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Kogi: Thugs linked to APC allegedly invade PDP meeting in Ofejikpi with AK47

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Igalas are getting apprehensive on a daily basis over the likelihood of a violence-prone general election next year. The reason is the wanton disturbances across the Kingdom, from Abocho to Anyigba, Ankpa to Idah.

Political thugs reportedly invaded a stakeholders’ meeting of the members of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP in Anyigba with AK 47.

The thugs invaded the environment with a Red Toyota Corolla Saloon car with a covered plate number said to belong to Dekina Local Government official, over five cars were destroyed including Amidu Isah the Anyigba ward Chairman, Ayuba Umoru, Eti-Aja Anyigba Unit Chairman’s car were also destroyed The political meeting was organised by the state’s opposition party to reconcile the aggrieved members ahead of the coming election.

Anyigba is known for several cult activities with so many cult boys available Many of them are said to have since been hijacked by politicians who equipped them with dangerous weapons. Today, whenever and wherever they choose to demonstrate, residents in that area go to bed while it is still day. They carry out a reign of terror and violence in society, nowadays.

Peoples Democratic Party PDP in kogi east has come under serial attack, yesterday in Abocho thugs randomly fired a sporadic gun shot at the peaceful meeting in Abocho town with over five motorcycle destroyed, the victims are helpless due to the facts that the said thugs enjoyed government support and police escort.

THE OBSERVERS TIMES called state commissioner of police on the happening, CP Ali Jega referred the reporter to the state police PRO, who is yet to pick his phone as at the time of the report.The igala kingdom has been experiencing increasing security challenges which appear to have defied solutions. The people of the kingdom seem to have lost count of repeated promises and reassurances by government on how to restore peace in society.
This revealed that the perpetrators of these heinous acts are not spirits; they are known to government but for reasons known to the powers that be in the state, such killers are shielded and treated as untouchables.

Last two months more than Ten people were killed by unknown killers in that same Anyigba which is fast becoming notorious for crimes and under dark forces operation till date the police in the state are yet to arrest anybody in connection to the killing.

The Observers have also said that governments (mishandling of the killing is also a recipe for greater violence as the country moves into the election season.

Today, many parts of Igala kingdom are “gunarised”. Some of the “warlords”, who have their abodes in the ruling political party are controlling huge cache of dangerous arms, more sophisticated than even the ones being owned by the state all awaiting the general election.

Many years ago, in igala land whenever bad boys heard that the police were coming, they would naturally take to their heels, because they had lesser sophisticated firearms than the security agencies, not so any longer.

Lamenting the danger of the illegal arms in the hands of criminals, in Igala land a publicist said that today, it appears that states have lost the capacity to guarantee security of lives and property.

Who made the observation during an exclusive interview with BusinessDay, said: “The capacity of the state to guaranteeing security of lives and property is also a function of the state of the economy. It is the duty of the state to buy guns; to maintain a police force, military and all which is superior to those of the ones challenging them. But a situation where non-state actors are now challenging the state, in the area where the state used to have monopoly; then there is problem.”

“In those days if you hear that government is coming, you run away because government has uniform and has guns. But today, uniforms and guns are no longer a monopoly. In fact, non-state actors- the thugs and cultists and all the others- have bigger guns. Theirs is even more frightening. Armies and soldiers have a protocol for deployment of forces. Now, a thug or cultists has no protocol, they have no rule of engagement; in fact, the bigger the gun a person wields, the more the person is a commander. And as a result of that, insecurity which breeds instability becomes the order of the day,” he further said.

Igala Land, All hands must be on deck

Giving some words of advice, Ibrahim Audu said: It is not just enough to wish that the 2019 general election will be free from violence. Mere wishing may not guarantee that. It is therefore, incumbent on government, relevant agents of government, the media, the religious bodies and Attah Of Igala and other traditional rulers and everybody to see it as a challenge to ensure that desperate politicians do not turn the Igala land into a war zone this time around.

“This can be done through profuse mass sensitization and education. People must be sufficiently reminded about the dangers of electoral violence and the need for those prone to fall into that recruitment web to resist such temptation,” he said

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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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Sowore: US senator flays FG, says Nigeria has no regards for rule of law

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Robert Menendez, a US senator

Robert Menendez, a US senator from New Jersey and member of the senate foreign relations committee, says the events surrounding the rearrest of Omoyele Sowore shows that Nigeria no longer has regards for the rule of law.

