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Business News

International flights resume at Kano Airport

International flights have resumed at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport after almost a year.

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The return of International flights resumed at the Kano Airport a year after most flights outside the nation paused entry through the airport due to the pandemic.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Ministry of Aviation after an Ethiopian air flight landed at the airport on Tuesday.

“Resumption of International flight at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, (MAKIA) with the arrival of Ethiopian Airline, today 6th April 2021,” they said.

In case you missed it: Nairametrics reported the FG recently opened the new Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) terminal, and the new Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) last month.

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Presidency condemns smear campaign against Communications Minister

According to Garba Shehu, the FG stands behind Minister Pantami and all Nigerian citizens to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services.

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The Presidency has dismissed the ongoing smear campaign against the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, instigated by those who want him to be removed from office.

This follows the calls for his resignation by Nigerians over his alleged links to some terrorist organizations and some extremist statements he made over 20 years ago.

This reaction is contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Thursday in Abuja, describing such calls as unfortunate.

He said that it is unfair and unfortunate for anyone to seek for the downfall of a hard-working public servant due to a statement he/she made in the past even after such a statement had been rejected by the affected person.

What the Presidential Media Aide is saying

Shehu in his statement, said, ”Today, there is an unfortunate fashion in public discourse that makes leaders in politics, religion, and civil society liable in the present for every statement they have ever made in the past – no matter how long ago, and even after they have later rejected them.

This insidious phenomenon seeks to cancel the careers of others on the basis of a thing they have said, regardless of when they said it. The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami is, currently, subject to a “cancel campaign” instigated by those who seek his removal.

They do not really care what he may or may not have said some 20 years ago: that is merely the instrument they are using to attempt to cancel him. But they will profit should he be stopped from making decisions that improve the lives of everyday Nigerians.

The Minister has, rightly, apologized for what he said in the early 2000s. The views were absolutely unacceptable then and would be equally unacceptable today, were he to repeat them. But he will not repeat them – for he has publicly and permanently condemned his earlier utterances as wrong.

In the 2000s, the minister was a man in his twenties; next year he will be 50, time has passed, and people and their opinions – often rightly – change.”

SSKOHN

Shehu pointed out that Pantami was deliberately being attacked to rubbish the achievements of the Buhari administration in the ICT sector.

He also listed the achievements of Pantami in the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy in the past two and a half years.

This Administration is committed to improving the lives of all Nigerians – and that includes ensuring they are not over-charged or under-protected for those services on which modern life depends.

The Minister has been leading the charge against illegal data deductions and pricing. He has revolutionized the government’s virtual public engagement to respond to COVID-19 and save taxpayers’ money. He has established ICT start-up centres to boost youth entrepreneurship and create jobs.

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He has changed policy to ensure locally produced ICT content is used by ministries, starting with his own; and he has deregistered some 9.2 million SIMs – ending the ability for criminals and terrorists to flagrantly use mobile networks undetected.

In two short years, Minister Pantami has driven the contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP to more than 18 percent, making it one of the top two playing a critical role in the emergence of the economy from the COVID 19-induced recession.’’

Shehu said, “The minister and this administration have made enemies. There are those in the opposition who see success and want it halted by any means.

And there is now well-reported information that alleges newspaper editors rebuffed an attempt to financially induce them to run a smear campaign against the minister by some ICT companies, many of which do indeed stand to lose financially through lower prices and greater consumer protections.

The government is now investigating the veracity behind these claims of attempted inducement, and – should they be found to hold credence – police and judicial action must be expected.

The Administration stands behind Minister Pantami and all Nigerian citizens to ensure they receive fair treatment, fair prices, and fair protection in ICT services,” he added.

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In case you missed it

It can be recalled that Some Nigerians had asked Pantami to resign over his alleged links to some terrorist groups including Boko Haram, an allegation that the Minister had denied.

 

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Lagos agricultural sector to generate $10 billion in the next 5 years

The agricultural sector in Lagos state is projected to generate as much as $10 billion within the next 5 years.

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has projected that the agricultural sector in the state could generate as much as $10 billion within the next 5 years.

This is as the governor noted that Lagos could no longer afford to rely exclusively on other states for its food, adding that it was time to unlock its immeasurable agricultural potential through the implementation of the 5-year roadmap.

This disclosure was made by the Governor at the formal launch of the state’s 5-year Agricultural and Food Systems Roadmap, on Thursday, adding that most of the investments would be private sector-driven while the government acts as the catalyst and enabler.

Governor Sanwo-Olu opined that the Roadmap would also lead to wealth generation, value creation, food security, the industrialisation of the agricultural sector and the entrenchment of inclusive socio-economic development of the state.

He said that the roadmap essentially focuses on 3 pillars, which are: growth of the upstream sector, growth of the midstream and downstream sectors as well as improvement of private sector participation.

What the Lagos State Governor is saying

Sanwo-Olu, in his words, said, “Our strategies for sustainable Agricultural Development shall focus on three pillars. First, we will grow the upstream sector through interventions by leveraging technologies that are capable of lowering the cost of production of value chains; Focus on growing the midstream and downstream sectors that are of value and lastly, we will improve on private sector participation by developing and initiating policies that will encourage more private investments in agriculture.”

The projection is that the total investment in the Agricultural Sector from the government, private sector, donor agencies and development partners will run into over $10 billion in the next five years. While we expect most of the investment to be private sector-driven, the government will continue to provide the needed infrastructure while the private sector will be encouraged to lead the key projects.’

The governor pointed out that the state had already started the revamping of its Agricultural Land Holding Authority (ALHA) to support investment in agriculture, giving assurance that the coconut belt would also be strengthened with increased private sector involvement.

Sanwo-Olu listed some State’s landmark investments that will aid smooth delivery of the Roadmap to include the Lagos State Aquatic Centre of Excellence (LACE) that would boost fish production from 20% to 80%, the Imota Rice Mill, the Lagos Food Production Centre Avia, Igborosu-Badagry as well as other statewide agriculture-focused initiatives.

SSKOHN

He said, “I am greatly encouraged by the interest already generated in the Five-Year Agricultural Roadmap and I hope it will be sustained and backed with concrete action on the part of our development partners and the international community. I assure you that the Lagos State Government is putting in place deliberate incentives to make your investment safe, secure and profitable.’

Sanwo-Olu, therefore, urged potential and established stakeholders in the agricultural sector to partner with the state in order to transform the agricultural sector for food security, wealth generation, poverty eradication, economic diversification, rapid industrialisation and accelerated socio-economic growth.

Bottom line

This is a very laudable initiative from the Lagos State Government especially at a time the country is looking at diversifying its economy. The successful implementation of this programme with the expected benefits from the value chain will contribute significantly to the economic development of the state and the country in general.

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The investment in the transformation of agriculture to agribusiness is one way of achieving the dream of attaining self-sufficiency in food production and creating more wealth.

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