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There Is Life After Rape – Banigo

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Have you ever been sexually abused, how does it feel like? Come to think of it, when it is someone close to you that is the culprit, you may have not only felt humiliated, but dehumanised and probably felt the world should collapse on you. 
The heaviness of this vicious element upon its victims, is the reason they choose to remain silent. No! You probably do not understand the plight of these ones.
Survivors of sexual violence who decide to speak out publicly go through inexplicable emotional trauma. Often times, they feel a sense of abandonment by friends and family who have difficulty accepting their stories.
 It is particularly difficult for survivors of incest or individuals who are accusing a respected member of the community. In an abusive family, the survivor who seeks help is often denounced by the rest of the family.
 Family members sometimes resent the fact that the survivor went public with their secret or exposed the problem. She even risks being accused  of ruining the family or lying to get attention. Thus, the feeling of abandonment or ostracism. If this has happened to you, realise that you are not alone. You deserve to heal from your trauma. 
Remember, the Sexual Violence Survivor’s Bill of Rights states that no one has the right to abuse you or anyone else.  No one deserves to be assaulted or abused. You have a right to stop the abuse that is happening to you or anyone else. You have a right to pursue healing and justice for the abuse that has happened. Sexual violence is wrong. The abuser is wrong.People who protect the abuser are wrong. You are not to blame You did not destroy the family or betray their trust by speaking out about your abuse. The perpetrator destroyed the trust of the family every time he/she committed an act of abuse.
In line with this,  Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr.  Ipalibo  Banigo has called on the survivors of sexual abuse to  speak up for the perpetrators of the heinous crime to be punished.
Dr. Banigo, reiterated this during a sensitisation campaign on the theme, “Dealing with Mental Health and Sexual Abuse in Unity Schools”,  organised by the Support  the Girl – Child Initiative Programme of her Office at the Federal Government College in Port Harcourt.
  Dr. Banigo, who through her Senior Special Assistant, Barr. Inegogo Fubara, said the programme was put together because of the importance she attaches to the  mental and psychological health of the young people,  urged  students to  speak out whenever they face any form of abuse.
“I want you to understand that the fact that you have been sexually abused is not the end of life, there is life after rape, and there is life after sexual abuse. Do not keep quiet about it, even if it was done at home or in school please speak up.”  Dr Banigo quipped.
According to the Deputy Governor, “rape is a criminal offence that is punishable, and the punishment for rape is life imprisonment”. She said even children could be jailed for rape, adding that for a child the punishment could be 14years in imprisonment.
Dr. Banigo said in 2018, the Protect the Girl Child Initiative, organized its first Mental and Sexual Abuse Seminar at the Federal Government Girls College Abuloma, where links about sexual violence and how to stop it and ensure that the voices of survivors were heard was set up.
According to her, “at the seminar in Abuloma, a female student who had been violated repeatedly, since she was eight years old, came out, and the Protect the Girl Child Initiative, in the Office of the Deputy Governor was able to take her out of the environment, provided a safe home for her and ensured that the perpetrator was reported to the police, today she is in her 200 levels in the University”.
She added that, a similar programme for about one thousand three hundred students was held at Holy Rosary College in 2018, where for the first time many students understood what it means to be sexually abused, and realised that it was not the end of the world.
Sexual assault is a life-altering event. Many survivors are affected by the trauma for the rest of their lives. They may suffer from depression, low self-esteem, flashbacks, fear, and difficulty with intimacy. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are compounded by silence and secrecy.
Often, survivors of sexual assault do not speak out about their experiences because they are ashamed, feel guilty, or blame themselves. Some survivors keep silent out of a sense of duty to family or fear of being ostracised for what happened to them. 
During your victimization, (Rosenbloom & Williams, 1999) opined, you may have learned to not express your feelings. To express them may have increased your risk of being harmed. You may also have learned that saying “no” did not work to protect you. In such circumstances, silence may have been the only choice that made sense 
As a way of regaining their power from an event that robbed them of control, some survivors find talking about their assault an essential part of the recovery process. Others would want to disclose their experiences to a few close friends and/or family members to end the loneliness or break the family silence. A few  may also want to speak out publicly in an attempt to empower themselves and educate others about sexual violence.
Whether you are speaking to a group of one or one hundred, it takes an enormous amount of courage to tell your story. Telling can be transformative. It can help you move through the shame and secrecy that keeps you isolated. It can open doors to understanding and support. Telling is one way you can become a model for other survivors. 
It can be empowering to speak out against someone else’s crime. Speaking out can lift the burden of silence. Speaking out publicly is not right for everyone. No one should be pressured to tell their story. Survivors are heroes whether they speak out or not. Speaking out can mean many things – it can mean putting your story on paper for yourself in a journal entry, telling one trusted person, speaking at a national conference of advocates, or testifying on legislation at your state’s legislature.
There are many different levels of telling. Telling a counselor, a friend, a family member, telling publicly, telling in writing will all feel different. You may tell with detachment, anger, sadness, or occasionally, even humor (Bass & Davis, 1988). 
In any case, you may need to consider the following before going public. What motivates you to go public? What do you hope to gain? What could you lose? Can you achieve your goals through another means?  Is someone or something internally/externally pressuring you to disclose your abuse history? Who and/or what is pressuring you? Are you going to use your real name or a pseudonym?  Will you wear a disguise of some sort?  Will you be paid? If so, how much? Will the perpetrator be in the audience? Will your perpetrator’s friends or loved ones be there? Is there a chance that others will exploit you or your story? Are there safeguards available to protect against exploitation?  Will speaking out publicly hurt you in your present or future career, social life, or family life (including your spouse and children)? Are you willing to take that risk? Have you thought about safety issues? What are they for you? Would telling sever ties to your family that you would like to preserve?
You may also ask yourself if you could  live with the possibility of being excluded from family gatherings (i.e. holidays, weddings, funerals)? How would you deal with the loss? Would telling sever ties to friends with whom you would like to stay connected? How would you deal with the loss? What if responses from people are hostile? Are there ways to get grounded as a way to protect against victim-blaming comments and reactions from others?
 How might you cope if everyone around you denies your experiences and refuses to believe you. How would the anger you might face from others impact you? What if your audience had no reaction? How would that feel? How would you process and manage your own anger and/or other feelings? What support system is available to you before, during, and after the event? Are friends, family, coworkers, community members, advocates/counselors or members from communities of faith available? Which support people agreed to be available before, during, and after the disclosure? Can you realistically imagine both the worst and best outcomes that might result? Could you live with either one?

