Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Sunday, 25 March, 2018.

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
Experts have warned that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could break up, if Nigeria does not tactfully handle its concerns over the bloc’s Protocol on Free Movement of Persons.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had recently established a link between the protocol and the spate of killings by herdsmen, suggesting Nigeria might opt for a review. Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, whose state has witnessed massacres by the herders, also corroborated the view, noting that the pact was undermining internal security.

Daniel Omoweh, Professor of International Relations at Western Delta University, Oghara, and former Associate Research Professor at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), said: “There is no policy in international relations that does not have a drawback. What is important is for the member states to understand where problems are and to how to tackle them.

When you talk about the security implication, I don’t think people having freedom to move is the issue. Rather, I want to believe that if the member states do security checks adequately, they will be able to tackle these people.

According to him, “The free movement protocol of ECOWAS does not permit terrorists. So, if terrorists are infiltrating, it is not the free movement that should be scrapped. What we need to do is that each country should set up proper surveillance. Border control is not an easy business.

America has been trying to stop people, particularly criminals, from passing through Mexico to the United States, but they have not succeeded.”

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
Former Minister of Defence, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma (rtd), has accused the Nigerian military of prejudice, urging people to defend themselves, rather than rely entirely on the institution for protection.
The statement coming from Danjuma, also a former Chief of Army Staff, brings a disturbing twist to the country’s insecurity crisis.

Danjuma made the disclosure in Jalingo, Taraba State, yesterday, during the maiden convocation of the state’s university.

Taraba has over the years witnessed alleged killings by armed herdsmen.

The retired General charged Nigerians to depend less on the Armed Forces, which according to him “are now biased in their operations.”

He expressed regret that the institution, which used to be a shield for citizens, irrespective of religion, tribe or political party affiliation, has descended into partisanship.

The Armed Forces now “collude with armed bandits” to attack innocent Nigerians,” he said, warning: “If you depend on them to stop the killings, you will all die one by one.”

He urged the people to rise up and “protect themselves” from killings by “ethnic cleansers.” He cautioned that unless there is a rethink in the way the military carries out its duties, “Somalia will be a child’s play.”

He said: “Defend your country, defend your state and defend yourselves.” He stressed that since the people have nowhere else to go, they must “collectively resist any attempt that would frustrate the growth of the country.”

He wondered why the Armed Forces have derailed from its constitutional responsibilities by aligning with “killers” to intimidate and maim innocent Nigerians.

This came as suspected herdsmen at Dong village in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State displayed a show of force yesterday night, shooting sporadically into the air.

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
The issue you have raised is a very important one. But it is also a very wide one. You cannot have an economic community or economic union without free movement of goods and human beings. The crisis that we face now, when I say we, I mean Nigeria, cannot be treated in isolation.

What do I mean by that? The problem of Brexit – Britain leaving the European Union – one leg of it has to do with immigration, people flooding into Europe.

Even though the press and politicians, especially in Italy and other countries, tended to focus on immigration from the southern Mediterranean states as well as West African states, and in some cases East Africa, for Britain, actually, the issues of immigrants have had to do more with people coming from Eastern Europe, not from Africa or Asia.

So, when you look at the United States, its problem over what has been called the issue of the wall has to do with immigrants from Latin America.

So, I think we should put the issue of Nigeria’s problem with immigrants within that context. Therefore, as it is problematic for European countries, for the United States, it is also going to be for Nigeria.

And in the case of Nigeria, unfortunately, it has the added issues of the clash between herdsmen and farmers, and the attendant violence perpetrated by these herdsmen, resulting in horrendous injuries and massive deaths.

The people, who should know, like the Sultan, have said that the herdsmen who are perpetrating these heinous crimes are not from Nigeria. So, to that extent, the free movement of people guaranteed by the ECOWAS chapter has now become problematic for Nigeria.

What should Nigeria do? Does it adopt the British model by dropping out of ECOWAS or does it stay within ECOWAS? And I think I should stress this; the issue of herdsmen has also reared its head in Ghana. And I think that the coastal members of ECOWAS are going to bear the brunt of this crisis: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Southern Cameroon, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Why do I identify the coastal countries? This is because part of one cause of several causes is the changes in weather, the spread of the Sahara desert southwards, which has affected grazing land to the north of Nigeria, thereby pressing the herdsmen and their cattle into the south.

Another cause of it, which is of a security and strategic issue and which we have not paid so much attention to – although increasingly, scholars in the security study field are now paying attention to it – is the involvement and movement of groups like ISIS and other Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalists; their involvement with the organisations which are also moving down south.

When I say down south, I mean into Nigeria, even though we have tended to concentrate on Boko Haram. Information available shows that there is increasing sensitisation of the herdsmen, who are perpetrating these horrendous crimes, by these Islamic fundamentalists.

