Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Wednesday, 31 January, 2018.

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
Cameroonian soldiers have invaded Nigerian communities in Cross River State, the second time in two months.

The soldiers had reportedly killed a Nigerian and a Cameroonian refugee in Danare, Boki Local Government Area (LGA) of the state in December, last year.

The incident followed a military crackdown on Anglophone secessionists in the neighbouring nation, resulting in displaced persons streaming into Nigerian territory.

Sources at Danare said the soldiers stormed the community on Thursday, demanding that the village head hand over some refugees to them. The leader turned down the request and the troops left without hurting anybody.

On Monday night, however, the soldiers returned. Numbering between 50 and 100, they allegedly crossed the international border into Danare, searching for Cameroonian militants said to have sought refuge in Nigeria. The militants had allegedly attacked the soldiers, prompting the reprisal.

The Spokesman for the community and a former councillor in Boki LGA, Mr. Douglas Ogar, flanked by some indigenes, yesterday, told newsmen in Calabar that the soldiers invaded the village at about 2:00 a.m. on Monday, shooting intermittently.

He said: “Our people did not sleep, yesterday (Monday), because gendarmes from Cameroon invaded our community, claiming they were looking for Ambazonian militants. The militants, who have since taken refuge in the surrounding forests, were also shooting. The entire community was in chaos.

“It is important to recall the sad invasion of Danare communities, which happened on January 25 this year, when more than 80 Cameroonian soldiers with various weapons crossed the Danare-Daddi/Danare-Bodam international border openings and abducted five natives.”

Ogar said the situation posed a serious danger to the safety of refugees and the entire Boki communities.

According to him, the soldiers said their mission was to warn the residents of Danare to be aware they would return and stage a raid intended to cleanse the communities of all threats to the Cameroonian government.

“This is a calculated offensive from the Cameroonian military on Nigeria. They have shown outright defiance of Nigeria’s territorial sovereignty and despised the consequences of crossing the international boundary to carry out intimidations and harassment on the already alarmed citizens of Danare, with warnings of further assault.”

Commenting on the latest invasion, the Cross River State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji, said: “The issue has gone beyond the police. The Nigerian army has just deployed a battalion in the area. No Nigerian has been killed. And as you know, this is an international issue which is being handled at the highest level of government.”

The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR), meanwhile, has said an estimated 36,000 persons from Cameroon have fled into Nigerian communities.

But reacting to the alleged invasion, the spokesman for 13 Amphibious Brigade Calabar, Captain Kayode Owolabi, said: “There is nothing like that. Actually, they may come to their own side and not (the) Nigerian side.”

When asked, however, to comment on photographs the people in Danare had taken of the Cameroonian troops and of their meeting with the community, Owolabi said: “I saw the pictures that Cameroonian soldiers entered our territory. But actually, our men are there. But the network to reach them is the problem. But as soon as I get the information, I will send it to you.”

During the December incursion by the soldiers, a former council chairman, Mr. Kingsley Mbia, had sent an SOS text message to the head of the Department of State Service, saying: “Information at my disposal has it that the Cameroonian army are at the verge of running over Danare 1 community in Boki LGA. Shooting on the outskirts of the village has claimed the life of one Akombi Mbia of Danare 1 and Osang Celestine Enu, a displaced person in Danare. We wish to appeal that soldiers be deployed in the area to save the life of the people.”

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
The wave of killings by herdsmen across the country amounts to ethnic cleansing by the minority Fulani group, stated pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, yesterday.

It regretted that “the killings and arson attacks now wear the garb of state-approved expeditions, given the loud silence of the president.”

It noted: “Nigeria has become a primitive and barbaric enclave, as the state is either complicit or unwilling to stop these dastardly acts.”

Afenifere condemned the “huge killings field” it said armed Fulani herdsmen have turned the country into, citing especially the New Year massacre in Benue State.

The group made the observation at its General Assembly and public hearing, held at the house of its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, yesterday.

“It is not a religious issue. It is a racist tendency, to achieve ethnic cleansing, putting other ethnic groups at risk,” said guest speaker, Dr. Charles Adisa, who noted that the methods of the Fulani contradict global best practices.

Afenifere also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to “immediately reorganise the country’s security architecture to reflect diversity,” noting that the current situation “where 16 out of 17 service chiefs are from a section of the county is unhealthy and promotes clannishness in dealing with security issues in a multi-ethnic set up.”

It demanded the “immediate removal” of the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan Ali, accusing him of “insensitivity and sanctioning of the killings of Nigerians.” It stressed: “This is the only way to show that the lives of Nigerians still count.”

It called for the immediate restructuring of the country into a proper federation with units having their own police forces, to guarantee security and law enforcement.

The organisation rejected the move by the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies, saying the concept is offensive, repugnant and an affront to the rights of non-Fulani communities whose lands would be forcibly acquired and subjected to an alien culture under the guise of cattle rearing.

“Yoruba people would not allow any colony on their land, as we are a free people. Anyone who wants to raise cows within our space should do ranching,” the group said.

It added: “We call on the government to put a halt to the culture of repression going on in the country and realise that we are in a constitutional democracy where the rule of law should prevail.

“Lastly, we call for a collective rescue effort by patriots in organising and mobilising effectively for a movement around federalism that can save the republic from collapse and put Nigeria back on track and guarantee the security of life and property and prosperity for all.”

The Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), meanwhile, has described the spate of kidnappings, herdsmen attacks and cult activities in various parts of the country as a declaration of war against the state.

