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Alleged Gang rape: Court denies Babcock University student bail

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Nigeria News

A Babcock University student, James Aguedo has been denied bail by  Justice Abiola Soladoye of an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court.

Nigeria News

The student of Babcock University, James Aguedo, accused of involvement in gang-rape of a student of the University of Lagos (Unilag) was reportedly denied bail when bail applications were made.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Soladoye in a ruling on Thursday said Mr Aguedo, 20, did not provide compelling circumstances as to why the court should grant him bail.

“The essence of bail is to ensure the defendant’s attendance at trial. In deciding an application for bail, certain factors must be taken into consideration such as the nature of the charge and the evidence adduced.

“Grant of bail of a defendant in a criminal offence is not automatic, it is at the discretion of the court.

“I am, therefore, of the view that the application before the court has not shown any compelling or exceptional circumstances to warrant the court exercising its discretion in favour of the applicant.

“The application for bail is hereby refused, and the court shall give this case accelerated trial; I so hold,” the judge said.

NAN reports that Mr Aguedo’s counsel, Lawal Pedro, had on March 25 prayed the court to grant him bail to enable him to write an examination at the Babcock University in April.

He also submitted that the undergraduate suffered from ill-health and needed constant medical attention.

“He has a recurring back ailment. We brought not just a medical report but the history because he has been attending an orthopaedic hospital.

“The prison facility is not conducive for him,” the SAN said.

Mr Pedro had attached Mr Aguedo’s school identity card and admission letter to the bail application dated March 13.

Also attached were a National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Yaba, Lagos, appointment card, history of medical examination and a St Dominic’s Catholic Church’s letter of recommendation.

NAN reports that the student is standing trial alongside Moboluwaji Omowole, 19, Chuka Chukwu, 19, Peace Nwankama, 19 and Osemeka Josephine, 20.

The defendants were charged with serial gang-rape of a Unilag student (name withheld).

According to prosecution counsel, Fehinti Ogbemudia, the defendants committed the gang rape sometime in 2017 within the premises of Unilag.

The alleged victim had on February 26 testified that she was lured by Nwankama who was her roommate to High Rise, a staff quarters hostel, in Unilag.

She said she was gang-raped at High Rise by eight students, and that the sexual assault was video-taped.

According to the alleged victim, she was also blackmailed with the video and further gang-raped on other occasions by the defendants and their accomplices who are now at large.

The five defendants have been remanded in the Kirikiri Prisons since February 26, when they were arraigned.

The case has been adjourned until May 2 for continuation of trial.

(NAN)

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Photos from South Africa’s President, Ramaphosa’s inauguration

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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has been sworn into office on Saturday in Pretoria, and vowed to bring about “hope and renewal”.

The African National Congress (ANC) leader vowed to tackle corruption and rejuvenate the struggling economy.

He was elected earlier this month with a majority of 57.5%, the smallest since the party came to power 25 years ago.

Mr Ramaphosa initially took over from Jacob Zuma in 2018 after Mr Zuma was accused of corruption.

Mr Ramaphosa is the country’s fifth democratically elected president since apartheid ended in 1994.

Credit: BBC

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Kenya’s High Court Upholds Ban on Gay Sex

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In a blow to the LGBTQI movement in Africa, Kenya’s High Court ruled Friday that a colonial-era law banning same-sex relations should remain in place.

Same-sex relations have been banned since the British colonized Kenya in the late 19th century. Kenya’s penal code criminalizes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature.” Anyone found engaging in same-sex relationships could face up to 14 years in prison.

In declining to decriminalize same-sex relations, the Kenya High Court said there was not enough evidence of discrimination against the LGBTQI community and therefore it upheld the ban.

LGBTQI campaigners in the country have been fighting to have the law struck out but have faced a long wait after several postponements by the courts since the case was first brought in 2016 to repeal sections of the Kenyan penal code.

The decision was not unexpected.

Before the ruling, Waruguru Gaitho, a human rights lawyer at the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), had said: “We are prepared for it to be a protracted struggle. We are well aware that the court process is very long and we are well aware that this is a heavily contested issue. Allows multiple appeals. So we will continue to make our case for equality. ”

Thirty-eight out of 55 African countries have enacted laws that make it illegal to be gay. In Somalia and South Sudan it is punishable by death. In Nigeria, it carries a 14-year prison term, and 30 years in Tanzania.

Despite this, activists on the continent are recording small wins.

In several African countries, such as Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon, the courts have ruled positively in favor of LGBTQI people, and more cases are planned or are currently being reviewed.

Angola’s parliament adopted a new penal code on January 23 for the first time since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975. That paved the way for lawmakers to remove the provision characterizing same-sex relationships as “vices against nature,” according to Human Rights Watch.

