President Muhammadu Buhari’s acknowledgement of the support of the United Nations and some world leaders for their steadfast partnership in fighting terrorism in Nigeria is one of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.
The Guardian reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, in Abuja, said Nigeria remains grateful to the United Nations (UN) and some world leaders for their steadfast partnership in fighting terrorism, adding that the spotlight on Russia and Ukraine could easily distract from other pertinent global challenges.
President Buhari, who received the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, at the Presidential Villa, noted that the country and the African continent were already concerned that the attention on Russia and Ukraine would crowd out other issues.
He said that terrorism remains a threat to global peace, security and progress, with many already killed, while millions had been displaced by the insurgents. “When we assumed office, the Northeast was the major security problem we inherited in 2015, but we have been able to make people understand that you cannot kill people and shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great!).”
President Buhari told the UN scribe that the government had started a gradual, but steady process of resettlement and reintegration where citizens get encouraged to return to their farms, businesses and other pursuits in life.
In his remark, the UN scribe, who was in Borno State on Tuesday, said what he saw was a departure from the pictures of hopelessness and despair painted, adding that ‘people exuded hope.’
“Yesterday, I visited Maiduguri, where the United Nations is supporting the internally displaced. I was deeply moved by their stories and struggles. These include, the struggles with hunger, with the World Food Programme projecting 4.1 million people in the Northeast of Nigeria to be food insecured in the upcoming lean season.”
Guterres said the United Nations had called for an additional $351 million as part of the overall $1.1 billion for the humanitarian response plan for Nigeria.
The newspaper says that the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to match his words with actions regarding various indices of governance, particularly insecurity.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jare Ajayi, and made available to The Guardian in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the group said the information and assurance that emanated from President Buhari’s message to Nigerians to mark this year’s Eid-el-Fitri celebration “fly against the reality on ground.”
Buhari had in a statement released on Sunday, April 30, 2022, by his presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, to mark the end of this year’s Ramadan fast, said the end to terrorism was very much in sight and Nigerians have reasons to mark the festival with hope as the “battle waged against terrorists, who falsely masquerade under the name of Islam, is approaching its conclusion”.
However, Ajayi, in the statement, said: “Rather than looking at the immediate future with hope, Nigerians are living and moving around in fear and despondence because of the insecurity they face at home, at work and even more so when travelling on highways. How then can one be hopeful in that kind of situation?”
While agreeing with the President that the fight against terrorists in the country “has been long and hard,” Afenifere spokesman said the government had not succeeded in convincing most Nigerians that the ‘final victory is in sight” as claimed by the President through his spokesman, Shehu.
According to him, it is important to let the President know the reality on ground because the specters coming from Aso Rock often indicate a distance between those in government and the people they govern.
The Sun reports that the manufacturers and members of the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) have urged the Federal Government to spare businesses further taxation.
The private sector operators decried imposition of new taxes on businesses and proffered expanding the tax net, citing concerns for increased tension in a struggling business environment.
They noted that any increase in taxation in whatever form or guise would be counterproductive and could retard the contributions of the manufacturing sector to the GDP and cause great setback on the ability of the real sector to support poverty reduction/alleviation and job creation aspirations of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), stated that manufacturers in the country have been groaning under multiple taxations from the three tiers of government.
The Director-General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, explained that there is need to streamline observed multiplicity of taxes and ensure that only approved taxes/levies/fees are charged by these agencies of government.
The Punch says that steelmakers are sceptical about the planned concession of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited after Nigeria imported iron, steel, and metals valued at N837.761bn in the third and the fourth quarters of 2021.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, Africa’s most populous nation brought in basic metals, iron, and steel products with 6000mm in width, rolled, painted, varnished, and coated with plastics within the six-month period.
The total value of basic metal products imported within the two quarters was N748.529bn, while that of iron and steel was N88.232bn.
This is happening after the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria estimated that the country had spent over $8bn on the idle steel plant so far.
Key players in the steel sector are worried about the level of steel imports into the country as well as the lack of functionality of Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Aluminium Smelter Company, located in Akwa Ibom State.
The smelter company is supposed to produce ingots for the production of roofing sheets in the country, but it is mired in a legal quagmire.
The newspaper reports that the Nigerian Government has said it will put an end to multiple taxations when the Lekki Deep Seaport becomes operational.
Speaking during an inspection tour at the facility, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammad, said that the government was looking at creating more jobs through the Lekki Deep Seaport and was not necessarily interested in revenue generation.
He noted that the government was passionate about a conducive business environment.
“The government is so passionate about the business environment; you know there is a presidential council on that. There won’t be a priority in taxing the public, neither would there be multiple taxations. So, we are quite aware of that. The decision to make this port work will determine the quality of the port.
“We are looking at the bigger picture, not just a small picture of how much revenue we are going to generate from time to time, but how many more jobs we are going to create by a more liberal approach. We are looking at the rail system, which is the cheapest and more efficient means of transportation.”
Mohammed said that the port would enable Nigeria to regain the maritime businesses that were lost to some West African ports.
The Nation says that MTN Nigeria has joined global organisations supporting media practitioners to stay relevant in an ever-changing media profession with the launch of Media Innovation Programme (MIP) to train 20 media practitioners in digital skills, improvement in writing and reporting skills through group presentations and sessions on PowerPoint tools for effective communication.
“The MIP fellows will engage in intensive sessions on courses covering creativity and innovation, entrepreneurship and management principles, subscription business, strategic planning skills, amongst others,” Karl Toriola, the CEO of MTN Nigeria, said at the launch of the programme at the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Lagos.
The six-month fully funded fellowship programme is in partnership with the School of Media and Communication, PAU, in Lagos.
The 20 Fellows will spend some time in accelerator labs and innovation centres, creating and incubating ideas, as well as a study visit to the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, adjudged one of the top universities in Africa in media training.
The Media Innovation Programme is coming at a time when media leaders from more than 50 countries across the world say lack of sufficient resources and skills are the major barriers to delivering innovation in their works.