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Nigeria Senate Seeks Death Penalty For Rapists, Paedophiles

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The application of death penalty to rapists would go a long way to serve as a deterrent to the menace, the Senate said yesterday after expressing concern over the rising wave of rape and defilement of minors in the country.

Besides resolving on death penalty for offenders, the lawmakers underscored the necessity to review relevant laws as well as open registers for rape offenders across the land.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on increasing cases of rape, sponsored by Senator Rose Oko, the Cross River North senator, who asked the Red Chamber to take the lead by reviewing existing laws to discourage the trend.

Senator Oko called attention to several alleged rape cases, including the one allegedly by the Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo.

The worrisome trend of rape cases, she argued, has become a national problem that should worry the Senate.

Senator George Thompson Sekibo noted that prescribing death penalty for offenders, would not only serve as deterrent but ensure justice.

Sekibo encouraged parents to report rape cases as soon as they occur to enable relevant security agencies take the appropriate steps to apprehend the culprits.

He said: “When an abuse of such a situation takes place, let the parents report the issue to the police or you come to the Senate. I learnt that when a rape case takes place, the private part should not be washed. They should go to the hospital and take the sample.

“To abuse a child of six months is evil. No religion will take it. We should make it a death penalty. By the time you kill two people, people would have learnt and they will stop it.”

Senator Dino Melaye agreed that drastic measures should be taken against rapists.

The Kogi West Senator noted that the application of a stiffer penalty would stop the act.

Melaye said: “This issue is not only satanic, it is also wicked. This is one of the satanic manifestations in the country. If we don’t propose stiffer punishment, people will continue to get away with it.

“When you report a case to the police, they treat it as if it is ordinary. Lecturers carry out sex for marks. I want to encourage the sponsor of this motion to go ahead and come up with amendments to deal with this barbaric act.

“There are now cases of male adults defiling small boys. These things must be cured and the Senate must take the lead in ensuring that this doesn’t continue in this country.”

Senator Oluremi Tinubu backed the death penalty proposal.

The Lagos Central lawmaker, who was alarmed about increasing rate of the defilement of minors, urged parents to take steps to educate their children on sexual awareness.

She said: “The issue is very controversial and scary. As a mother, if our children were the ones violated, we know what would have happened. If we look at the society at large, we have not done anything.

“Children are the most vulnerable group. Whoever is involved in acts like these should face death. I think rape of a minor deserves a death sentence. This is what we need to do to stop this madness.

“Most of these acts are done by people close to these minors. This is time we stepped in as a Senate and protect this country.

“Parents too should be given the orientation too on now to raise their children. Poverty is a major cause of this and we need to educate the parents to reduce this.”

Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi urged relevant agencies to establish a register for offenders.

The Niger North Senator said opening a register for sex offenders would go a long way to discourage the act.

He said: “When these offences are committed, what happens? The lack of stiffer punishment is a major issue we must look at. From the cited examples, we must make progress. It is time for us to look at our laws and put sex or rape offenders on a register anywhere in the country.

“The psychological effects can’t be understood. Some adults behaving in certain manners are victims of these acts when they were minors.”

Deputy Senate President Senator Ovie Omo-Agege prayed the Senate to look at sentencing guidelines.

Omo-Agege said: “The challenges articulated are very apt. We have enough laws to deal with the issues. The area we should look at is sentencing guidelines. There should be a minimum sentencing timeline, it will help.

“We need to look at the status regulating the prerogative of mercy. We have governors and state chief judges setting free prisoners. I believe we should focus on these areas. We should have the sex offenders register.”

The lawmakers agreed that urgent steps should be taken to save the country from rapists.

They agreed that the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Police and other related committees, when constituted, would push for the implementation of extant laws on rape of women and defilement of minors.

The Senate urged the police to deal decisively with all cases of sexual abuse as a way to stem the tide, expressing shock that only 26 out of the 36 states have so far domesticated the Child Rights Act.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan noted that the chamber would take the right steps and ensure that relevant laws were passed to discourage the dehumanizing act.

“People have taken advantage of minors, even adults. We should not tolerate this. We need to review our laws. We need to pass laws that will discourage people from committing crimes like this one.”

BIG STORY

Squeeze Old Political Leaders Out Of Office, Obasanjo Tells Nigerian Youths

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the youths to make conscious efforts in taking over political power from the older generation.

Obasanjo made the call on Wednesday while delivering a keynote address at an interactive session held virtually to mark the 2020 International Youth Day.

He asked the youth to take over leadership positions by “squeezing older generation out of office”, adding that the leaders would not vacate their offices except they are forced out.

He further enjoined the youth to demand affirmative action with “positive discrimination in favour of youth” enshrined in the constitution of political parties.

According to him, it is easier to influence changes at the party level.

“Unless you squeeze out those who are in the office and those who want to remain in office perpetually, some after the age of 80. Unless you squeeze them out they will not want to be out,” Obasanjo said.