“In casting aside this archaic and insidious relic of the colonial past, Angola has eschewed discrimination and embraced equality,” the agency said.

Neighboring Mozambique removed anti-gay laws in 2015, while São Tomé and Cape Verde have also abolished laws criminalizing gay relationships.

And in Botswana, for the first time in the country’s history, a transgender man was legally recognized as male.

After a lengthy 10-year battle, the High Court demanded the government change the gender on his identity card from female to male.

The court stated that the Botswana’s Registrar of National Registration had violated the man’s basic human rights. A few months later, another landmark case in Botswana saw the gender of a transgender woman legally recognized.

While Kenya is still largely a deeply conservative and religious society, its courts has shown some independence in recent years regarding LGBTQI matters.

Last year, an appeals court in Mombasa ruled that forced anal exams on people who are suspected of same-sex activity are unconstitutional,following the arrest and forced anal exams of two men in 2015. The decision reversed a 2016 court ruling.

Later that year, a Kenyan court temporarily lifted a ban on the controversial film “Rafiki,” which told the story of a romantic lesbian relationship.

The ban was imposed by the Kenya Film Classification Board, which said the film was “restricted due to its homosexual theme and clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya, contrary to the law.”

In allowing the film to be screened to willing adults, the judge said that Kenya is not a weak society whose morals would be weakened by watching a gay-themed movie.

But Kenyan society has not been as eager to embrace same-sex relationships.

“Life in Kenya as an LGBTQ person is most often lived in the closet, and when one comes out then the reality is often facing discrimination, violence, marginalization, and sometimes there are even more severe incidents, such as loss of life,” Gaitho said.

Phelix Kasanda says he endures harassment from landlords who constantly evict him and faces discrimination at public health care facilities and even physical assaults.

Kasanda says he chooses not to seek help from police, as it could mean arrest, possible prosecution and up to 14 years in prison.

“If government doesn’t protect you then everybody will turn against you,” Kasanda said. “Because they know that there is nowhere you are going to take them. You can’t report them anywhere. I cannot go to a police station to say I am being harassed because of my sexuality.”

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last year, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said LGBTQ rights was “of no major importance” to Kenyans.

“It is not human rights issue as you would want to put it, this is an issue of of society; our own culture as a people irregardless of which community you come from,” he said. “This is not acceptable, this is not agreeable…”

“It is not a question of the government accepting or not accepting,” he told Amanpour.

Religion is a driving factor behind the lack of acceptance.

Reverend Tom Otieno of the Lavington United Church is adamant that same-sex relationships will not be accepted in the country.

“We are not about to accept homosexuality and we will not accept it. even if the courts try to tinker with it, we will go back to court,” he said.

“This idea, this push is certainly alien to this country. I will not deny that they have convinced certain Kenyans of the persuasion that that is what they want. Those Kenyans are free to feel that way, but they are not at liberty to impose that on us.”

 

CNN

 

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Caleb University: Police shoot two protesting Students

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Two students of Caleb University, Imota in Ikorodu, Lagos state, who were among many others protesting some new set of rules in the school have been reportedly shot by men of the police force engaged to bring peace in the school.

The students were protesting a section of the school rules, which prohibited any student, especially male and female students, from being outside their hostels after 7pm, when some of the policemen shot at them, with others sustaining injuries.

The students took to protest after two final year students allegedly flouted the University’s new rule.

According to claims by the students on social media, the rules stipulated that, “Being found with the opposite sex after 7pm and before 8am is an offence.” It said,

“The students (Suspended students) who are the co-presidents of the College of social and management Sciences (COSMAS) were outside their hostel on May 6, a day to the cultural day of the Faculty’s annual social week. They were in the company of a decorator hired for the event.

“Apparently the school has no guest house where guests that are spending the night in the school can sleep over, so they were trying to arrange a place at the MAsters students hostel for the decorator to sleepover.

“This was the reason why they were outside their hostel till 8:40pm against the 8:30 stipulated by the University’s new rule.

“The security came out to harass them and sent them back to the hostel, as the students were trying to explain themselves to the security, their green cards were seized and taken to the gate.

“They filed a report against them and they had to face the students’ disciplinary committee (SDC) on Thursday 23rd May.

“The students were summoned today (Friday) before 6am and were told to leave the campus because they have been suspended for eight weeks.”

Angered by the suspension given to the students who, it was said, are supposed to be defending their final year projects in two weeks time, the students of the school took to protest.

A viral video shows some of the students in a riotous mode as gunshots are head being released by the policemen called to quell the riot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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