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Gains of new automotive policy, 'dying' Boko Haram highlighted in Nigeria

New automotive policy Nigeria - President Goodluck Jonathan's explanation on the gains of his administration's new automotive policy, the military's assertion that Boko Haram will become history before April this year and the timely warning not to expect a perfect polls in 2015 were the main stories in Nigeria this week. 'New Auto Policy Will Make Cars Affordable To More Nigerians - Jonathan' was the headline of the DAILY TIMES, which reported that President Goodluck Jonathan had assured that his administration was fully committed to rapidly developing Nigeria's automobile industry through the diligent implementation of its new national automotive policy.

The paper said President Jonathan gave the assurance on Thursday in Davos, Switzerland, while speaking at a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer of Nissan Motors, Mr. Carlos Ghosn, and representatives of Nissan's partners in Nigeria, on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum.

He said a key objective of the new policy was to make new cars affordable to more Nigerians.

'The only way to reduce the preponderance of second-hand cars on our roads is to produce good quality cars with affordable pricing locally,' the President said.

Welcoming the Nissan group's investment in vehicle production in Nigeria, President Jonathan noted that all investors in local automobile production in the country will have a huge ready market for their products.

'The automobile industry in Nigeria has a huge potential for growth. The market is not just Nigeria, but the entire West African region,' the President observed.

The DAILY INDEPENDENT treated the story under the headline 'Jonathan pledges to implement new automotive policy', with the rider 'Made-in-Nigeria Nissan cars to roll out in April'.

It said that the Chief Executive Officer of Nissan Motors, Carlos Ghosn, applauded the Federal Government’s new automotive policy, saying that it would encourage the inflow of investments and technical expertise to boost domestic vehicle production.

The Nissan boss informed President Jonathan that Nissan Motors plans to roll out the first Made-in-Nigeria 4×4 Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) in April this year.

Ghosn, who said that it was possible to produce two to three million cars in Nigeria annually with the consequent creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, told the President that Nissan intends to increase its investment in Nigeria and establish its own vehicle production plants in the country.

“We are interested in producing popular cars, totally adapted to the needs of Nigerians,” he said, adding that the company also plans to bring its global suppliers to make vehicle components in the country.

On Boko Haram, the papers quoted the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh, as saying that the military will bring the Boko Haram insurgency in the country to an end before April this year.

The PUNCH headline on that story was 'We’ll end B’Haram insurgency before April – CDS'. According to the paper, the new CDS has said that it is mandatory for the military to eliminate the Boko Haram insurgency in the next three months in order to prevent a constitutional problem in the polity.

Badeh said, while taking over as the new CDS from his predecessor, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja on Monday, that he was optimistic that the war against terrorism was already won.

The CDS said that it was possible to bring the insurgency in the North-east to an end if the military approached its security responsibilities cohesively, assuring the new Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, who is expected to coordinate the fight against the insurgents, that it was possible for his work to be concluded in a short time.

He also gave the assurance that the other service chiefs would give the requisite support to the Army chief in the prosecution of the campaign to end terrorism in the country.

'CDS: insurgency will be crushed by April,' screamed the NATION while the VANGUARD called it 'Security challenges in North ‘ll be resolved before April 2014 — CDS.'

The DAILY INDEPENDENT ran the story on the 2015 polls with the headline 'Don’t expect perfect polls in 2015, Jega tells Nigerians.'

The paper said as preparations towards the 20I5 general elections in the country pick up, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC,) Attahiru Jega, cautioned Nigerians on Monday against building up their hopes for a perfect election in 2015.

He, however, expressed confidence in the ability of his commission to do its best in the conduct of the elections, assuring that it has taken many measures to reposition itself for the conduct of a transparent poll in 20I5.

While playing host to the new American Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, in Abuja, Jega noted that INEC, in its efforts to give Nigeria the best in 20I5, has begun the re-training and re-organisation of its staff, as well as being involved in other strategic plans to meet its set target for the elections.

Jega said the commission has been holding a series of meetings with security agents, civil society organisations as well as development partners on measures that will be taken to conduct a hitch-free election.

He also lamented that with the fund available to the commission for the 20I5 elections, it will face the challenge of carrying out a complete voter education exercise before the general elections of 20I5.

Earlier, the new US envoy said he was at the INEC office to familiarise himself and introduce himself and his team to the INEC chairman, stressing that his visit was also to identify areas where the US government will be of help to the commission to ensure that it conducts a free, fair and transparent election in 20I5.

The PUNCH ran the story under the headline 'Don’t expect perfect elections in 2015 – Jega' and the VANGUARD - '2015 elections won’t be perfect – Jega'.

Also during the week, the media were awash with stories on the declining power supply in the country, with the DAILY INDEPENDENT headlining its story 'Power supply crashes below 2,500mw.'

It said that power generation in Nigeria has again dropped by 1,600 megawatts (MW), leaving the country’s 170 million population with just a 2,500 MW supply.

The new fall in generation is caused by a sharp drop in gas supply, which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) blamed on rising incidents of sabotage of some crucial gas pipelines.

It quoted the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, as telling reporters in Abuja that about 20 points on the 56-kilometre Escravos to Lagos pipelines alone were attacked by vandals with dynamites in the past six months, significantly eroding available gas supply to the Power Plants.

Yakubu noted that as at last weekend, over 30 per cent (480MMsf/d) of the installed gas supply capacity was out, due mainly to vandalism, estimating the cost of repairing the damaged points at 800 million Naira (US$1=160 Naira).

He noted that unlike crude pipelines which are targeted by crude oil thieves, it was difficult to understand while gas pipelines are being attacked when the product cannot be stolen.

“The cumulative effect of the interruptions is a real degradation of power supply to Nigerians. The Ministry of Petroleum and the NNPC will continue to make effort to assure gas supply in a difficult environment. It is expected that a major improvement in power supply should be achieved in the weeks ahead as the various repairs are completed,” Yakubu said.

Pana 25/01/2014