is engaging a consortium of original components manufacturers that supply the big global automotive companies, which will support as part of a body of many international technical partners.
It was gathered that through the support and initiatives of the council, that strong support are going the way of local automotive producers, while other manufacturers such as Honda, Ford, Fuso and Yutong are already producing vehicles in Nigeria.
“Innoson is producing its own vehicles in Nnewi. Peugeot in Kaduna has introduced new models that it produces. Nigeria would soon start production of advanced vehicles used in developed countries”, Yahaya said, while praising the director and NADDC for bringing life into the industry.
On his part while insisting that Nigerians will soon stop driving old and dilapidated vehicles due to the proactive measures of the NADDC, United States of America based industry expert, Mr. Dominic Okoji, said every Nigeria will soon be able to afford and use a brand new vehicle that is safe, effective and efficient if NADDC will continue to work with very strong and relevant partners.
Pointing out there less than 10 operational assembly plants in Nigeria before now, Okoji said since approving the policy, and the coming of the current NADDC’s leadership, that over 30 global car-makers, including Toyota and Honda, have obtained licenses to begin car assembly in Nigeria.
To facilitate the place of Nigerians in gaining world class skills and opportunities in the automotive sector, the NADDC has also moved on to partner with the N-Power Programme of the government in order to identify, train and produce world class auto technicians that will service the nation’s auto industry.
The initiatives from NADDC, it was gathered, will create limitless opportunities for the industry in Nigeria, particularly jobs for the nations teeming youths, while credible auto workshops around the country that will partner with the council in training of the mechanics and technicians have already been identified. The Nigerian technicians training will be based on both local and global transport needs.
Chief Executive of Red Code Limited, an auto development company, Mr. Ayoade Olaide, said since Jelani Aliyu came on board as director general of NADDC, that there has been a marked difference in Nigeria’s quest to become the hub for auto design and development in the continent.
He said the NADDC director general and his team will help create thousands of jobs and draw large-scale investment from global car-makers. Nigeria’s government and citizens can tap into these potential.

Jelani Aliyu

Jelani Aliyu


Not fazed by these staggering paces of development in the industry, the NADDC director general has consistently maintained that a Nigerian vehicle that is conceptualized designed and developed by Nigerians for Nigerians in Nigeria can make the country Africa’s auto hub.
“A Nigerian vehicle designed specifically for the Nigerian populace. A vehicle in tune with the history, culture, environment and economic structure of the people, and I think we are heading there,” Aliyu added.
Making reference to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report which show that locally assembled cars which only accounted for 15% of car sales in 2014 could rise to 70% by 2050 depending on economic growth, Industry Watcher, Mr. Theophilus Ikedili, said Jelani Aliyu’s appointment is timely as an excellent move that will make Nigeria occupy its proper place as far as global automotive industry was concerned.
Ibrahim explained for a man that was immediately noticed by an American multinational corporation that designs and markets vehicles after graduation, and beginning his career as a design staff at General Motors, that even critics agree that Jelani Aliyu is considered by many as the super star of the General Motors renaissance, saying as the head of the NADDC, that Aliyu, will excellently implement new development policies for Nigeria’s automobile industry.

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Refusal to obey court order is corruption – Emir

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Emir of Kano

Emir of Kano

The Emir of Gummi, Justice Lawal Hassan Gummi (retd.), says refusal to obey a court order is another form of corruption, noting that government must exemplify the change it promised before expecting citizens to follow suit.

He said disrespect for the rule of law, bad governance, disobedience to court orders, non-compliance with electoral regulations by political parties, godfathers hijacking the electoral process and dwindling confidence in the justice system posed threats to Nigeria’s democracy.

The monarch, who was the keynote speaker at the Barewa Old Boys Association annual lecture, held at the Umaru Ali Shinkafi Polytechnic, Sokoto, spoke on the topic, ‘The challenges of the judiciary to democracy: The Nigeria perspective.’

The 97-year old college, located in Kaduna State, is reputed for producing five out of Nigeria’s past leaders, including General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, late Umaru Yar’adua, late Gen. Murtala Mohammed and the late Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

It has also produced three Chief Justices of Nigeria, three Inspectors-General of Police and four Secretaries to the Government of the Federation.

But in his address, Gummi described the judiciary as the watchdog of democracy, without which “reckless marauders will attack the society,” adding that an insecure judiciary is one of the greatest threats to democracy.

He said, “Orders of court are disobeyed at will in the name of fighting corruption. No one institution, no matter how highly placed, should flout the laws of the land, not even under the guise of fighting corruption. Refusing to obey an order of court is another form of corruption in itself.

