Worried by the incessant cases of child rape across the country, Nigeria’s Senate yesterday moved to frame laws that would make perpetrators face capital punishment.
Moving the motion on Order 42 and 52 of Senate rules, Senator Rose Oko, representing Cross River North Senatorial District, explained that victims of child rape have been on the increase, a situation she said was worrisome, urging the Upper Chamber to intervene.
“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise on Order 42 and 52 of Senate rules to explain a very disturbing issue of child rape. Mr. President, I want to say that this matter is alarming and we need to deal with it,” he said.
Reacting, Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District, Oluremi Tinubu yesterday said those indulging in child abuse deserve death penalty.
Tinubu wondered what perpetrators stand to benefit from such heinous acts, adding.” Raping a child is synonymous to killing that child.
“Imagine a child who doesn’t know anything and was raped. If you ask the child victim to stand in law Court, what would she tell the judge? ”
Corroborating, Senator Sabi Abdulahi, representing Niger North, argued that the Senate must intervene by putting stiffer penalties for perpetrators.
Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege stated that there were enough rape laws, stating that the challenges were those of enforcement and implementation.
According to him, “Court judges perhaps have too much discretion, saying that Senate should review these laws, is geared towards tying their hands in a manner that they would be forced to pass judgement without deciding otherwise.
“Judges have too much discretion. Even governors too have prerogative of mercy where they visit prison yards and set inmates free. ”
In his contribution, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, representing Enugu North Senatorial District called for psychiatric test on perpetrators of child abuse.
The lawmaker added that the school curriculum should also capture sex education from elementary level to higher institutions.
Adopting the motion, Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan upheld the prayers and also upholding the review of all relevant laws that would ensure capital punishment for offenders of child abuse.
Part of the prayers sustained too was the training of the police and other security agents handling rape cases, while they also urged the public to serve as watchdogs against rape.
Jonathan Debunks Rumour Of Planned Defection To APC
The media team of former President Goodluck Jonathan has debunked claims that he(Jonathan) was concluding plans to dump the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Following a reported disagreement between the former President and the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, there are clear indications that the former president, his family and kinsmen backed the candidate of the APC, David Lyon in the just concluded governorship election in the state and also celebrated his victory.
Amidst rising speculations that Jonathan is about to decamp to the ruling party, his media, team, led by Reno Omokri, has refuted the claims, describing the ex-President as a loyal party member.
In a statement signed by Omokri on Tuesday, the ex-aide to the former President on New Media, said “Former President Goodluck Jonathan is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Throughout his sojourn on Earth, he has been a member of only one political party.
“Dr Jonathan is known for his stability and loyalty. These are character traits that have been lifelong companions of his. He is also an elder statesman and that role requires that he accepts all Nigerian citizens, and indeed all the world’s peoples, in the spirit of the brotherhood of man’’.
“As an elder statesman and Chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Dr Jonathan will receive people of goodwill who apply to pay him a courtesy visit, irrespective of their political or religious leanings. Though a Christian, he has received Muslim groups and other diverse visitors.
“Dr Jonathan intends to devote the rest of his life on Earth to building unity, and engendering opportunity for Nigerians and Africans and he has no desire, or reason to engage in partisan politics beyond being a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“His being a member of the Peoples Democratic Party is institutional. In fact, it is more accurate to state that his eternal party is Nigeria, for which he reminds all Nigerians that they are brothers and sisters born from the womb of one Nigeria.”
Lagos Assembly Tasks Sanwo-Olu On Environment
The Lagos State House of Assembly has directed Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to fully enforce relevant environmental laws against indiscriminate dumping of refuse in the state.
The House made the resolution following a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, representing Ikorodu I, on Monday.
The House frowned at a situation where Lagosians dump refuse in drainages and road medians, causing flooding and destruction of roads.
Agunbiade said: “We noted the effort of the state government towards taking the challenges and the campaign against indiscriminate refuse.
“Funds that could have been channelled to other meaningful sectors had been used to clear refuse in the state.
“We also want to urge Lagos residents to desist from dumping refuse across the state to ensure healthier living in the state.
“This is because refuse dumping have always been cleared by the state government and the Private Sector Participation (PSP).
“However, some unscrupulous individuals have continued to dump refuse; so as deterrence, arrest and sanction will be achieved.
“The combined effect of Sections 115 Part 4 and 126 Part 5 of the environmental laws probibits dumping of refuse at indiscrimate places.
He said the House, therefore, made a resolution to call on Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the Commissioner in the Ministry of Environment to enforce relevant sections of the environmental laws in the state.
Agunbiade said the House resolved that offenders be given community service sentence directed at refuse clearing within the locality of the offence.
Mr Bisi Yusuff, representing Alimosho Constituency I, while supporting the motion, said apart from sentencing offenders, they should be made to wear a uniform while performing the community service.
Yusuff said people would not want to dump waste indiscriminately if offenders were meant to wear uniform to perform their community service.
Mr Abiodun Tobun, representing Epe Constituency I, noted that despite government efforts, some people had refused to change their attitude towards complying with the relevant environmental laws in the state.
Tobun noted that laws that allowed community service should be enforced strictly by the governor
“We know what happened during the Buhari/Idiagbon regime when people were afraid to dump refuse indisctimate.
“There is need enforce our relevant laws for offenders,” he said.
Mr Speaker, Mr Mudashiru Obasa, thereby called on the state governor to direct the Ministry of Environment to ensure efficient enforcement of the relevant environmental laws in the state.
Obasa, therefore, asked the Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, to write the governor on the resolution of the House on the issue.
Sex-For-Grades:1,700 Sign Online Petitions To NASS
ANon-Governmental Orgenisation, (NGO), Exam Ethics Marshals International (EEMI), says it has received 1,700 signed online petitions to fast- track the passage of the Sexual Harassment Bill before the National Assembly.
Mr Ike Onyechere, the founder of the organisation, made the disclosure in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.
According to Onyechere, 56 per cent of the petitioners are women, while 44 per cent are men.
“This indicates that men and women are equally concerned about the sex-for-grade pandemic in the tertiary institutions,” he said.
He said that the objective of the NO-TO-SEX-FOR-GRADE Campaign was to get one million people to sign the petition to the National Assembly.
He noted that the first effort to pass the Sexual Harassment in Education Institutions Prohibition Bill started in 2016, but it died with the termination of the 8th Assembly.
“1,700 change agents have signed the online petition to Nigeria’s National Assembly to fast track action on the passage of the sexual harassment in educational institutions prohibition bill as at Monday, November. 18, 2019.
“The petition to fast track the sex-for-grade prohibition legislation, activated on November. 1; EEMI is in continuation of the Exam Ethics Campaign launched in 1996 to promote exam ethics and combat exam malpractice in education in Africa.
“Sex-for-Grade is one of the 33 types of exam malpractices that have been the focus of the campaign,” he said.
According to him, Sex-for-Grade is the practice of male lecturers blackmailing, forcing, intimidating and demanding sex from their female students as condition for awarding them pass marks in their courses.
He explained that the petition had inspired other petitions for the passage of similar sexual harassment prohibition laws in educational institutions in seven other African countries.
According to him, these countries include: Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania, South-Africa, Benin Republic, Egypt and Rwanda.
“In addition to signing the petition, some petitioners are also sharing their experiences.
“Ex-female students have narrated stories of their traumatic experiences in the hands of some of their male lecturers.
“Some female students narrated what they are currently going through. Parents also shared the experiences of their children.
“The story paints the picture of invasion of tertiary institutions by sexual predators masquerading as lecturers,” he said.
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