By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A deal to allow Volkswagen develop an automotive hub in Nigeria has been signed between the automaker and the federal government.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was sealed last week by both parties involved in the agreement.
A statement issued from Volkswagen said it signed the contract because it identified Nigeria as a country with significant potential for the growth in the new vehicle market.
With the agreement, the Nigerian government and Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) will come up with a joint vision to secure the development of Nigeria as an automotive hub with an enabling policy framework that facilitates this vision is to be developed based on commercial viability.
Business Post reports that this was part of the gains of the visit of the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel to Nigeria last Friday, where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
The Head of Volkswagen Sub-Saharan Region, Thomas Schaefer signed the agreement on behalf of Volkswagen with the Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okey Enelamah.
This comes a day after the signing of the MoU in Ghana in the presence of Chancellor Merkel and Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia whereby Volkswagen committed to set up a vehicle assembly and conduct a detailed feasibility study for the development of an integrated Mobility Solution in Ghana.
In the MoU, Volkswagen undertakes to implement a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, initially from assembly kits with the long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub on the West Coast of Africa. This will include establishing a training academy in conjunction with the German Government, which will train the initial employees.
The academy will also provide broader technical training in automotive skills. It is also intended that a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network is developed in the country subject to commercial viability.
In turn the Nigerian Government undertakes to accelerate the approval of the Nigerian Automotive Policy, currently under consideration. This includes the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles.
The government has committed to providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of motor vehicles in Nigeria.
“The MoU is a major step in our walk towards the development of the automotive industry to achieve its potential contribution to the continuous economic development of the country.
“We believe in the strategic and catalytic role of the automotive industry in the diversification of the Nigerian economy and we remain committed to encouraging and partnering with relevant stakeholders, especially investors and friends of Nigeria.
“Our overall objective is to restore assembly and develop local content, thereby creating employment, acquiring technology and reducing pressure on the country’s balance of payment,” Mr Enelamah said.
On his part, Mr Thomas Schaefer said, “This week Volkswagen has been able to demonstrate with conviction that it is serious about its intentions in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are well placed to become a dominant player in Africa, as the continent continues to stabilise and develop economically, as the last frontier for the automotive industry.”
Volkswagen has a fully-fledged manufacturing facility in South Africa, and assembles vehicles in Kenya, Algeria as well as in Rwanda, in conjunction with an Integrated Mobility Solution offering Community Car Sharing and shortly to be launched Ride Hailing.
Under its TRANSFORM 2025+ brand strategy, Volkswagen is strengthening the regions and focusing on new up-and-coming markets. Alongside North and South America as well as China, the Sub-Sahara region plays an increasingly important role. Although the African automotive market is comparatively small today, the region could develop into an automotive growth market of the future.
Volkswagen will continue to grow its importer network in Sub-Saharan Africa and explore other opportunities for growth and development. As a next step, exploratory talks are being held with the Government of Ethiopia.
“We are only starting with our initiatives in Africa and will continue to develop sales and service networks where applicable. We are also looking at future assembly locations to determine if the markets have the potential and the necessary policy frameworks to be developed, to accommodate vehicle assembly,” added Mr Schaefer.
Thomas Schaefer is also the President of the Association of African Automobile Manufacturers and stated in his capacity as the President that he believed that it was important that a Pan African Auto pact be developed to promote and grow a connected Auto Industry in Africa.
“Africa’s time is now and with good alignment between the African countries with automotive aspirations we can create intra African trade and a Win-Win situation for all,” concluded Mr Schaefer.
Delivery Bikes Not Affected by Lagos Okada Ban—Police Chief
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Commissioner of Police for Lagos Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Mr Abiodun Alabi, has clarified that delivery bikes will not be affected by the latest ban on commercial motorcycles commonly called okada.
The Governor of Lagos, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday announced a fresh ban on activities of okada riders in six local government areas of the state.
Speaking to Channels Television on Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Mr Alabi said, “It does not affect couriers, but the couriers will not carry passengers,
“We will have to make sure they are couriers and not pretending to be one.
“Then the other officers who are okada owners must be uniformed personnel who are going to their various places of work.