“The executive cannot play the role of both the accuser and that of the judge at the same time. It is an aberration in a democracy. National security cannot take precedence over the rule of law; rather, it should be guided by the rule of law.

“Any democracy where the executive tries to intimidate and harass the legislature and/or the judiciary into doing its bidding is a democracy under threat. In the same vein, it is not right in a democracy for the National Assembly to make governance difficult for the executive for pecuniary reasons. “We all agree that we need change as promised by the government, but that change must first begin with them, then, you and me.”

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Marriott International’s Three Loyalty Programs Unify

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A new era is beginning for the more than 110 million members of Marriott International’s (www.Marriott.com) award-winning loyalty programs – Marriott Rewards, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). For the first time since Marriott International acquired Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016, the programs now operate under one set of unified benefits and one currency spanning the entire loyalty portfolio of 29 brands and more than 6,700 participating hotels in 130 countries and territories. Members are able to seamlessly earn and redeem across the entire loyalty portfolio and achieve Elite status faster with new Elite tiers. Members can now combine their separate program accounts into one at Marriott.com (www.Marriott.com) or SPG.com (www.Marriott.com/default.mi?program=spg&reset=true) to take advantage of everything Marriott International’s loyalty programs offer worldwide.

Together, the unified programs are richer. Members now earn on average 20 percent more points per dollar spent and have their Elite status recognized consistently at every hotel as they indulge in the elevated benefits they’ve earned. Additionally, members now have the added convenience to book stays throughout the portfolio on Marriott.com (www.Marriott.com), SPG.com(www.Marriott.com/default.mi?program=spg&reset=true), and the Marriott and SPG apps, or by contacting customer engagement centers.

“This is an exciting time for our loyalty members who now have endless inspiration to travel and experience the world to create memories that will last a lifetime,” said David Flueck, Senior Vice President, Global Loyalty, Marriott International. “We merged the incredible earning and redeeming power of Marriott Rewards with the phenomenal Elite benefits of SPG to create one of the richest travel loyalty programs with the most extraordinary global portfolio of hotels – from overwater bungalows, to mountainside ski resorts, to iconic urban landmarks.”

Earn Points and Achieve Elite Status Faster

As a result of the unified, single-currency programs, when members combine their accounts, their points balances will also combine, ending the need to transfer points between programs. For SPG members, their SPG points balance multiplied by three. All members earn 10 points for every dollar spent at all brands except Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Element which earn five points per dollar spent and Marriott Executive Apartments and ExecuStay properties which earn 2.5 points per dollar spent. In addition, for 2018, nights earned at Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels will also combine, potentially helping members achieve Elite status faster. Under the unified programs, all SPG members receive a new account number to align with the Marriott Rewards system. Members with multiple program accounts can choose to combine under their preferred account. The Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) names will continue to live on until early 2019 until combining under a new brand name.

Under the unified programs, members now earn Silver Elite status after just ten nights annually, Gold Elite status after just 25 nights, Platinum Elite status after 50 nights and Platinum Premier Elite status after 75 nights. All Platinum Premier members surpassing 100 nights and $20,000 annual spend will enjoy the highest level of personalized service – the popular ambassador program – along with all the other benefits in that tier. Members who have achieved Lifetime status will continue to have their status recognized under the new Lifetime Elite tiers that will apply across the unified programs.

Redeem for Free Nights Easier

The unified programs introduce a new Free Night Award chart for redemptions across the entire loyalty portfolio. Nearly 70 percent of hotels now require the same or fewer points for a free stay than before. Further, members can save 25,000 points per night by redeeming for future category eight hotels priced in category seven until 2019, including coveted all-suites properties. The new Free Night Award chart launched with standard pricing, adding off-peak and peak pricing in 2019.

Earn Points and Access Benefits with Co-Brand Credit Card

With the new programs comes an array of refreshed benefits for co-branded credit cardholders that provide members with more benefits across the entire loyalty portfolio. Members of all three loyalty programs in the United Arab Emirates can take advantage of the Emirates NBD Starwood Preferred Guest® World MasterCard® with world-class banking partner Emirates NBD and new benefits offered within the region.

Experience rich rewards and best in class benefits with the Emirates NBD SPG® World MasterCard®. The ability to earn and redeem at our extraordinary collection of 6,700 hotels across 29 brands, an automatic upgrade to Gold Status, an annual anniversary Free Night Award Certificate upon renewal, and premium Wi-Fi are just a few of the exciting new opportunities that are now available to members.

With the Emirates NBD SPG® World MasterCard®, earn 6x points for each US dollar of eligible purchases made at participating SPG, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards hotels, and 3x points for each US dollar of eligible purchases on your card. For more information, visit EmiratesNBD.com/spg.