On Friday, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) rearrested Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow Movement, and Olawale Bakare, an activist, at the federal high court in Abuja less than 24 hours after they were released on the orders of the court.

There were rearrested less than 24 hours after their release after spending 124 days in detention.

Menendez, who said it seems President Muhammadu Buhari is not aware of what the secret police is “doing in his name”, added that Sowore ought to be celebrated and not incarcerated.

He said the development is unacceptable from a country that practices democracy, pushing for a reassessment of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and US.

“The United States is watching and the world is watching. I fear that the blatant harassment of Mr Omoyele Sowore, an activist and journalist whose only crime appears to be exercising his right to free expression, is becoming symptomatic of increasingly closing political and civic space in Nigeria,” Menendez said.

“The Nigerian court has twice ordered his release on bail. And the state security agencies openly defied the court order each time leaving me to conclude that either Nigeria no longer respects the rule of law or President Buhari is woefully out of touch with what agents of his governments are doing in his name.

“This is unacceptable in a country that calls itself a democracy. Journalists who risk their lives to expose the truth should be celebrated, not incarcerated.

“It is unacceptable to that the husband and father of a US citizen with such blatant cruelty. Today, my office contacted our ambassador in Nigeria in an effort to obtain answers on what actions the United States is taking on the Sowore family’s behalf.

“In the next several days, I’ll continue to engage with the states department in Washington to ascertain the impart of what the arrest of Mr Sowore and other activists and journalists will have on our relationship with Nigeria. My hope is that the bilateral relationship we have with Nigeria will be reassessed in light of these events.”

Last month, the lawmaker had written a letter to Sylvanus Nsofor, Nigeria’s ambassador to US, over the crack down on journalists and activists”.

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THE NATION

Edo Assembly declares 12 seats vacant

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Edo State House of Assembly on Wednesday declared 12 seats in the assembly vacant.

The seats declared vacant are those of members-elect who have refused to present themselves for inauguration into the 7th Assembly and two others who did not meet the mandatory sitting requirement to continue as members of the House.

The Speaker of the House, Mr Francis Okiye, said even if the affected members decided to resume, they would not be able to meet the mandatory 180 sitting days as enshrined in the constitution.

The affected 12 members-elect are Vincent Uwadiae- Ovia North-East 2; Ugiagbe Dumez -Ovia North-East 1; Washington Osifo-Uhunmwode; Victor Edoror-Esan Central; Kingsley Ugabi- Etsako East; and Michael Ohio-Ezomo Owan West.

Others are Sunday Aghedo-Ovia South-West; Chris Okaeben-Oredo West; Crosby Eribo-Egor: Aliyu Oshiomhole-Etsako West 2; Oshomah Ahmed -Etsako Central and Ganiyu Audu-Etsako West 1.

Okiye, while declaring the seats vacant, said the 12 members-elect refused to come forward to process the necessary documentation as part of the condition for their inauguration.

He said, “12 out of the 24 members-elect who completed their screening and documentation process were inaugurated on June 17, 2019 out of which two of them have refused to discharge their legislative duties.

“They have refused to represent their constituents in the House, invariably denying their constituents effective representation.

“At this point, I am declaring the seats of the 12 members-elect vacant in accordance with Section 109 Subsection 1F of the constitution.”

Okiye thereafter called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct by-elections for the affected constituencies within 90 days.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Yekini Idiaye, representing Akoko Edo State Constituency I, said the lawmakers arrived at the decision to declare the seats vacant following over 100 petitions and protests from the people of the constituencies who complained of neglect as a result of lack of representation by the members-elect.

But the spokesman of the affected lawmakers-elect, Mr Washington Osifo, said the action of the assembly was laughable.

He said, “It is a laughing matter because the matter is before the court and when a matter is before the court, such action is sub judice.

“We are challenging the illegal inauguration of the House and anything put on nothing cannot stand. So, Okiye is a man that is in search of identity, he is working with the governor in the pursuit of a blind ambition, they have hit the rock.”

He said the House also passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill and affirmed the removal of the suspended Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area, Alhaji Aramiyau Momoh.

Other matter considered at the sitting, according to him, was the confirmation of the members of the board of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service.

-PUNCH

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