“Those who own power-bikes are not affected, because it’s not meant for commercial purpose.”
The police chief said, unlike the previous times, the new policy will be thoroughly enforced, alleging that most okada riders are criminals and must be taken off the road.
However, he acknowledged that banning okadas may have its side effects.
“We know that banning the okada riders can actually increase the crime rate. And we are not unmindful of that and we are already putting in place a lot of strategies to contend with it,” he said.
“We know that it will send a lot of them to unemployment. We are aware of that and are preparing for it,” he added.
The latest ban on okada operators in the affected councils followed the February 2020 restriction placed on the activities of the commercial motorcycles.
The Governor, who spoke at a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) at the State House in Alausa, said the directive affected all highways across six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the state.
According to Mr Sanwo-Olu, the new directive will take effect from June 1, 2022, directing security operatives to enforce the proscription order across the listed councils.
He said, “The total ban order extends to all LCDAs under the listed councils,” which are Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa.
Again, Governor Sanwo-Olu Bans Okada in Lekki, Ikeja, Others
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced a total ban on operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, in Lekki and other places.
At a meeting on Wednesday, he said the directive will become effective from June 1, 2022, and affects six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the state.
According to him, okada riders will not be allowed to ply highways in these areas, which include Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa.
The action of the governor followed the growing menace and nuisance constituted by commercial motorcycles in the state, including the lynching of a Sound Engineer, Mr David Imoh, in the Lekki area of the state last week.
This is not the first time Mr Sanwo-Olu is restricting operations of commercial motorcycles as in February 2020, he banned Okada operations in the state.
At the meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) at the State House in Alausa today, the Governor said the state government would not condone any security formation that relaxes the new ban in its jurisdiction.
“After critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated. We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Governments and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.
“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do. We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total,” he said.
Mr Sanwo-Olu advised residents patronising Okada riders on highways to embrace the alternative transport schemes already provided by the government to plan their journey.
He said the government had provided last mile buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses in the affected areas for the convenience of commuters.
The Governor insisted that Okada riding on the highways remained unsafe and would no longer be tolerated, noting that the state government had been ramping up construction work on its two rail line projects to further increase the choices of commuting for residents.
“We have provided last-mile buses in the affected areas; they are working and effective. We also have medium-capacity buses and high-capacity buses working in these areas. Before the end of the year, we are also bringing the rail along these corridors with their terminals. We have provided jetties as well to provide alternatives.
“We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use that mode of transportation (motorcycles) to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos.
“Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws. The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Abiodun Alabi, directed his men to ensure complete enforcement of the Governor’s order in the listed councils and areas.
Lagos to Prosecute Truck Driver, One Other Over Attack on VIS Officials
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A truck driver and one other suspect would be prosecuted by the Lagos State government for allegedly attacking operatives of the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS).
The VIS officials were reportedly beaten by a mob on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, along Airport Road in Oshodi, resulting in two of the operatives receiving treatment at the hospital.
According to a statement signed by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Frederic Oladeinde, the government officials were attempting to apprehend the truck driver for allegedly violating the traffic law of the state when the mob descended on them, using various weapons to attack them.
Mr Oladeinde, who frowned at the development, promised that the Lagos State government will take decisive action against the perpetrators of the act.
He said the truck driver and one of the attackers have been apprehended and would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, stressing that others who are still at large will soon be brought to book.
Mr Oladeinde decried the frequent attacks on the enforcement teams of the state government by citizens, warning that those caught in the act will continue to face the full wrath of the Law.
Also speaking on the incident, the Director, Lagos State Vehicle Inspection Service, Mr Akin-George Fashola, urged members of the public to always channel their grievances against government officials to the appropriate authorities for necessary action instead of taking laws into their hands through unwarranted attacks.
“As we say in the transport sector, safety implementation without enforcement is mere entertainment. The role of the VIS is to ensure sanity on our roads for the safety of lives and property and if in the cause of this onerous assignment, you feel hard done by our officials, the last thing you want to do is to resort to self-help which is against the law. Endeavour to channel your grievances through the appropriate channel,” Mr Fashola advised.
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