Below are the headlines found on The Daily Trust Online Newspaper for today,  Monday, 19 March, 2017.

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari may have opted out of the African Union Continental Free Trade Area agreement which is expected to be ratified tomorrow in Kigali, Rwanda. 
The president yesterday cancelled his planned trip to Kigali for the event.

Instead, a terse statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the president would consult with stakeholders before a final decision is taken on the matter.  
The two-paragraph statement by the Ministry’s spokesperson, Tope Elias-Fatile, to State House correspondents by the Presidency’s Media Office, reads: 
“President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled his trip to Kigali, Rwanda, to attend an Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on Tuesday,  March 21,to sign the framework agreement for establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area. This is to allow more time for input from Nigerian stakeholders.” 
The Federal cabinet meeting Wednesday chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, resolved that the President sign the AfCFTA agreement framework. 
The council had also approved that Nigeria bid for the location of the headquarters of the AfCFTA. 
The president’s advance team members had arrived at Kigali while the second batch was on Saturday recalled from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, from where they were set to take off. 
Presidential spokesmen, Mr Femi Adesina and Malam Garba Shehu, were silent on why the trip was cancelled.   
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, had on Wednesday disclosed that Nigeria played a leadership role in the negotiations for the AfCFTA agreement.  
The minister told journalists on the outcome of the cabinet meeting that the nation’s Chief Negotiator and Director-General of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations was the chairperson of the AU negotiating technical team.  
The decision to establish the AfCFTA was taken in 2012 by AU leaders at their 18th ordinary session. AfCFTA is the first step in the implementation of AU Agenda 2063, the “Vision” for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.    
Actual negotiations for the AfCFTA were launched at the AU Johannesburg Summit in 2015. The negotiations are in two stages: Stage one covers trade in goods and services; while stage two covers intellectual property, competition policy and investment.  
Stage one negotiations were concluded this month; while the AU Heads of State and Government are to adopt, sign and launch the AfCFTA framework agreement on Tuesday.
The agreement to establish the AfCFTA will launch the single liberalized market for trade in goods and services. When in force, the AfCFTA shall be the largest Free Trade Area (FTA) in the global economy, by numbers.   
The AfCFTA is a negotiated rules-based system to establish the rule of law in trade, deepen, and expand intra-Africa trade from its very low base of 14 percent. 
The government had listed the benefits of signing the AfCFTA framework agreement,  for Nigeria, to include: expanding market access for Nigeria’s exporters of goods and services, spur growth and boost job creation; eliminating barriers against Nigeria’s products and provide a Dispute Settlement Mechanism for stopping the hostile and discriminatory treatment directed against Nigerian natural and corporate business persons in other African countries; establishing rules-based trade governance in intra-African trade to invoke trade remedies, such as safeguards, anti-dumping, and countervailing duties against unfair trade practices, including dumping, trans-shipment of concealed origin of products.  
AfCFTA would also support the industrial policy of Nigeria through the negotiated and agreed Exclusion and Sensitive category lists to provide space for Nigeria’s infant industries; improve competitiveness, the enabling environment for business, consolidate and expand Nigeria’s position as the number 1 economy in Africa; stimulate, specifically, an estimated 8.18 percent increase in Nigeria’s total exports, with a small structural shift in Nigeria’s economy towards manufacturing and services. 
“This is expected to lead to a total increase in Nigerian economic welfare by 0.62% - equivalent to around US$2.9 billion in 2018 terms.  Changes would result from tariff reduction, ease of doing business and, trade facilitation.” 
AfCFTA would also provide a platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) integration into the regional economy and accelerate women’s empowerment as well as provide an expanded platform for Nigerian manufacturers and service providers for connection to regional and continental value chains.  

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
More reactions have continued to trail the meeting held between former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigeria Movement and ex-Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, among others. The leaders of National Intervention Movement (NIM) and other political parties also attended the meeting.
Sources told Daily Trust last night that Kwankwaso’s presence may have confirmed earlier speculation that the coalition was considering the former Kano governor as its candidate for the 2019 presidential election. 

