Benue launches facilities for NIHOTOUR zonal campus – Newstrends
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Benue launches facilities for NIHOTOUR zonal campus



By Ebere Chibuzor

The Benue State Government has kept faith with its promise to hand over of some structures and facilities to the Federal Government for the take-off of the North Central zonal campus of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).

The Minister for Arts and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the statement at the official handing over of the facilities in Makurdi, said tourism had assumed an extraordinary growth globally.

Tourism, according to him, is a major catalyst for economic growth and social development of most countries with its attendant spiral effects along the long line of its value chain.

He further said that one of the prerequisites for the tourism industry to flourish and play the desired role in the socio-economic development of the country is the availability of trained personnel to run the sector.

This, he said, was what informed the setting up of NIHOTOUR by the Federal Government with the mandate of providing skill proficiency, technical upgrading and professional-based education for the hospitality, travel and tourism industries for both Nigeria and the West African sub region.

Mohammed expressed the appreciation of the Federal Government to the government and people of Benue State for making the desire to establish the North Central zonal campus of the institute a reality and called for renewed understanding between states, organised private sector and the Federal Government in the efforts to transform the socio-economic growth of Nigeria through tourism.

He reiterated the determination of his ministry to develop, project and showcase the country’s tourism potential and endowments because the benefits derivable therein are enormous in revenue generation, job creation, wealth redistribution, infrastructural development and  inter-sectorial linkage incentives.

In his address at the occasion, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, stated the resolve of his administration to tap into the potential of tourism products and activities that the state had been endowed with to grow the economy and better the social activities of the people of the state.

Ortom said the handing over of the magnificent edifice to the Federal Government for use by NIHOTOUR was informed by the desire of his government to create the needed platform for youth empowerment and skill acquisition which the training centre would offer youths of the state as well as states within the North Central Zone to grow the economy through hospitality and the tourism industry.

Director General of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Sani Kangiwa, had earlier in his speech stated that the dearth of needed skilled and trained manpower to run the hospitality and travel-tourism industry in the country was responsible for the stunted growth and development of the industry, adding that with NIHOTOUR in place, it has the capacity to overturn the trends for the best to develop the sector.

He said the choice of Benue as the zonal campus and headquarter of the North Central Zone of the institute was informed by the place of the state not only as the food basket of the country, but a tourism haven of Nigeria.

He urged the state to explore the tourism potential the state is endowed with to grow its internally generated revenue to boost its economy.

Kangiwa pointed out the need for the state to produce its tourism development master plan which would be a guide in the appropriate development of the state’s tourism endowments in line with global best practices.


Apprehension as passengers train derails in Kaduna



JUST-IN: Abuja-Kaduna train terails, passengers stranded

A passenger train on Sunday derailed at Jere along the popular Abuja-Kaduna route, leaving the travellers stranded in the mountainous area.

The train was said to have left Kaduna at 8.05am heading for Abuja but developed fault about an hour later and stopped at Jere.

It was not immediately clear how many passengers were inside the train.

It was however learnt that more armed security personnel had been mobilised to the area in addition to those on the train to allay the fears of the passengers and their family members.

Senator Shehu Sani, in an alert raised on his verified X handle, stated, “A Kaduna morning train derails near Jere but engineers are attending to it.”

Workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation have been drafted to the spot to repair the train, with about three carriages off the tracks.

Security personnel, including soldiers and police officers, are also on the spoke to keep watch over the passengers and the train.

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Lanre Shittu Motors to roll out high-tech CNG buses next month



Lanre Shittu Motors to roll out high-tech CNG buses next month

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Lanre Shittu Motors Ltd, Taiwo Shittu, says the company will next month (June) roll out Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses across the country to ease public transportation.

According to him, the move is fallout of the Presidential CNG initiative (Pi-CNG), as part of palliative intervention of the Bola Tinubu administration to provide succour for the masses after fuel subsidy removal.

The LSM MD who spoke recently from Havard Business School, expressed delight at a number of measures taken by the current government towards rejuvenating the various auto assembly plants in the country with specific attention to CNG buses to boost public transportation.

Following a presidential directive that CNG buses must be a priority and preferred mode of transport by the various ministries, departments and agencies, he said the government had shown its determination to encourage the local auto assembly plants.

Taiwo Shittu said during the telephone interview that by June 2024, Lanre Shittu Motors would be deploying large units of the LSM branded CNG buses in airports across the country and for other mass transportation needs.

He disclosed that LSM mulled the idea of CNG vehicles and saw it as the future of the local automotive industry many years ago because of the abundance of natural gas in the country as well as the economic benefits of CNG buses to both operators and commuters.

Taiwo Shittu assured that there are plans to start assembling LSM-branded CNG buses in Lagos using the best technology like in other parts or the world.

Apart from assembling CNG vehicles from start to finish at the LSM plant, he said the company has enough kits capable of converting petroI-powered automobiles to the CNG vehicles.

He assured prospective customers of quality after-sale maintenance of any stock rolled out from the LSM assembly plant.

For over 40 years., LSM through the visionary founder and chairman, Late Alhaji Lanre Shittu, has carved an enviable niche within the automotive industry through its quality products and services.

Taiwo Shittu said introducing the LSM-branded buses was one of the many ways of immortalising him.

He said, “We have taken proactive steps in the past years to offer quality training to our technicians at various stages, levels and categories of auto assembly and after-sale maintenance services.

“Upon graduation and certification, the technicians are also deployed not only in the various LSM offices nationwide, they are also being sought after by other industry stakeholders within the nation’s automotive value chain.”

The management of Lanre Shittu Motors says that all branches of the company are currently fully equipped with state-of-the-art CNG conversion equipment while orders have been activated and running seamlessly.

Meanwhile, the first set of CNG vehicles will be inaugurated during the present administration’s first anniversary on May 29, 2024.

The Federal Government allocated N100 billion from the N500 billion palliative budget to purchase 5,500 CNG vehicles (buses and tricycles), 100 electric buses, and over 20,000 CNG conversion kits.

This funding also supports the expansion of CNG refilling and electric charging stations.


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Naira falls to N1,515/$ on parallel market



Naira falls to N1,515/$ on parallel market

The Naira yesterday depreciated in the parallel market to N1,515 per dollar from N1,495 per dollar on Wednesday.

Similarly, the Naira depreciated to N1,485.66 per dollar in the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, NAFEM
Data from FMDQ showed that the indicative exchange rate for NAFEM rose to N1,485.66 per dollar from N1,462.59 per dollar on Wednesday, indicating N23.07 depreciation for the naira.

The market recorded an intraday high of N1,510 per dollar and an intraday low of N1,401 per dollar, resulting in a bearing of N109 per dollar.

The volume of dollars traded (turnover) increased by 35.7 percent to $167.55 million from $123.45 million on Wednesday.
Consequently, the margin between the parallel market and NAFEM rates narrowed to N29.34 per dollar from N33.59 per dollar on Wednesday.

Naira falls to N1,515/$ on parallel market

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