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APC Gives Free Forms to Women Aspirants in Sokoto

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APC gives free forms to women aspirants in Sokoto

Female politicians in Sokoto State now have every reason to join politics as the state chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC) has pledged free nomination forms to all women aspirants in all categories of elective positions.

Alhaji Usman Danmadamin-Isa, the Sokoto State APC Chairman, made the pledge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Sokoto.

The chairman said the move was to encourage the participation of more women in politics and to open up the space for them to exhibit their leadership competence.

Danmadamin-Isa said women have been very supportive in all political activities as such, they must be encouraged to aspire for elective posts.

He dismissed recent allegations that the party was behind divisions in the state PDP as “baseless”, claiming that PDP in Sokoto state “is dead.”

“No single kobo was used to woo members of the opposition or anybody to the APC, they defected because they were convinced and satisfied with the performance of Gov. Aminu Tambuwal.

“That is why the APC is supporting Gov. Tambuwal to contest the governorship election in 2019.”

The chairman reeled out some of the achievements recorded by the APC-led administration in the state to include payment of N2.2 billion scholarship to indigent students, aside sponsoring 200 students on overseas studies.

He added that government had also constructed 34 new schools, renovated 15,000 others, and rehabilitated 250 teachers’ staff quarters in its efforts to revamp the education sector in the state.

The APC chairman said that the administration had also embarked on massive road construction projects across the state.

In a separate interview, Sokoto State PDP Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma, said that the PDP was focused on taking over the state in the 2019 general elections.

Milgoma said that the PDP had initiated measures to ensure unity and understanding among loyalists, adding that no notable party member had defected in spite of losing the state in 2015.

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Nasarawa LGAs Adopt TSA

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The 13 local government councils in Nasarawa State have adopted the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to block leakages and improve internally generated revenue (IGR) across the state.

Nassarawa State Governor - Umaru Al-Makura
Mr Haruna Osegba, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, told newsmen on Thursday in Lafia that the decision was reached at a meeting of the local government Joint Account Committee (JAC).

Osegba said the adoption of the TSA became imperative as a result of the failure of local government revenue officers to properly account for IGR monthly.

“Over the years, whenever the government demands for accountability of the IGR from local government revenue officers, they would always claim nothing is being generated.

“We are aware that all LGAs, especially Karu, are generating a lot of money internally but we do not know where it is going to.

“The new arrangement is that all IGR from all the 13 LGAs would be paid into the TSA from this February,” he added.

Osegba explained that the JAC has engaged Cascada Consulting firm to take over the collection all taxes in the 13 LGAs and remit same into the TSA.

He, therefore, appealed to the chairmen of Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the 13 LGAs and Overseers of the 18 Development Areas to support the firm to improve the IGR of their areas.

Mr Mustapha Lamus of Wamba LGA appealed to the state government to increase the overheads of IMC Chairmen and Overseers from N1 million to N2 million to enable them manage the affairs of the local governments effectively.

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Lagos State Allocates Special Courts For Sexual Offences

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Lagos State Government on Thursday inaugurated four special courts solely for the prosecution of sexual offences and corruption cases.

Lagos state allocates special courts for sexual offences
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two courts will adjudicate on special offences (economic and financial crimes), while the two others will try sexual offences.

The Sexual Offences Court is the first of its kind in Nigeria.

Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was among dignitaries who attended the inauguration.

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, while inaugurating the courts, lauded the Chief Justice of Nigeria for initiating it at the federal level.

He noted that the establishment of the courts would facilitate expeditious hearing and trial of sexual and financial related crimes.

Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Oluranti Adebule, said Lagos was collaborating with the British Council under the Rule of Law Anti-Corruption Programme to provide technical support for the anti-corruption fight.

“The state collaborates with such agencies charged with the investigation and prosecution of corruption offences by providing an enabling environment in terms of responding to inquiries and providing information to anti-graft agencies.

“I am particularly glad about the designation of two courts to handle sexual related offences as it complements our fight against sexual abuse.

“These sexual offences courts will have trained and experienced prosecutors to interact with survivors, provide support and ensure timely prosecution of the cases,” he said.

Ambode, who reeled out statistics of the sexual crimes handled by the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) and Mirabel Centre in Lagos, announced that the state government had awarded a contract for the expansion of the DNA and Forensic Centre.