More Travel Experiences

Marriott International’s loyalty programs offer members a holistic travel experience encompassing much more than hotel stays. Members have access to the wide collection of nearly 120,000 irresistible experiences in 1,000 global destinations on the company’s ever-expanding Moments platform – Marriott Moments, Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments. These range from destination tours and day trips, to exclusive member-only events such as Super Fan Experiences during the Keith Urban Graffiti U World Tour, including autographed merchandise and backstage access, VIP access to sought after sporting events like the Super Bowl, music festivals like Coachella, and master classes with superstar chefs like Daniel Boulud in intimate settings.

More Benefits

In addition, other new benefits to highlight include:

All members now earn points for food and beverage, spa and other qualifying incidentals charged to their folio, rather than just the room rate.
Hotels throughout the loyalty portfolio now have no blackout dates for points redemptions.
Booking direct on any of Marriott International’s digital and mobile channels means members can take advantage of exclusive member-only rates and free Wi-Fi. In addition, both the Marriott and SPG apps offer mobile check-in and check-out and send members alerts when their room is ready. Members can also chat directly with hotel associates before, during, and after their stays using Mobile Requests, and use their smartphones as their room key at more than 1,000 hotels.

The information above represents a summary of certain features of Marriott International’s unified loyalty programs and is subject to the programs full terms and conditions.

To learn more about the unified programs and benefits, as well as combine accounts, please go to Marriott (www.Marriott.com) or SPG.com(https://www.marriott.com/default.mi?program=spg&reset=true).

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Feature

The recurring struggle against female circumcision in Nigeria

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By Osaro Itua

The story of one Mrs. Gbe (not complete name) who has a hard time preventing her 11yr old daughter from under-going the outlawed, inhuman and barbaric age long tradition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) still been practiced by her In-Laws who hail from one of the remote areas of Edo State in South-South Nigeria is a sad tale that leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

She hails from the Eastern part of Nigeria and met her husband Mere (not complete name) in 2004. After dating for about 2yrs, they decided to get married. However, their decision was met with stiff opposition from Meres immediate and extended family, who insisted that Mrs Gbe must undergo a traditional ritual which will be rounded up with her circumcision before her bride price will be paid. They explained that every female member of the family either by birth or marriage has undergone this ritual hence theyre fertile in their marriages. While the male family members also have to undergo their own rituals, the female circumcision ritual which will see the cutting off of certain parts of the vagina by the local herbalist using crude implements and local herbs is the climax of the exercise. Most young girls and women have contracted very serious vaginal infections during this procedure which ultimately lead to their death. This is because, when they fall sick from the infections, no orthodox medical treatment is allowed as it is expected that if the girl or her mother is pure, she will recover from the resultant illness by use of native herbs. When death occurs, it is termed as the will of the ancestors and as such should not be questioned. Mrs Gbe vehemently refused this proposal and had the backing of Mere. His family, nevertheless, insisted that he would only be allowed to marry her upon the completion of this ritual.

This stand-off continued till sometime in 2006 when she became pregnant for Mere. All pleas to have the traditional marriage fell on deaf ears as his family was determined to circumcise her. She eventually had their first child — a baby girl in November 2006 and this opened another chapter of woes for her and Mere.

Since a female child has been born and as is customary in the family, Mrs Gbe was requested to bring the child for circumcision before she clocked 1 year. She also resisted this request and of course, it opened a second round of trouble for her. This time around, Meres Kindred were emphatic and categorical in their demand for their granddaughter to be circumcised. They further emphasized that nothing in this world would stop that from happening except death.

Mere and his wife didnt take seriously to this threat until one faithful morning of the 12th of June 2007 when mother and daughter were returning from a routine immunization round and they were viciously attacked by unknown assailants. Mrs Gbe who was driving alone with the baby strapped on the baby car seat behind her were double crossed by a black Mercedes Benz car while on a lonely stretch of road leading to her house. She received a massive blow to the head and passed out instantly.

However, the assailants couldnt make away with the baby as their efforts were immediately ruined by the brave efforts of two young men who were driving past. They fought the assailants to a stand-still and rescued the baby from their hands. On realizing the failure of the operation, the assailants took to their heels. This afforded the good Samaritans the opportunity to immediately evacuate Mrs. Gbe to the hospital. She was in a coma for 2 days and thereafter spent another 2 weeks in the intensive care of a private hospital. She spent a total of 6 weeks in the hospital and made sufficient recovery before she was discharged home. A report of the incident was made to the Police who pledged to investigate and bring the perpetrators to book. Nothing was ever heard from them.

