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CP Justifies Dismissal Of Pregnant Policewoman

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The Ekiti State Police Command, yesterday, justified the dismissal of a Police Constable, Miss Olajide Omolola.
It said the police authority had to wield the big stick when it discovered that the unmarried constable got pregnant in alleged flagrant violation of the Police Rules and Regulation.
Omolola, who was attached to the Iye Ekiti Police Station in Ilejemeje area of Ekiti State, was dismissed last week by police authority, for getting pregnant barely a year after graduating from the police academy.
He defended the police decision to dismiss an unmarried policewoman, for getting pregnant out of wedlock less than a year after she joined the force.
Omolola, a corporal, was dismissed from the force last week for breaching Section 127 of the Police Act and Regulation which forbids a woman police from getting pregnant before marriage in the Force.
Section 127 of the Act reads, “An unmarried woman police officer who becomes pregnant shall be discharged from the Force and shall not be re-enlisted except with the approval of the Inspector-General.”
Speaking with newsmen in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, the Police Commissioner, Ekiti Command, Mr Babatunde Mobayo, said Omolola violated Section 127 of the Police Regulation, which carries serious punitive measures against flouters.
Mobayo stated that the rule and regulation unambiguously stated that woman police must undergo post-training experience on the field for, at least, two years before marriage and three years before childbearing.
In his words, “In police organisation, we have rules and regulations, which are being carried out within the ambit of the constitution. The police officers are not even allowed to keep their children that are above 18 years of age in the barracks. Some of these laws were taught in the police colleges before we graduated.
“These laws have been there. Some stipulated the number of years you must spend before you get married. If you are in police college, you are not supposed to get pregnant.
“When you passed out, you still need basic training and for your attention not to be distracted, you must spend a certain minimum of a period before you get married for you to perform efficiently.
“The lady in question passed out May, 2020, which is eight months ago, and now, she is with six months of pregnancy. The Police Act 2020, which is undergoing amendment in the Senate, has not repealed that. She had contravened Section 127 of the Police Regulation.
“Section 126 of the Regulation stated that married woman police who is pregnant may be granted maternity leave, while Section 127 said unmarried woman police who becomes pregnant shall be discharged from the Force and shall not be enlisted except with the approval of the IGP.
“What some people talked about that her fundamental human rights had been trampled upon and that women should not be discriminated against while also saying the law has been repealed were not true. The regulation is still in place”.
Contrary to the widespread belief that the regulation has been expunged, Mobayo maintained the Police Amendment Bill 2019, which was brought and sponsored by Senator Uzenwa Onyebuchi at the Senate has not been passed, saying it has only got to the second reading.
“The amendment being sought has not been done neither had the bill get presidential assent. It has just been referred to the Senate Committee on Police Affairs for further scrutiny.
“Aside from the foregoing, the amended Police Act is different from Police Regulation”, Mobayo clarified.
Speaking further, the police commissioner stated that he had been a commandant in one of the police colleges before becoming a CP, saying he handled several cases akin to this with victims dismissed, having flouted the law, saying this could not have been treated as an exemption.
“I felt for that lady, though I never saw her before. We saw the medical report and we did due diligence on her case.
“We can’t shy away from the oath of office we took, but the IGP can still reverse whatever we do on the field.
“About 300 policewomen were graduated here last year. How would the public feel if they see all of them pregnant in less than a year? It will look ridiculous.
“We are not the drafters of the rules, we met them there. All these disciplinary actions are what made us to be able to control our men.
“No police constable is underaged and they should be able to know what to do not to get pregnant within the time prohibited by regulation”.
Explaining further, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, ASP Sunday Abutu, noted that every organisation has rules guiding their conduct, saying Omolola embarrassed the Force by flouting the Police Act which she agreed to adhere to when taking the job.
Abutu advised residents and stakeholders not to be emotional with her case but join the Force in enforcing the laid down rules and regulations guiding the conduct of officers.
According to him, “It is very much there in the police Act and anyone that is coming in especially a woman when she could get pregnant after some years but in her own case she joined less than a year ago and she got pregnant without a husband. It is against the Police Act.
“People bringing emotions and personal opinion to it should not be the case. In your own establishment, you have your own rules and regulations and no matter how small or big the rule is, nobody should go against it or take it for granted.
“Everyone in the Force knows that you must introduce someone as your husband; that is it. So, getting pregnant without doing this is an embarrassment to the Force. There is nothing too harsh in the punishment.
“Don’t forget she got enlisted into the Force not up to a year and there is no record of traditional, church, police marriage.”
The PPRO, however, revealed that she could still be recalled into the Force by the Inspector General of Police, calling on people to exercise restraint in the matter.
Abutu explained that Nigerians should focus their strengths in the fight against insecurity across the country, adding that she would not be the first to be dismissed from the Force for similar reasons.

