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Rights group knocks Abia gov for ‘sidelining’ Innoson vehicles

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the recent decision of Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, to procure foreign-made Toyota Hilux vehicles for security personnel, sidelining the indigenous automobile giant, Innoson Motors.

HURIWA’s criticism comes in response to a defense presented by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Abia State Governor; Nedu Ekeke which the association deemed inadequate.

In a statement issued Friday, HURIWA’s National coordinator; Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, launched a searing indictment against Governor Otti’s decision to prioritize imports over supporting local industries.

The association argued that this policy move not only undermines the growth of domestic businesses but is also an affront to Nigeria’s self-sufficiency and national economic progress.

The core of HURIWA’s worry lies in the neglect of the potential for local enterprises like Innoson Motors to significantly contribute to Nigeria’s economic advancement. HURIWA contended that the Governor’s decision represents a significant missed opportunity to bolster Nigeria’s industrial prowess, foster employment, and reduce capital flight.

Dissecting the defense by the Abia State Government, as outlined by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Abia State Governor; Nedu Ekeke, HURIWA labeled it as a weak and feeble justification.

The association questioned the rationale that the immediate availability of vehicles for a security operation justifies undermining the broader interests of local industries and job creation.

The leading rights group further added that the claim that the decision was necessitated by the lack of available vehicles from Innoson Motors for immediate use in the security operation does not absolve the Governor of the responsibility to prioritize the growth of local industries over imports, especially when it concerns essential government procurement.

Continuing, HURIWA emphasized that supporting local industries is not just a commendable choice but an obligation that resonates with the government’s commitment to the welfare of its citizens.

Thus, the association posited that Governor Otti’s decision sends a deeply disappointing message to indigenous entrepreneurs, thereby eroding their motivation and dampening the prospect of a thriving domestic economy.

This anti-made-in-Nigeria stance, as HURIWA argued, contradicts the principles of economic nationalism, hampers local innovation, and reinforces a cycle of economic dependency. Considering Aba’s historic reputation as the “Japan of Nigeria,” HURIWA implored Governor Otti to revive the “Buy Made in Aba Products” campaign with genuine intent and firm commitment.

While urging the Governor to assume the role of a catalyst for sustainable economic growth, HURIWA demanded a comprehensive plan from Governor Otti to genuinely rejuvenate the “Buy Made in Aba Products” initiative, unlike his predecessor; Okezie Ikpeazu, who observably approached it from the point of view of creating media showmanship, and nothing concrete was institutionalized to make the policy sustainable over a long period of time.

HURIWA stipulated that mere rhetoric will not suffice; “a concrete roadmap is imperative to invigorate local industries, stimulate innovation, and amplify employment prospects”.

HURIWA further tasked Governor Alex Otti to recalibrate his stance, advocating for economic policies that strengthen local businesses, empower Nigerian entrepreneurs, and ultimately benefit the entire nation.

Conclusively, HURIWA reinforced that true leadership emanates from actions that enhance national prosperity, reduce unemployment, and solidify Nigeria’s position on the global economic stage. “Concrete actions, not just rhetoric, to bolster local industries, promote innovation, and create job opportunities for Nigerians cannot be overemphasized.”


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