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Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Monday recommended minimum sentence of 25 years for rapists, saying rape should not be met with light sentencing. Ambode made the recommendation during a symbolic walk against domestic and sexual violence at Alausa.

“It is highly recommended. We need new laws which will respond adequately to the nature and occurrences of this era.“Domestic violence is a crime and should be treated as such. The Protection against Domestic Violence Law, 2007 should, therefore, be amended accordingly,” he said.

Ambode urged the Nigeria Police Force, which was usually the first point of call, to strive to be more professional and ensure proper investigation of reported cases by grooming specialist officers in that regard.

“As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the next best time is now.“

We firmly believe that the actions we take today will be the seeds sown for a brighter future for our women and indeed, our children.“We believe our state can continue to pioneer in this agenda and become a benchmark not just in Nigeria, but globally,” he said.

The governor said that a lot of progress had been made in protecting the rights of women and the girl-child, and against “oppression of the female gender’’, there was still so much to be done.

“We need to ask ourselves the hard question: for this course we honour today, how can we truly ensure we are walking the talk?“In our state, there has been a significant increase in formal and informal reporting of domestic and sexual violence cases, but contrary to what it appears to be, this menace is not a recent development.

“These occurrences have been around for years, but they were seen as norms because nobody spoke out against them, and such acts were overlooked based on misguided definitions of gender roles.

“What we are tackling today is an almost innate culture which relegates women to the background, and forces them to suffer in silence.“In Lagos, we are waging a war against this culture and we will do everything within our power to transform ours to a culture of equality, respect and dignity for all.

“It is a journey of radical transformation, and our government is wholly committed to seeing it through,” he said.

Ambode said that the state’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team had executed various interventions and initiatives as regards fighting sexual and gender-based violence.

“We are not just reactive in helping survivors, but also taking aggressive steps to prevent future occurrences. “Our aim is to build a system of trust and accountability, where survivors are encouraged to speak out and potential perpetrators are discouraged to commit future acts,” he said.

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ASUU Gives Conditions To Suspend Strike

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Thursday gave conditions upon which the prolonged industrial action will be suspended.

“The Academic Staff Union of Universities @ASUUNGR have asked @AsoRock to release N50 billion to demonstrate its commitment to the revitalisation of public universities, in line with previous agreements with the union,” ASUU tweeted.

The union said the N50 billion will form the first share of the N220 billion federal government agreed for the project this year and add to the N20 billion earlier released for the year.

It also disclosed that the union has “submitted its suggestions and awaits a meeting with the government next week.”

The lecturers are demanding improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government, which led to the strike that started November 4, 2018.

Although the minister of labour, Chris Ngige, last Thursday said the government has approved N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears, ASUU said they are still awaiting its payment.

“Government promised to release the shortfall in salaries by January 18th, that’s a day away. Let’s wait and confirm that they’ve released it.”

“The union has submitted its suggestions and awaits a meeting with the government next week,” he added.

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Atiku’s US Trip: So Much Ado About Nothing —– Tunde Ajose

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For good watchers of the Nigerian politics, one thing has come to stay in our political experiment at getting it right in this country and that is the ability for smart politicians to easily sway the electorates with mundane issues.

The campaigns are no longer issue based but media sensationalism.

Latest of such was the sudden appearance of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the United States of America! Then one begins to wonder why the opposition would think such is the needed magic wand to win the election.

And the euphoria may not be unconnected with the report that Atiku was barred from entering the States because of his fraudulent nature but the question is, why would any serious opposition believes such action would immediately translate into winning the Aso Rock.

One would have wondered why Atiku has chosen to travel with the current senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki? Could it be that he actually traveled under the diplomatic immunity of Saraki’s official delegation?

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.

We need to be circumspect as we move forward as a nation and be more discerning. The current government of Nigeria is focused more than before in ensuring that Nigerians, regardless of the class or status has a befitting country they could fall back to and call a home.

It is quite obvious that while the opposition are playing to the gallery, the presidential campaign organisation of president Mohammad Buhari is busy rolling up its sleeves and getting down to fields where the real electorates are and connecting with them.

This past week especially has been full of activities for the president despite his age. Within a spate of two weeks, Buhari had sat down to two interviews in-between journeying from the length and breadth of the country in getting the message of hope down to the people.

The president does not rely on his privilege as an incumbent, but insisted on talking to his people and ensuring that Nigerians are united as they go to polls come February.

No one is in doubt that his message also resonates well with the citizens as they troop out en masse to welcome and listen to what he has to say. With the multitude of crowd recorded today as he presented the gubernatorial flagbearer of the party to the good people of Delta State and the ovation that greeted it, there is no doubt that Buhari is truly loved.

As we count down to the elections, Nigerians need to bear it in mind that the 2019 election is about building on a new foundation which the present government has been able to achieve in the first four years and giving the solid foundation out to the marauders to destroy along with the better forgotten 16years in power.

If Atiku is in the United States today, there is no way the intelligence agencies of the federal government of Nigeria would not know about it.

Tunde Ajose, a political commentator, writes from Lagos.

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Two Church Guards Steal Pastor’s Daughter’s Pants In Ondo

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Two security guards, Samuel Linus and Adekunle Ogundana, who allegedly stole two underwears belonging to the daughter of a clergyman within a church’s premises in Akure metropolis, were yesterday paraded alongside suspected kidnappers by Ondo State Police Command.

Briefing newsmen in Akure, the state Police spokesperson, Femi Joseph, said the daughter of the clergyman washed two of her pants and spread them on the line at about 8p.m. in the presence of the guards and by 6a.m., next day, the panties disappeared.

Joseph said the suspects, who are attached to the orthodox church, were posted to the apartment, which was highly fortified by a private security outfit in the state.

The suspects, however, denied complicity in the offence for which they were paraded.

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