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31 States Lack Insurance Cover For Workers

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Thirty-one states in the federation have no insurance cover in place for workers as of March, despite the provision of the requirement in the Pension Reform Act 2014.
Figures obtained from PenCom on ‘Status of implementation of the CPS in states as at March 2021’, last Saturday, showed that only five states, including the Federal Capital Territory, have insurance in place for their workers.
Other compliant states are Lagos, Osun, Ondo and Edo, which also have pension schemes for their workers, according to PenCom.
A former President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele, said it was not appropriate that most states lacked insurance cover for their workers.
Esele stated, “It speaks volumes to the fact that when the private sector has not shown respect for group life insurance, they are actually borrowing a leaf from the state governments.
“Ordinarily, what you should expect is that respect for our laws should be what state governments should be all about, but what they have done now is to show lack of respect for the law and their citizens because, ordinarily, it is in the best interest of not only the workers but also the management, that is, the government.
“It is so that whatever happens, the families of the people working with them are safe. For them not to have done that is sad and discomforting.”
The Director, Centre for Pension Rights Advocacy, Ivor Takor, urged state and local governments to comply fully with the regulations in the CPS.
He expressed worry that most states had yet to comply with the law.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters, Hon Darlington Nwokocha, said the lawmakers were reviewing the insurance laws which would enhance the sector’s performance and assist the implementation of the compulsory insurance laws.
The Director-General, National Pension Commission, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said the commission was engaging states to ensure full compliance with the PRA.
She noted that it had continued to review the implementation of the scheme in the states.
Also, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Sunday Thomas, said the National Insurance Commission was seeking compliance on the compulsory insurance schemes.
Thomas stated that NAICOM had visited some of the state governors to solicit the support for compliance with insurance laws.
Also, PenCom, in a recent circular, ordered employers of labour to comply with the Group Life Insurance Policy as stipulated in the Pension Reform Act 2014.
PenCom also ordered employers to display a copy of the GLIP certificate in a conspicuous place within the premises before the end of July 31, 2021.
It stated this in a circular to all employers and employees titled ‘Re: Compliance with PRA 2014 on Group Life Insurance Policy for employees and display of insurance certificate for 2021’.
The commission said, “In accordance with the provisions of Section 4(5) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, every employer shall maintain a Group Life Insurance Policy in favour of all employees.
“The GLIP should be a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employees. Similarly, Section 5.5 of the revised guidelines on GLIP for employees provides that the employer shall display a copy of the GLIP certificate in a conspicuous place within its premises, for the information of the employees and as evidence of having taken such policy.
“Employers that have not displayed a copy of the GLIP certificate within their premises are advised to do so on or before 31 July, 2021. Failure to provide GLIP is a violation of Section 4(5) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014.”
PenCom disclosed that only 15,418 organisations got its clearance to do the business of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government between January 4 and May 10.
It said the clearance was given to them for having pension accounts and life insurance cover for their employees.
According to the commission, the clearance enables them to do the business of the Federal Government for the 2021 financial year.
PenCom said companies that had no insurance cover for their workers would no longer be allowed to do any government business.

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One In 100 Die By Suicide, WHO Alerts