“The type of change I am talking about, that I believe we can all embark upon is to subscribe into the constitution of political parties in favour of youth. Or if you like it you call it affirmative action in favour of youths. For instance, if you say, in the constitution of a political party, not less than 50 per cent of those who hold executive office within the party will be less than 40 years of age.

“You’re just making sure that people that are 40 years of age will hold 50 per cent of executive offices within the political party. “You can even go beyond that and say that people who will be put up for election, not less than 50 per cent of them, will be less than 40 years of age. That’s affirmative action. That’s positive discrimination in favour of youths.

“I am saying this because if you leave it entirely for people to do it for you, nobody will do it for you. You have to do it for yourself.”

The session was organised by the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), and attended by participants from Nigeria, Mali, USA, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.




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Petrol Supply Disruption Imminent As PENGASSAN Begins 3-Day Warning Strike

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Members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and some of its agencies on Wednesday began a three-day warning strike that could disrupt petrol supply across the country.

It was gathered that the senior workers downed tools at the Abuja headquarters of the FMPR in protest against the non-payment of their salaries for the past three months.

It was also learnt that the strike was embarked upon by PENGASSAN to kick against the Federal Government’s inclusion of its members in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.

It was reported on June 22 that Nigeria could face petrol scarcity if oil workers made good the threat of withdrawing their services nationwide should the Federal Government insist on registering employees in the oil sector on IPPIS.

PENGASSAN and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers had made the threat in a letter addressed to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

Following the seeming silence of government over the matter, PENGASSAN’s National Public Relations Officer, who doubles as the Rivers State Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, Fortune Obi, told our correspondent on Wednesday that the industrial action had commenced.

The striking senior staff, who staged a protest in Abuja, displayed various placards with inscriptions such as “IPPIS is a pandemic worse than COVID-19; the President should act fast,” “IPPIS office respect your agreement and come for negotiations,” among others.

Obi said, “PENGASSAN members working for government agencies under the supervision of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources are embarking on a three-day warning strike.

“The strike is for the lack of payment for the past three months, plus due to the inclusion of workers in the IPPIS. The strike started (Wednesday) this morning.”

He further outlined the agencies where members of PENGASAN had downed tools to include the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Petroleum Training Institute, and Department of Petroleum Resources.

Officials of the FMPR said they were aware of the protest and the three-day warning strike but declined to comment on what the ministry was doing to address the situation.

The spokesperson of the ministry, Eneffaa Bob-Manuel, said she was relatively new at the FMPR and knew little about the matter.

The Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Garba-Deen Mohammed, said he could not speak on the matter when contacted.

He promised to revert to our correspondent but had yet to up till the time of filing this report.

PENGASSAN and NUPENG had kicked against plans by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to register oil workers on the IPPIS platform.




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Nigerian Govt To Reciprocate Any Visa Ban, Travel Restrictions By US, Other Countries — Immigration CG

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Muhammad Babandede, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service ( NIS), says the government will reciprocate travel bans and restrictions on Nigeria by any country.

Babandede was reacting to the inclusion of Nigeria by the US to its list of countries with visa restrictions.

In February, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled a new visa policy for the country which provides for three categories of visas: short visit, temporary, and permanent residence and 79 visa types.

Babandede told TheSignature50 magazine that the new visa policy is reciprocal in nature, adding that like the US, Nigeria has the right to dictate who it allows in or restricts entry from.

“I can tell you that US is a country, it is a nation like Nigeria. They have the right to restrict who will enter their territory or not just like we can restrict US citizen or whomsoever from entering Nigeria,” Babandede said.

“So they have the right, but I want people to know that Visa restriction is not a Visa ban, it is a ban for people who want to take residency not people who want to go for short visits.

“You are aware that President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR just launched a new visa policy for Nigeria, the visa policy has 79 classes of visa. So, we will be in a position to say to countries, if you allow us for short visits we will allow you for short visits and if you stop us from other visits, we do the same, because the new visa policy is based on reciprocity.

“So, we will test this for a year and see those who reciprocate and we take actions for those who do otherwise.”

Speaking on his management of the agency, Babandede said he has been able to execute projects with transparency.

He said when he assumed office, he made it a duty to inaugurate two new command buildings so that the agency could act independently without any interference.

“When I came on board, I was really ashamed to find Immigration office, especially commands been kept in federal secretariat, we are law enforcement agency, we ought not to be in a Federal Secretariat. So i made a commitment to myself that every year, I want to commission two new buildings – commands,” he said.

“And we have developed a model for each command. I am glad to say that 2017, we did two – Kano and Jigawa, 2018 we did two – Plateau and Abia, and 2019 we did three – we commissioned Adamawa, Zamfara and Uyo.

“This year 2020, God’s willing we will commission around five or eight, depending on the availability of fund.”




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