Council Gives Go-ahead for Purchase of CNG, Solar and Electric-powered Vehicles 

•Observes minute silence in honour of two ex-ministers – Onu and Osuji

•President swears in two more federal commissioners for NPC

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The fifth Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting for 2024, held yesterday at State House, Abuja, with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu presiding, will continue today, Tuesday.

yesterday’s council meeting, which came about seven weeks after the last one held on March 25, adjourned till today to conclude deliberations on the agenda of the meeting.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting held at Council Chambers, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said far-reaching decisions were taken. Idris added that deliberations will continue on Tuesday by noon.

According to him, “The meeting is not yet concluded. Council meeting will continue tomorrow. Therefore, there will be no press briefing today.

“A lot of far reaching decisions have been taken and the conclusions will be made available to you tomorrow.”

A top Presidency official, however, told THISDAY that Monday’s FEC meeting directed that all new vehicles, generators or tricycles being procured by government and its agencies must be powered by CNG, solar or electric.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the order was one of the major decisions reached by the council before it adjourned proceedings till today after over four hours.

Affected by the order, according to sources, are new requests by Nigeria Customs Service, the Shipper’s Council, an agency of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, which had sought approval to buy several hundreds of operational vehicles to be powered by petrol.

The council approved the requests, but said the vehicles must be CNG vehicles, the sources said.

Similarly, a request by the Federal Capital Territory Administration to buy petrol generators was approved, but the council insisted they must be powered by CNG or solar.

Government also expected agencies to begin to convert petrol or diesel vehicles or generators to CNG.

The Tinubu administration, which launched the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (PCNGi) last October, planned to roll out about 800 CNG buses, 4,000 CNG tricycles, and 100 electric buses in the first phase of the initiative in the next few weeks.

In taking the decision on Monday, government was signalling its readiness for energy transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.

Government believed its policy would unlock new investments in renewable energy, solar panels, and lithium batteries. It also believed the policy would be climate friendly and reduce inflation, as it will slash costs by about 60 percent.

FEC had at the commencement of the meeting on Monday observed a minute’s silence in honour of two former ministers – one-time Minister of Education, Professor Fabian Osuji, and former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu – before going into a closed-door session.

Osuji, who died at the age of 82 in February, served as education minister during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He played a key role in initiating policies that impacted the sector positively.  Onu, who died at 72, was Minister of Science and Technology during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The council meeting was attended by Vice President Kashim Shettima; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan; and most of the other members of the council.

Earlier, Tinubu sworn in two additional Federal Commissioners of the National Population Commission (NPC).

Those who took the oath of office before the president were Fasuwa Johnson (Ogun State) and Amidu Raheem (Osun State).

Their swearing-in came weeks after 17 of their colleagues took the oath of office in March.

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