“Between 2015 and now, the DSVRT and Mirabel Centre have handled over 400 cases of sexual offences while 376 cases are being prosecuted in the various courts.

“With a dedicated court now in place to handle these cases, l am sure that these cases will get the attention they deserve.

“We have awarded the contract for the expansion of the operations of the DNA and Forensic Centre and Chemistry Section.

“This will automatically place Lagos as one of the leading centres for forensics in Africa,” Ambode said.

The wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Oludolapo Osinbajo, in her speech, commended the Lagos State Government for establishing the Sexual Offences Court.

She said: `The statistics quoted by the Chief Justice of Lagos is very frightening, it only speaks of half of the true picture.

“Behind the figures are the faces of the affected women and girls as well as the men and boys.”

Giving examples of real life scenarios of sexual violence, Osinbajo said the victims of such offences should never be ignored.

“We should not ignore the trauma and nightmare that sexual offences bring, let us not forget the girls not only in Nigeria but all over the world.”

In an address of welcome, the Chief Judge of Lagos , Justice Opeyemi Oke, recalled that the journey toward the establishment of the Special Courts started in June 2017 in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“In the speech marking the second anniversary of President Muhammad Buhari’s administration, His Excellency, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo announced plans by the Federal Government to designate specific courts to handle corruption cases.

“He said that the courts would be part of a general judicial reform to make the judiciary more efficient and to facilitate the determination of corruption and financial crime cases.

“Soon thereafter, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen during the conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria to 29 senior lawyers in Abuja in September 2017, announced major reforms in the criminal justice system.

“He said to effectively monitor and enforce the new policy, an Anti-corruption Cases Trial Monitoring Committee will be set up by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria stated that the Committee would among other responsibilities, ensure that both the trial and appellate courts handling corruption and financial cases key into and abide by the renewing effort of ridding our country of the cankerworm,” she said.

Oke said Onnoghen had directed that all Heads of Court should clampdown on lawyers who deploy delay tactics in criminal matters before them and soclicited the help of the public in the anti-corruption war.

She said:“Presently, there are over 500 cases of financial crimes pending before the High Court, the bulk of which have now been assigned to the Special Offences Courts.

“We are enthusiastic about the designation of the new courts as we see the development as a step in the right direction.

“We therefore commend the Hon.Chief Justice of Nigeria’s initiative in this regard.

“In the Lagos State Judiciary, we have commenced a campaign against corruption in our courts and among supporting staff.

“All hands are on deck to see an end to this cankerworm that has eaten deeply into the fabric of our justice delivery system.

“We believe strongly that the special courts shall fast track the trial of these types of cases and encourage the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant bodies to expedite the investigation and prosecution of such cases.”

On sexual offences, the Oke said the Senate had on May 23, 2017, passed a motion to investigate increased cases of rape and sexual assaults across the country.

“They (the Senate) urged the judges and magistrates to revisit courts sentencing people in violent sexual offences to reflect the very serious nature of the crimes.

“In 2014, Lagos State Government recognised the magnitude of the problems in respect of domestic and sexual violence and pioneered the Lagos State DSVRT.

“The DSVRT is to assist victims and survivors in need of financial and emotional support and empowerment.”

Oke, citing an article entitled, “A Five Year Analysis of Police Record on Sexual Related Offences in Lagos State”, by Gbemileke O. Oladipo, gave out statistics of sexual offences in Lagos from 1999 to 2014.

“A total of 691 sexual offences were reported during the period, rape accounted for 40.1 percent of the offences, 44 percent of the crimes were committed at the perpetrators houses.

“Virtually in all, 98.4 percent were female whose ages ranged from four to 56 years, 42 percent of victims were mostly neighbours to the perpetrators.

“Most of the cases (76.6 percent) were withdrawn, 12.8 percent were under investigation while the status of 8.5 percent were unknown since 2004.”

Mrs Funlola Odunlami, the Solicitor-General of Lagos lauded the state government for being the first state to implement the initiative of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

“Lagos leads and other states follow, Governor Ambode is very passionate about issues relating to domestic and sexual violence; he led the walk `Say No to Domestic and Sexual Violence’ and he is passionate about the work of the DSVRT.