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The World Health Organisation (WHO), has said, suicide remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide and responsible for one in 100 deaths globally.
In its latest estimates entitled, “Suicide worldwide in 2019”, WHO noted that every year, more people die as a result of suicide than HIV, malaria or breast cancer or war and homicide.
The latest estimates noted that in 2019, more than 700 000 people died by suicide: one in every 100 deaths, prompting the WHO to produce new guidance to help countries improve suicide prevention and care.
The WHO guidance is to help the world reach the target of reducing the suicide rate by 1/3 by 2030.
Speaking on the new estimates, Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the world cannot and must not ignore suicide.
“Each one is a tragedy. Our attention to suicide prevention is even more important now, after many months of living with the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of the risk factors for suicide 6 job loss, financial stress and social isolation still very much present.”
He said the new guidance would provide a clear path for stepping up suicide prevention efforts.
“Among young people aged 15-29, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death after road injury, tuberculosis and interpersonal violence. The rates vary, between countries, regions, and between males and females.”
The report also explained that more than twice as many males die due to suicide as females (12.6 per 100 000 males compared with 5.4 per 100 000 females).
“Suicide rates among men are generally higher in high-income countries (16.5 per 100 000). For females, the highest suicide rates are found in lower-middle-income countries (7.1 per 100 000).
Suicide rates in the WHO African (11.2 per 100 000), European (10.5 per 100 000) and South-East Asia (10.2 per 100 000) regions were higher than the global average (9.0 per 100 000) in 2019. The lowest suicide rate was in the Eastern Mediterranean region (6.4 per 100 000).
Globally, the suicide rate is decreasing; in the Americas, it is going up. Suicide rates fell in the 20 years between 2000 and 2019, with the global rate decreasing by 36 per cent, with decreases ranging from 17 per cent in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to 47 per cent in the European Region and 49 per cent in the Western Pacific.
“But in the Americas Region, rates increased by 17 per cent in the same time period. Although some countries have placed suicide prevention high on their agendas, too many countries remain uncommitted.
“Currently only 38 countries are known to have a national suicide prevention strategy.
“A significant acceleration in the reduction of suicides is needed to meet the SDG target of a one-third reduction in the global suicide rate by 2030.”
However, WHO has released comprehensive guidance for implementing its LIVE LIFE approach to suicide prevention. The four strategies of this approach are: limiting access to the means of suicide, such as highly hazardous pesticides and firearms; educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide; fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents; and early identification, assessment, management and follow-up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviour.
WHO further recommended the banning of the most dangerous pesticides given that pesticide poisoning is estimated to cause 20 per cent of all suicides while national bans of acutely toxic, highly hazardous pesticides have shown to be cost-effective.
Other measures recommended by WHO include restricting access to firearms, reducing the size of medication packages and installing barriers at jump sites.
On responsible reporting by the media, the guide highlighted the role the media plays in relation to suicide.
“Media reports of suicide can lead to a rise in suicide due to imitation (or copycat suicides) – especially if the report is about a celebrity or describes the method of suicide.
“The new guide advises monitoring of the reporting of suicide and suggests that media counteract reports of suicide with stories of successful recovery from mental health challenges or suicidal thoughts. It also recommends working with social media companies to increase their awareness and improve their protocols for identifying and removing harmful content.”
WHO also noted that support for adolescence (10-19 years of age) was a critical period for acquiring socio-emotional skills, particularly since half of the mental health conditions appear before 14 years of age.
“The LIVE LIFE guidance encourages actions including mental health promotion and anti-bullying programmes, links to support services and clear protocols for people working in schools and universities when a suicide risk is identified.
“Early identification, assessment, management and follow-up apply to people who have attempted suicide or are perceived to be at risk. A previous suicide attempt is one of the most important risk factors for future suicide.
“Health-care workers should be trained in early identification, assessment, management and follow-up.
“Survivors’ groups of people bereaved by suicide can complement the support provided by health services. Crisis services should also be available to provide immediate support to individuals in acute distress.
The new guidance, which includes examples of suicide prevention interventions that have been implemented across the world, in countries such as Australia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Iraq, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and the USA can be used by anyone who is interested in implementing suicide prevention activities, whether at the national or local level and in the governmental and non-governmental sectors alike.
On his part, suicide prevention expert at the World Health Organisation, Alexandra Fleischmann said, “While a comprehensive national suicide prevention strategy should be the ultimate goal for all governments, starting suicide prevention with LIVE LIFE interventions can save lives and prevent the heartbreak that follows for those left behind.”

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Wike, Others Grace Prof Antonia Omehia’s Thanksgiving

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and other eminent personalities were among personalities that graced the thanksgiving ceremony in honour of Professor Antonia Celestine Omehia, yesterday.
The thanksgiving organised by former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia was to mark the conferment of his wife, Professor Antonia with the rank of Professor of Library and Information Science by Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rumuolumeni.
Professor Antonia Omehia is a lecturer in the Library and Information Science Department of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rivers State.
Governor Wike, his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Austin Opara, former Presidents, Nigeria Bar Association ( NBA) Onueze C.J Okocha (SAN), and Okey Wali (SAN) were among other dignitaries who attended the thanksgiving ceremony at Omehia’s residence in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Former Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia said his family decided to organise the thanksgiving to honour God for his wife’s unparalleled academic excellence and passion for scholarly research.
He acknowledged that it is not an easy feat to attain the rank of an academic professor. According to him, his family will remain eternally grateful to God for granting his wife the grace of academic excellence.
Former NBA President, Okocha, who spoke on behalf of Rivers’ elders, said Professor Antonia Omehia has indisputably distinguished herself in academics, because professors are scholars that are experts in their fields and teachers of the highest rank in the university.
He heaped praises on Sir Omehia for allowing his wife to soar in her academic pursuit, because most men often feel intimidated when their wives excel in life.
The legal luminary said when women excel in academics, they should be celebrated.
He commended Professor Antonia Omehia for making her husband and children proud by virtue of her unquestionable commitment to academic excellence.
”We are proud of you for honouring our brother.”
Eminent personalities that also attended the thanksgiving included: Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Anabraba, former Minister of Transportation, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, Senator (Dr) Bennett Birabi, Davies Ikanya among several others.

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