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THE NATION

COZA saga: PUNCH appoints new editors

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he management of The PUNCH has appointed new editors for its daily and weekend titles following the sack of the former helmsmen.

The newspaper on Tuesday, after interviewing about 15 people appointed Ademola Oni as the Daily Editor of The PUNCH to replace Martin Ayankola.

Oni was the Sunday Editor of the newspaper before his elevation as the Daily Editor.

The PUNCH had on Monday sacked its Daily Editor, Ayankola over an offensive cartoon published on its back page last Thursday. Also asked to resign was the Saturday Editor, Olabisi Deji-Folutile over the same issue.

There has been outrage over a cartoon published on the back page of the PUNCH last Thursday. The opinion on its back page column was written by Abimbola Adelakun, with the title “What Does Mrs. Fatoyinbo Know.” The article was illustrated with a cartoon of a man desecrating the bible with urine.

The publication had generated lots of displeasure against the newspaper for publishing such offensive cartoon aimed at casting aspersion on the Christian faith and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, PM News authoritatively learnt that Dayo Oketola was appointed by the company as the Weekend Editor for both Saturday and Sunday publications.

Oketola was formerly the Business Editor of the Daily newspaper.

Meanwhile, before his sack on Monday, Ayankola had been the longest serving PUNCH Editor, having been appointed to the office in 2013 and during his tenure, the PUNCH towered higher.

He was forced to resign for allegedly bringing the newspaper into disrepute, as Deji-Folutile was also asked to resign for allegedly playing a role in the publication, while the cartoonist of the newspaper was sacked.

The PUNCH had also tendered an apology to the public over the offensive cartoon.

The apology reads: “On the back of the page of the Thursday, July 4, 2019 edition of the PUNCH, we published a cartoon to illustrate an article titled, ‘What does Mrs Fatoyinbo know?’ The cartoon features a character desecrating the Holy Bible.

“We apologise for the offensive cartoon and assure our esteemed readers that we hold the Christian faith in high regard. We have since commenced the process of applying appropriate sanctions to the members of staff responsible, and we shall be reviewing our editorial process to prevent re-occurrence.”

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THE NATION

Dantata, Omoluwa, others bag United Nations Peace award

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Sir Lucky Omoluwa

In its bid to ensure that peace continues to reign and the need for sustainable development globally, the United Nations in collaboration with POLAC has appointed some notable Nigerians as its peace ambassadors. The event, which took place in Abuja, was one of the activities lined up by the United Nations to celebrate the 2019 Human Rights Day.

Notable among the recipients were vice-chairman, SIDIL, Alhaji Alhassan Dantata; chairman, Pinnacle Communications Ltd, Sir Lucky Omoluwa; director-general, Institute of Peace and Conflict, Imo State, Mr. Peter Ohagwa, among others

Director-General of POLAC, Prof Halo Eton, said the recipients were appointed on merit as they were recommended based on integrity and untainted antecedents.

Much more honour, like tassel, was added to the bejeweled cap of Sir Lucky Omoluwa who had been honoured with so many local and international awards. He thanked the UN for the honour and stressed that peace in every home would culminate into peace in the society.

“I shall project peace and preach peace, and let them understand that that we are better off living together in peace than living apart,” Omoluwa said.

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THE NATION

Presidency to PUNCH: No big deal calling Buhari Major-General, he worked hard for it

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According to President Buhari’s media adviser, Femi Adesina, there is no big deal about the decision and rather, it further reinforces the existence of freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the country.

“Nothing untoward in it. It is a rank the President attained by dint of hard work before he retired from the Nigerian Army. And today, constitutionally, he is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces”, he said.

“All over the world, just as in our country, a large number of retired military officers are now democrats. It does not make those who did not pass through military service better than them.

“Rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it is a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve”.

PUNCH announced its decision today in a strong editorial, in which it deplored the administration’s human rights abuses, invasion of the court of law by DSS goons, in order to re-arrest Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Saharareporters and convener of #RevolutionNow movement

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THE NATION

Digital Economy: NITDA launches ‘Smart Agric Platform’ to create jobs

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NITDA DG, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has launched a platform Smart Agro Business to connect Nigerians who are interested in investing in agro business.

The Director General of the Agency, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE said that Smart Agro Platform comprises of farmers, government agencies, agric experts, banks and micro-lenders, extension services, hardware solution providers, software developers, customers, marketplace, among others across the agric value chain.

He said, “This project was conceived in order to support Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami’s focus especially in making his dream reality towards turning the country into digital-driving economy and ensure the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is end hunger and achieve good security by 2030.

The DG further noted that Smart Agro is the beginning of a transformation in the agriculture sector to enable farmers contribute effectively to the digital economy of Nigeria and create jobs for the teeming youths.

“What we did is to rethink agriculture differently, by creating a digital platform that will connect the Agric ecosystem and enable the possibility of new business models by the private sector which will, in turn, generate new products and services and create value across the Agric value chain,” he said.

He added that, “NITDA Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) is a project conceived to create about 6 million jobs in the next 5 to 10 years through our technology platform.

According to NITDA desk officer department of e-Government development and regulation Lukman Lamid the idea is to support 25 graduates in each of the 774 LGAs on modern agric methods, give them the resources and the right technology to enable them to manage their farms from planting to harvesting and marketing.

“This pilot phase is a proof of concept which had witnessed selection, training and support of 15 graduates in Gombe state on modern farming methods in collaboration with National Agriculture Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS).

“We have developed a digital platform in which its mobile app components will continue to serve NITDA supported farmers, any other farmer and all the ecosystem members when it is fully ready.

Lamid noted that ability to get information to monitor farms in real-time and connect with resources to manage farm effectively will improve crop yield, quality of farm produce per block of land and profit for these farmers.

“In the future, we would deploy and integrate smart technologies such as IoT on the platform to improve the accuracy and the processes of getting information in real-time, integrate with GIS technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Big data analytics among other emerging technologies to add more value to the platform.

Lamid stated that the innovation is a product of research paper “Towards Diversification of Nigeria Economy through Smart Agriculture” published by the Minister in June 2017 in International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technology Research.

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