Surprisingly, Meres mother and key extended family members said that the attack occurred as a result of their refusal to proceed with the circumcision ritual. They blamed Mrs Gbe for the incident and repeatedly said “… this happened because of her stubbornness…” hence their demand for the ritual became heightened. To make matters worse, they started referring to Mere as an outcast and openly said they will ostracize him from the family if he doesnt heed to their demands.

He was given a deadline for December 2007 to bring his wife and daughter for the ritual else, he would be cast away from the family and every right to inheritance of family property be taken away from him. He was also requested to stop using the family name and a curse was placed upon any member of the kindred who will communicate and keep contact with him, his wife or daughter. They were accused of bringing ill-luck to the kindred and must die as a way of cleansing and appeasing the ancestral spirits. These will be done if he doesnt comply by the deadline.
As a result of the entire incident and the resulting threats to his life and that of his wife and daughter, Mere quickly relocated his young family to Abuja in November 2007. When the baby clocked 1 year in the same month, he took his wife to the marriage Registry where they formalized their union with a Court marriage.

However, the threats to his wife and baby re-surfaced from members of their Community Development Association (CDA) resident in Abuja. They insisted that Mere must take his wife and daughter back home for the circumcision rituals to avoid bringing calamities upon their community. They were actually physically attacked during one of their outings in Abuja. Some touts from one of the popular motor parks within the city metropolis were hired to carry out the act. Right in the presence of his wife and kid, Mere was beaten to a pulp and he lost some teeth in the process. While attempting to raise an alarm for the attention of passers-by, his wife was slapped severally. They touts thereafter dispossessed them of their jewelries, wristwatches, mobile phones and cash. Before leaving, they told Mere that he should go back home to his community and do what he has been asked to do else, himself and his wife may not survive to tell the story. This then prompted them to relocate further North of Nigeria and far away from Edo State.

They headed for Jos, the Plateau State Capital in 2010 and lived in a quiet community in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area amongst the Berom people who were predominantly farmers. They had more kids, established a farm business and built a home until the killer herdsmen struck their community on the night of June 23rd 2018. They had gotten a whim of the attack about 2 days before it actually occurred. They however paid no mind, noting that the Government security agencies were on ground to forestall any further breakdown of law and order. However, on that faithful night, they were jolted from sleep by gunshots sound from not too far away from their home and it continued ceaselessly. This prompted Mere and his wife to quickly grab the children up and upon getting outside through the back door, they saw several houses in the distance have been set ablaze and the attackers heading in their direction while shooting indiscriminating and killing every moving object in their sight.

They joined other neighbours in running towards the opposite direction and continued on foot for about 1 hour till they reached the Nghar Yelwa area and ran into a Mosque where the Imam shielded them from the attackers till security agents arrived in the morning of June 24th 2018.

By the next day, they returned under heavy security watch to their community and discovered that their entire house and personal belongings have been raised down by the attackers. This completely broke their spirit and they immediately moved back to Abuja to seek refuge with friends while planning on how to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on.

Upon arriving Abuja, they were once more greeted with the demand to go back home and carry out the circumcision ritual on Mrs Gbe and her daughters. Infact, the first daughter will clock 12yrs in November 2018 and they have been given that date as the final deadline to go back to their village and carry out the exercise. They were further assured that refusal to do so will result in the death of Mere, his wife or any of the children. Mrs Gbe has reached out to various Non-Governmental organizations for assistance, but none has yielded positive responses. Mere’s clan and kindred are vehemently bent on ensuring that she comes forward with her daughters for the initiation ritual.

One can only but imagine the agony this family is going through with their family kindred after them and their experience in the hands of the dreaded fulani herdsmen as a result of the incessant attacks on Christians in Nigeria.

Despite the existence of the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Law in Nigeria, it is heartbreaking to note that this issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still prevalent in the Country. The Law which seeks to prohibit female circumcision or genital mutilation, forceful ejection from home and harmful widowhood practices, prohibits forced isolation, depriving persons of their liberty, economic abuse, incest, separation from family and friends, substance attack and indecent exposure, among others.

However, the existence of this law has not deterred its practice in most local communities in Nigeria. The lack of enforcement has militated against the practicability of the law. The apathy of those that should enforce this ban has been stated as one of the main issues why the practice is still popular.

Also, the lack of awareness of the dangers posed by FGM is another problem. It is imperative at the juncture for the executive to charge those responsible with enforcement with the need to do the needful.

The Community leaders, traditional Institutions and practitioners of herbal medicine must be educated on the dangers associated with this barbaric, and nauseating cultural practice.

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