“We have to make sure that in Lagos State perpetrators of sexual crimes no longer exists.

“Members of the public can dial #6280*, text ABUSE to 6280 either on MTN or Airtel or call the DSVRT on 0813796004, individuals can dial 112 which is a toll free line.

“Laboratories and Forensic Centers were created to audition victims of sexual violence.

““In the Ministry of Justice, there is a particular department with lawyers which is set aside to handle sexual crimes and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice,” Odunlami said.

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2015 Guber Election Tears Home Apart in Ekiti

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2015 election: Matters arising

A housewife, Folasade Fatunla, on Thursday told an Ado-Ekiti Customary Court that she wants her marriage with her husband Gbenga dissolved after she accused him of battery.

Folashade, 32, who made this known when she testified in her divorce petition, said that her husband stabbed her in the hand with a broken bottle after she went to cast her vote in the 2015 Ekiti governorship election.

She also said that the husband was fond of beating her.

“My husband accused me of leaving the children at home without his knowledge,” she said.

She begged the court to dissolve her 12-year-old marriage to Gbenga for alleged battery, threat to life and lack of care for her and the children.

Folasade, a trader and resident of Igirigiri St. Ado-Ekiti, told the court that she packed out of the respondent’s house a year ago when he attempted to kill her.

She said the respondent did not pay her dowry, adding that their co-habitation as husband and wife for the past 12 years had produced two children.

The petitioner said whenever the respondent was drunk and she queried him for behaving in such manner, the respondent would beat her mercilessly.

Folasade said the respondent often threatened ‎to kill her whenever they had any misunderstanding.

She said the respondent did not care about the feeding, welfare and education of her two children but preferred to leave the house in morning and come home at midnight.

The petitioner urged the court to dissolve the marriage to enable her have peace of mind to enjoy the fruit of her labour.

She requested that the respondent should be paying N10,000 as monthly feeding allowance of the two children and he should also be responsible for their education at all levels.

The President of ‎the court, Mrs Olayinka Akomolede, after hearing the testimony of the petitioner, adjourned the case to Feb. 28, for further hearing.

She ordered the petitioner and the respondent to bring their witnesses on the adjourned date.

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Iranian Women Protest Compulsory Cover-up

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As images of Iranian women holding their hijabs aloft spread on social media, an influential activist said women are symbolically rejecting the wider “interference of religion” in their lives.

Iranian women protest compulsory cover-up
Iranian women protest compulsory cover-up
“We are fighting against the most visible symbol of oppression,” said Masih Alinejad, who hosts the website My Stealthy Freedom where women in Iran post photos of themselves without hijabs.

Under Iran’s Islamic law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair with a scarf, known as a hijab, and wear long, loose-fitting clothes. Violators are publicly admonished, fined or arrested.

“These women are saying, ‘It is enough – it is the 21st century and we want to be our true selves,'” the Iranian activist told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The trend picked up momentum after video and images were posted online of one woman waving a white scarf on a stick in December – a day before demonstrations erupted against economic conditions in eastern Iran, said Alinejad.

Unrest quickly spread across the country and the focus broadened as protesters began calling for Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to step down.

The video went viral as police cracked down, and Alinejad said the woman was arrested. She has since been released, according to a Facebook post by Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

Although the wider anti-government demonstrations have ended, women across Iran are “fed up” and continue to protest against “the interference of religion in our personal lives”, said the activist.

Alinejad said she is now flooded with videos and photos of women imitating the viral video and she shares them on the My Stealthy Freedom Twitter account and Facebook page.

“These people are not fighting against a piece of cloth, they are fighting against the ideology behind compulsory hijab,” said Alinejad, who called the movement the “true face of feminism.”

To campaign against the obligatory wearing of headscarves, Alinejad last year encouraged women to take videos or photos of themselves wearing white and upload them on social media with the hashtag #whitewednesdays.

The #whitewednesdays campaign is part of a larger online movement started three years ago by Alinejad, a journalist who has lived in self-imposed exile since 2009. She has received death threats since her campaigning started.

“I wake up everyday with the voices of these women in my inbox,” said Alinejad from New York where she now lives.

“I am full of hope. Civil disobedience is the first step to gain our victory.”

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