So, it is not only an economic issue; it is also a security issue for Nigeria. Whatever we do, we are going to open up ourselves to retaliation by some of these countries because there are more Sahelian members of ECOWAS than coastal members.

So, while we can expect support or understanding or sympathy from the coastal members of ECOWAS, obviously there will be hostility from the Sahelian members.

Thus, we have to weigh the cost and benefit of whatever decision we are going to take. I hope that whatever decision we take will not lead to a breakup of ECOWAS and that some measures of control can be arranged in consultation with other members because Nigeria feels very strong on this.

And it is starting to pose what I will call an existential problem for Nigeria. I will say that it is our number one problem; that is insecurity. This issue posed by free movement of personnel.

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
There are indications that the face-off between the National Assembly and the executive arm of government over the 2018 budget may get worse following Senate’s decision to leave out Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which failed to defend their budgetary allocations.

The Senate said after several invitations to the chief executives of those agencies, it would be left with no other choice than to restrict itself to what the President presented to it last year in respect of the MDAs.

This is coming just as the Federal Ministry of Finance disclosed that contrary to insinuations, the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has fully defended her 2018 budget proposal, including submitting all relevant documents demanded by appropriate committees.

Special Adviser to the Finance Minister on Media, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, told The Guardian that she has fully defended her budget before the two chambers of the National Assembly, stressing, “We are not responsible for the delay in the passage of the 2018 budget.”

But a key member of the Senate appropriation committee hinted that should the National Assembly simply adopts what the president presented to it as the national budget, it would amount to deferring the evil day.

Just last week, the Senate indicted the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, her Transportation counterpart, Chibuike Amaechi, alongside others  for allegedly frustrating early approval of the 2018 budget.

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
Daniel A. Omoweh is Professor of International Relations at Western Delta University, Oghara, and formerAssociate Research Professor at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. He told KELVIN EBIRI it would be improper for Nigeria to push for a review of the ECOWAS protocol on free movement. He argued that if terrorists are infiltrating the country, [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
In the early 1970s, when Nigeria began championing the cause of sub-regional cohesion in West Africa, there were foreign policy considerations, which went beyond the sentiment of sub-regional solidarity. In the efforts to galvanize the countries in the sub-region, through the formation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria enunciated a policy [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
Introduction Hi, my name is Ezegolo Chidubem ('God, lead me'). I am eight years old, a student of Pampers Private School (Lower Grade 3). My parents believe I have to be led by God (as my name implies) as I go through life. I believe that every child is a learner, a true knowledge seeker. [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
Bayelsa State governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has joined a coalition of leaders from four geo-political zones to reiterate the call on the Federal Government to restructure the country before 2019 general election. They said only restructuring would guarantee the country's development, unity and peaceful coexistence. Governor Dickson spoke, yesterday, in Yenagoa, alongside former President Goodluck [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
There are indications that the face-off between the National Assembly and the executive arm of government over the 2018 budget may get worse following Senate's decision to leave out Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which failed to defend their budgetary allocations. 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (MNI), Shiites, have again urged the Federal Government to ensure that their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky or his wife, does not die in detention. The body said the President would be held responsible, if the couple died in custody, as they are worried by the deteriorating health of [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, accused the Nigerian Police of forcefully denying citizens their fundamental human right, stressing that such a development was a recipe for anarchy. The party's observations followed suspension of its planned mega rally in Kano, due to security warning from the Kano State Police Command. In response to PDP's allegation, [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
This is not about competence and suitability of the president's spokesmen and strategists. They are just victims of certain circumstances beyond their control. Some of us who have had the privilege of covering the presidency for years have had some knowledge of how the State House works and how complicated it can be for reputation [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
The Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) has charged the Federal Government negotiators that rescued 104 out of the 110 abducted Dapchi schoolgirls to ensure that Leah Sharibu is also released from Boko Haram's den within seven days. In a statement by its National President, Mr. Daniel Kadzai, yesterday, in Yola, YOWICAN said [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
The decline in the population of vultures in Nigeria should be everyone's concern if we understand and appreciate their importance or contributions to human health and the economy. This decline in the number of vultures is not only exacerbated by natural or climate-induced changes but chiefly driven by human-induced threat associated with belief-based use. Having [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
No less than 500 people from all walks of life recently converged on Idris Abdulkadir Auditorium, National Universities Commission (NUC), Abuja, for the maiden edition of Capital Territory Book Convention. Late illustrious writer and former president of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Abubakar Gimba, was immortalised at the book event organised by Delta Book Club, [] 

Sun, 25 Mar 2018
A U.K.-based youth empowerment NGO, Art-Alive Arts Trust has new outlets for artists to project their works on the international art appreciation space. In partnership with a Mauritius-based tourism and property development group, the Lanre Olagoke-led Art-Alive hopes to have works of Nigerian artists, among others on display as part of embellishments at Mauritius' holiday [] 
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