By: Sylvia ThanksGod-Amadi

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City Crime

Keep Your Records Straight, Fubara Tells Newly Sworn-In Commissioners

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has charged eight newly sworn-in Commissioners to cultivate the culture of keeping accurate records of their dealings in their various Ministries of posting.
The Governor maintained that such culture was essential for the effective functioning of any organised system, particularly the civil service because they provide useful history of events, decisions and actions, including indices of productivity.
Governor Fubara gave the charge to the eight new commissioners shortly after they were sworn in at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House in Port Harcourt yesterday night.
The eight commissioners include: Hon Prince Charles Bekee; Barrister Collins Onunwo; Hon Prince Solomon Abel Eke; Dr Peter Medee; Hon Elloka Tasie Amadi; Hon Basoene Joshua Benibo; Mr Tambari Sydney Gbara; and Dr Ovy Orluideye Chinendum Chukwuma.
The Governor said it was regrettable how some commissioners, who had left the administration, ignored the culture of proper documentation because they had no record of activities in the Ministries that they served.
He said, “I know what I am saying. Some of them who left here as commissioners, there are no records in their Ministries. We’ve had a few meetings with people. We were looking for records which we could not find, but that is for them and their gods, I am not bothered about that.
“But, you that are coming in now, please, do this work as seasoned administrators. Work with your Permanent Secretaries, the things that you don’t know, ask questions from them, they will tell you, they will teach you too. It doesn’t reduce you as not being the head. But it helps you to succeed as a good administrator,” he said.
Governor Fubara enjoined them to emulate his work culture and pay attention to details, adding that it should reflect in the nature of records they keep.
The Governor said discipline is central to his administration, a work culture that has been nurtured while growing through the ranks in the civil service, saying that it must be the hallmark of anybody who is associated with his government.
He said, “Let me say this: this government is a government that is birthed by high level discipline.
“I don’t know about other people that are working with me, but as a person, from the time that I started working as civil servant, from the time I worked in the Office of the Accountant General with my boss, we didn’t play with keeping good records.
“I can boldly stand here to say that whatever that transpired, the records are there right from the time we worked from 2007 to date. They are there for anybody to go and see.
“Likewise, what happened from the time of the immediate past administration. I carefully kept my records clean. The records are there.
“So, I want you to understand that, while I am sitting here to pilot the affairs of this State, as a matter of fact, the records I am keeping are even more excellent because I have a day-to-day report of what I am doing.”
Governor Fubara further said: “So, I am not bothered or afraid. Call me any day, call me anytime, I will stand and defend every action, every decision that we have taken.
“So, I want you to stand on that premise, knowing fully well that whatever you are doing, in case you are called upon tomorrow to give account, you can do so confidently. Keep your records straight,” he added.
Governor Fubara stated that they have taken their oath of service and the content was sufficient charge to guide their conduct while they serve the State.
He urged them to appreciate the fact that it is God that had given them the opportunity to be chosen and so appointed, and therefore, should know that they owe God the responsibility to deliver to Rivers people.
According to him, “The oath you took is the charge. I am not asking you to be obedient to me. I am not asking you to do my biddings. But, I am requesting from everyone of you here to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the dignity of our dear State.
“Your position as a Commissioner today is not just for you to answer to me. It is to work for the interest of our State.
“But, I know that with what I have heard, with the few of you that I have related with, I know that you are men of integrity.
“You are not going to bring shame to our dear State, you are not going to bring shame to your families, you are not going to bring shame to your local governments. You will stand tall, no matter the situation,” he said.
Governor Fubara expressed the belief that as they are coming on board, they will add impetus to what has been done by his administration, urging them to ensure that greater success is achieved, while defending the interest of the State and what is right always.