Dambazau, who represented Buhari at the ninth General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), held in Port Harcourt, yesterday, stressed: “As a responsible government, we will not condone this. All troublemakers, criminals and violent entrepreneurs should be ready to face the consequences of their acts. While the Federal Government is doing everything possible to tackle the root of crime and violence, we expect citizens to respect and obey the laws governing our society.”

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, called for the decentralisation and de-politicisation of security services. “Even as we may continue to live in denial, the recurring bloodbaths in Benue, Taraba and other states have once again exposed the weaknesses of our country’s centralised policing system as well as the frustrations and near complete helplessness of state governors in their quest to provide adequate security for the communities and the people they govern,” he said.

In a related development, the Federal Government reiterated its commitment to ending clashes between herdsmen and farmers. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the assurance, yesterday, in Abuja, while receiving a delegation at the Presidential Villa.

The team was led by the traditional rulers of Batta and Bachamma communities of Adamawa State: HRM Hama Batta, Homun Alhamdu Teneke; and HRM Hama Bachamma, Homun Honest Irmiya Stephen.

“President Buhari is determined to resolve the herdsmen-farmers clashes in Adamawa State and restore peace and order to the affected communities,” Osinbajo said.

A statement by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, quoted him as saying: “Much damage has been done, not just security-wise, but also to the psyche of the people. Due to the series of attacks, people are afraid. We are looking at repairing the damage that has been done to the infrastructure of the communities and rehabilitating the people.”

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup has said that Nigeria will continue to rank poorly on the global Ease of Doing Business Index until critical infrastructural deficits are addressed by government.

Haastrup, at an industry event, said most of the sub-indices used by the World Bank to measure the Ease of Doing Business in 190 countries of the world are still begging for government attention in the country.

While commending the present government for its determination to improve on the country’s Ease of Doing Business Index, she said the infrastructural gap bedevilng the country can be addressed within a medium-term framework if government so desires.

She said: “The Ease of Doing Business ranking of a country is based on 10 sub-indices which include starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; and getting credit.

“Others are protecting investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts; and resolving insolvency.

“A cursory appraisal of Nigeria’s operating environment reveals a yawning gap in some of the sub-indces. On getting electricity and the cost of electricity; we are just not there at all. I am sure every Nigerian can talk extensively on this. It should concern any well-meaning Nigerian that we still face this huge problem almost two decades into the 21st Century.

“In Nigeria today, the cost of generating electricity through generators is killing businesses. The generators we use are also sources of major environmental and noise pollution. On getting credit; this is still a major challenge especially for small businesses; and for those businesses that are able to access credits, the cost of borrowing is high.

“On paying taxes; I think many businesses in Nigeria are still suffering from multiple taxation. On trading across borders; our cargo clearing processes are still primitive. Customs checks are duplicated, manual and too laborious. There are also too many government agencies involved in cargo examination at the port and land border posts. All of these slow down trade and add to the cost of doing business.

“On enforcing contracts; we must note that no investor will bring their money to the table until we begin to respect the sanctity of contracts.”

Princess Haastrup said Nigeria is a country with enormous human and material resources with a youthful and teeming population of over 180 million, “which is a huge market beckoning on discerning investors”.

“Under the right leadership, the economic successes recorded by a country like Singapore will fade in significance in comparison to ours.
Unemployment and poverty will belong to our past if we create the right environment for businesses to thrive. The way to make create the right environment is to address the limiting factors highlighted earlier,” she added.

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
President Donald Trump declared Tuesday in his State of the Union address to Congress that what he calls America's "open borders" had allowed drug gangs to pour into US communities.

Pointing out a guest -- a mother who lost two daughters to murder -- Trump urged Congress to come together to "close the loopholes" that he said allow in groups like El Salvador's MS-13.

"Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes and our laws to enter the country as illegal, unaccompanied, alien minors," Trump claimed, laying out his immigration plan.

If the president wins congressional backing for his immigration plans they will include four pillars tightening what he and his populist supporters see as weak links in current law.

The first pillar, and one that might not find immediate support with the most vocal members of Trump's anti-immigrant base, is a "path to citizenship" for undocumented migrants who arrived at a young age.

The second pillar, Trump said, "fully secures the border" by building a huge wall on the Mexican frontier and hiring more immigration agents.

The third pillar would end America's Green Card lottery, and replace it with a so-called merit-based system for migrants with skills needed by US businesses.

And the fourth pillar -- an idea that drew protests from Democrat lawmakers during the speech, would end "chain migration" policies that allow migrants to bring in family members.

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
Former Attorney General of the Federation, and the newly elected 10th President of the Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo A. Kayode... 

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday struck a deal with the Nigerian communications commission (NCC) on electronic transmission of results in the 2019 general elections. 

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
Tributes poured in torrents last night for late former Vice President Alex Ekwueme as the Anglican Church urged politicians to emulate his style of politics for the growth of the nation's democracy. 

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd., has handed over two furnished bungalows tothe Ulogor, and Umungede Igirikwu communities in Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State... 

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
A Lagos High Court in Ikeja has sentenced two oil marketers to eight years imprisonment. 

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
I was undergoing the mandatory but a rather tough tutelage of 'career scripting' at the famous 'Room 30 of NTA, Lagos' to eventually number amongst the reveredclub of writers for Play of the Week. 

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
For the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), a fresh challenge of tackling smuggling and diversion of petroleum products to neighbouring countries is a battle to fight headlong. 

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has said that the Mission to Rebuild Policy (MITROS) of his administration was working. 

Wed, 31 Jan 2018
No fewer than seven persons have been killed by suspected herdsmen in a midnight attack at Kadarko community in Keana Local Council of Nasarawa State. 
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