When contacted last night, Malam Naseer Kura, the Deputy Director General of NIM, said he was not surprised about the presence of Kwankwaso at the lagos meeting, adding, however, that consultation was still ongoing in the choice of political party and presidential flag bearer. 
He said, “As far as NIM is concerned, we are still consulting with political parties, stakeholders and gladiators on the way forward, particularly so because we have come to the conclusion that the solution to Nigeria’s problem lies in other forces outside the PDP and the APC.  
“I’m sure, therefore, having Kwankwaso to be among those politicians in attendance at that meeting is not surprising to us. It is a welcome development as far as we are concerned. 
“As elections draw closer, as the time table draws closer, I’m sure you would be seeing more and more people, who hitherto were either in PDP or in government coming out to express their support for the coalition of new forces working towards replacing the present crop of political leaders,” he said. 
He said the scheduled Wednesday’s summit of NIM in Abuja would provide a direction on which political party to be adopted ahead of the 2019 election, stressing that the coalition comprises representatives from different political parties. 
But Lagos State Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), one of the parties invited to the meeting, Comrade Bayo Ogunleye, said he stayed away because the ideology of the conveners runs contrary to that of NCP and its founder and Human rights lawyer, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. 
He said NCP’s position was not to enter into a coalition with any party because the party was not ready to lose its identity.
When contacted, Kwankwaso’s political associate, Hajiya Binta Rabi’u Spikin, dispelled the news. 
Spikin said, “Senator Kwankwaso never met with Obasanjo in Lagos state as speculated… 
“Senator Kwankwaso was in Kaduna having series of meetings with various stakeholders of Kwankwasiyya-led faction of the APC. The story that went viral on social media was false, unfounded and uncalled-for.” 
Spikin, however, said people were clamouring for the ‘real change’ hence they were eager to know where the national leader of Kwankwasiyya, Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso focuses his political attention, so they could follow him. 
Also commenting on the issue, a strong pillar in the Kwankwasiyya movement and former Commissioner under Kwankwaso’s administration, Dr Yunusa Adamu Dangwani, said they only read the story in the newspaper. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari says it is too early for him to declare his intention for the 2019 presidential election. 
The president said any declaration of his intention now would give the opposition one year to sabotage Nigeria politically, socially and economically. 

Buhari, through an interview by his spokesman Mr Femi Adesina at the weekend, explained that he was keeping his intention close to his chest so that the opposition would not throw everything at him to dissuade him from running. 

The presidential spokesman said Buhari would declare his intention to seek reelection at a time the opposition could do less damage.

Responding to a question on when Buhari would declare his intention for the 2019 general elections,  Adesina said: “You know the peculiarity of Nigeria,  particularly now. If the president speaks too early, it’s a problem. There is a lot of sabotage in the country.

“You have also heard so many have said ‘don’t run.’ Because they know that if the president runs, other people should just run away because they don’t have the foggiest chance in hell to beat him. So, they want to discourage him from running. 

“Now, if he tells you ‘I’m going to run,’ and elections are still one year away, it gives them one year to sabotage the entire country from all fronts - politically, socially, economically - they would throw everything at him just to dissuade him from running. 

“So, when you know that, why then do you speak early? I think it makes a lot of sense for you then to keep things close to your chest till it is time for you to then say, ‘ok, I’m running’ by which time they can do less damage.”

Buhari had last month at a meeting with the All Progressives Congress governors at the Presidential Villa in Abuja requested for more time to seek the input of more Nigerians on whether or not to seek reelection. 

During the meeting, the governors had asked him to run for second term. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The governor of Jigawa State, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, yesterday stopped his speech, following interruption from the political thugs that took over the venue of an occasion to receive the decampees from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Birnin-Kudu, Birnin-Kudu local government area(LGA). 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has kicked against the planned conduct of local government elections in Imo State. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
A former Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, Godwin Akpama, has begun open campaign for the re-election of Governor Ben Ayade. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
Leaders and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the three senatorial districts in Oyo State, at the weekend, threatened to leave for another party if impunity continued. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
His Royal Highness Alhaji Aliyu Kevin Danesi, Oba Danesi III, is the Aidonogie of South-Ibe Kingdom, Etsako West Local Government of Edo State. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
Islamic or non-interest banking has taken off in full in Nigeria with the establishment of one full-fledged non-interest bank and two banks creating window for Islamic banking. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
Nigeria had a national carrier-the Nigeria Airways-that was run aground by corruption. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The Shareholders of the Transcorp Hotels Plc have approved the Boards recommendation of a final dividend of 12. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, at the weekend, ordered for the revocation of all contracts which are yet to be completed at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The Federal Government has urged other African member states of the International Telecommunication Union []ITU] to support Nigerias candidacy as well as a Nigerian vying for the post of Director of Telecommunications Bureau of ITU, Mr William Ijeh. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
In January 2012, Udacity was launched; then Coursera in April 2012, followed by edX in May 2012. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
Microsofts digital assistant Cortana could help hackers infect a computer running Windows 10 with a virus. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
Without adequate funding of Research and Development (R &D), Nigerias economy will remain undeveloped, the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) has said. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
Raphael Varane has confirmed Manchester United are interested in him. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
With just weeks left in its well-deserved break, the prestigious Nigerian polo national tour cant wait to hit the road for its second phase, with Abraka, Minna and Abuja lining up three box office events to gallop off the stage. 

Mon, 19 Mar 2018
England captain Joe Root made a century on the final day of a second tour match against a New Zealand XI prior to this weeks first Test against the Kiwis. 
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