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City Crime

Monarch Recommits To Peace, Security Of Ekpeye Land

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 Eze Ekpeye Logbo III, His Imperial Majesty, Eze Kelvin Ngozi Anugwo, has reiterated his commitment to peace, security and development of Ekpeye land.
Eze Anugwo stated this last Saturday, during the 2nd anniversary of his coronation, in his palace at Ula – Upata Community, in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State.
 Anugwo who recalled  the painful incident that led to the detention of all the first class traditional rulers in Ekpeye land, appealed to Police authorities not to arrest any other traditional ruler.
Eze Ekpeye Logbo III called for a minute silence in honor the  slain Divisional Police Officer, SP Bako Angbashim and prayed  that the ghost of Bako should continue to haunt those responsible for his death.
He also hinted how he scaled through the keenly contested election of Eze Ekpeye Logbo held in 2022, at Ahoada, the administrative headquarters of Ekpeye Kingdom and thanked his guests for honouring him.
In their separate solidarity speeches, Ada Ekpeye Logbo, Dr. Patricia Wudhiga Ogbonnaya; the President- General of Uzugbani Ekpeye, Dr. Michael Ukechukwu Nyemenim; His Royal Highness, Eze Macauley Esonwo among other speakers extolled the virtues of the celebrant.
While pledging their unalloyed support to the administration of Eze Ekpeye Logbo III, they equally charged him to be stronger.
High points of the occasion include visitation of the ancestral home of Ekpeye people Ula-Ubie Community in Ahoada West Local Government Area, where the King was crowned;  thanksgiving service at the First African Church Ula-Upata and presentation of assorted drinks by the people of Igbu Orlukowor clan.
Recall that Anugwo, a business mogul, who beat three other contenders to emerge as the Eze Ekpeye Logbo III, in an election conducted on April 9, 2022 and was crowned on May 4, 2022  following the demise of His Imperial Majesty, Eze (Flt. Leut.) Robinson O. Robinson (rtd.).
The Tide learnt that Eze Anugwo, until his emergence as the Eze Ekpeye Logbo III, was occupying other traditional offices such as the Nye-Udu (King) Ede I, Agida Ekpeye II, and a member of corporate and professional bodies.
Present at the colourful occasion include the  Rivers State Commissioner for Housing, Dr. Gift Worlu, who represented Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara; His Majesty, Eze (Hon.) Cassidy O.W Ikebhidhi, Eze Igbu Akoh II; His Majesty, Eze Chinemerem Idoke, regent of Igbu Ehuda;  High Chief (Prof.) Kingsley Beke Kalagbor; High Chief Peter Wobeareri Wagbara, (Nye Weli Elele); ACP Cecy Brown, Ahoada Area Commander; among other dignitaries.
 Agimo, Emenike Benson
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City Crime

Delta Attorney-General Laments Hike In Human Trafficking

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Delta State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ekemejero Ohwovoriole (SAN) has lamented the increasing rate of human trafficking, especially the girl child in the state.
Ohwovoriole decried the increase in his office in Asaba when the zonal commander of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mr Nduka Nwawenne paid him a courtesy visit.
The Attorney-General stated that it was against the dignity of the state and disheartening to see that Delta State now ranked first in human trafficking, overtaking Edo State.
He stressed the need for stakeholders to tackle the menace, adding that if it was one single victim that was rescued, they would be rewarded for their efforts.
Ohwovoriole stated that young girls were the most vulnerable ones in the issue of human trafficking, stressing that children from poor family backgrounds also fall victim to human trafficking.
While saying that their request for an office space in the state would be looked into, to see how the government could be of assistance to them, he assured them of his ministry’s partnership in the fight against human trafficking.
He said that the Task Force on human trafficking and irregular migration, which he chairs, should be having regular meetings.
Earlier, the Zonal Commander of Naptip, Mr. Nwawenne informed the commissioner that Delta state had overtaken Edo state as the foremost state in human trafficking in nigeria.
He told the Attorney-General that their Zonal Command was the first to be established in Nigeria because of the prevailing issues of human trafficking in the area, noting that ika south was the highest in cases of human trafficking as a result of its proximity with edo state.
Nwawenne appealed to the Commissioner and the State Government to provide office accommodation for their officials to operate in Asaba.

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