Volatile FOREX Stalls Takeoff Of Vehicle Assembly Plant In Akwa Ibom ―Ex-commissioner

The former Commissioner for Industry and Investment in Akwa Ibom, Mr Emmanuel Enoidem, says unstable FOREX has stalled the takeoff of vehicle assembly plant in the state.

Enoidem said this on Tuesday in Uyo while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the achievements of Gov Udom Emmanuel in the past two years.

The governor had in July 2015 laid the foundation for the construction of vehicle assembly plant in Itu Local Government Area of the state.

The automobile assembly plant was undertaken by the state government in partnership with an Israeli company, MIMSHAC Merkavim Transportation Technologies.

The project had the components of manpower development, building of a training school and the manufacturing of luxury buses, utility vehicles, ambulances and fire trucks in the state.

But almost two years after the foundation stone laying ceremony, nothing is happening at the site and the place is overgrown with weeds.

Enoidem, who was the industry commissioner at the conception of the project, said that it was impossible for foreign partners to come given the unpredictable state of foreign exchange in Nigeria.

“At the time we went to Israel and met with the vehicle manufacturers, exchange rate was about N200 a dollar but this jumped shortly to N400.

“There is no foreign investor that will come to Nigeria because of volatile exchange rate.

“We went to Romania to bring manufacturer of Low Energy Display (LED) electric bulbs, the investors had to stay back because of foreign exchange instability,” Enoidem said.

The former commissioner however said that in spite of the challenge of foreign exchange, the state governor had not derailed from his electioneering promises.

“Gov Udom Emmanuel is on track with his five point-agenda of job creation, poverty eradication, infrastructure consolidation, industrialisation and political inclusiveness.

“He is building road infrastructure in places like Ini and Ikono local government areas that were not touched. Other places are Ika, Etinan, Onna, Oruk-Anam and Oron.

“The governor is determined that Akwa Ibom must be industrialised. Today, the biggest syringe producing factory in Africa with production capacity of 350 million units annually is coming to Akwa Ibom.

SSS In Recruitment Scandal – Katsina 51, Akwa Ibom 5; Kano 25

Is there really unity in diversity? Is there anything like one Nigeria for real? can the man who promised us he belongs to NOBODY and to EVERYBODY but can’t even keep the words of his mouth be said to have integrity?
So many one-sided appointments in recent times, yet he feels he’s father to all.

Nigeria’s internal secret service, the State Security Service (SSS), is enmeshed in a recruitment scandal following the exposure of a shocking lopsidedness in the composition of the new officers recently absorbed into the agency.

The agency commissioned 479 cadet officers after their passing-out parade in Lagos on March 5, at a ceremony attended by the Director-General of the Agency, Lawal Daura, and the Chief of Air Staff, Abubakar Sadique, air marshall.

The parade followed a nine-month training programme under the agency’s Basic Course 29/2016/17, which encompassed academic activities, insurgency/counterinsurgency, intelligence operations and gathering, firearms drills and physical training exercises.

But the listing of the newly commissioned cadet officers seen by PREMIUM TIMES reveals wide disparity in the numbers of slots allocated to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, indicating that the federal character principle may have been ignored in the recruitment of the officers.

Officially, recruitment for the Course was based on a minimum of five slots per state. Ostensibly to ensure compliance with the federal character principle in the exercise, applicants were last year made to sit for recruitment examinations in the capitals of their states of origin. The five slots per state were said to have been picked through the examinations.

However, it has emerged that the authorities paid scant regards to the federal character principle in the final selection of the cadets.
Although the authorities ensured that at least five cadets were recruited from each state and the FCT, they grotesquely tipped the scale in favour of some states in the balance of recruits that emerged from other extraneous considerations.

For instance, while only the minimum of five cadets stipulated per state finally entered the Service from Akwa Ibom, Nigeria’s largest oil producing state, a whopping 51 found their way in from Katsina State, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Director-General of the SSS, Mr. Daura. It is not clear what criteria was used in the composition of the final list of the new officers.

The anomaly in the exercise is further evident in the disparity between intakes from the two most populous states in Nigeria, Kano and Lagos, which have 25 and seven, respectively, indicating that the size of the pool of applicants from each state was not a factor in the recruitment.

A breakdown of the newly commissioned cadet officers on geo-political basis revealed that 165 are from the North-west, about four times as many as those who were picked from the South-south (42).

The figures for the other zones are North-east 100, North-central 66, South-west 57 and South-east 44. This means that while 331 of the newly commissioned officers are from the 19 northern states and the FCT, less than half of the total intakes were from states in the southern part of Nigeria. See table and charts below for slots allocated to each state.

Attempts to speak with the SSS on the criteria used for the allocation of slots to states were not rewarded as at the time of this publication.

The agency has had no spokesperson since the removal of its last one, Marilyn Ogar, in 2015. The Director-General of the agency, Mr. Daura, did not pick calls or respond to a text message sent to his known telephone numbers.

Also, the Acting Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Shettima Bukar-Abba, did not pick his calls or respond to a message seeking clarifications on the role played by the commission in the recruitment exercise.

The Commission has the responsibility for ensuring compliance with the federal character principle in recruitment into the federal civil service and agencies.

In a demonstration of the importance attached to the principle, it has been enshrined in every constitution of Nigeria since the country’s independence.
Section 14, subsection 3 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria states that: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such manner to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or sectional groups in that government or any of its agencies”.