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Sexual violence referral clinics now in 10 states – Osinbajo

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Corruption, Nigeria’s major problem - Osinbajo

Nigeria has expanded the number of Sexual Assault Referral Centers across the country from three clinics in three states to 11 clinics in 10 states, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

Mr Osinbajo disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a 2-Day National Conference on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (GBD) Response in Nigeria held on Thursday in Abuja at the Presidential Villa Banquet Hall.

The event was organised by the Rule of Law Advisory Team in the Office of the Vice President in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs, among others.

According to the vice president, the case for treating women and girls with equality and dignity is a self-evident one as women account for a significant part of the nation’s talent pool; as do young people below the age of 18.

He said that Nigeria’s progress and prosperity were greatly affected by its ability to safeguard its women and children.

Mr Osinbajo said that Nigerians must never become accustomed to condoning the abuse of its most vulnerable people or to turn a blind eye to exploitation.

He said that a number of institutions in the Nigerian society – social, cultural, religious – were complicit in the perpetuation of these forms of abuses.

The vice president said that government’s share of the burden of responsibility was clear, especially considering that it had the monopoly of the law enforcement role regarding gender-based violence.

“Some of the steps this administration has taken in the past three and a half years to address violence against women and children include the work of the Rule of Law Advisory Team in Office of the Vice President collaborating with relevant agencies and non-governmental organisations working in the area of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the enhancement of reach and access of their protective services to victims.

“The team is responsible for giving support towards the establishment of Gender-Based Violence Response Teams across the States.

“These teams ensure that survivors have swift access to the right service providers. As a result of the activities of these teams, today, we have a better understanding of the coordinated approach that is needed to prevent and effectively respond to gender violence.

“Nigeria has in the past two years expanded the number of Sexual Assault Referral Centers across the country from three clinics in three states to 11 clinics in 10 states and counting.

“These Sexual Assault Referral Centers ensure the provision of quality forensic, medical, psychological, legal and aftercare services to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

“Happily, we now have more States adopting laws and policy guidelines for holding perpetrators accountable through the rule of law.’’

He said that the stakeholders were currently working on a uniform set of Standard Operational Guidelines that show simple steps for effective response across the country.

According to him, the federal government will continue to interact with service providers and policymakers to make sure that legal frameworks such as the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015, were fully enforced.

He commended the partners–World Bank, USAID, the British Council, the UN, UNFPA, WHO, Pathfinder International, Save the Children, Women Africa, Soar Initiative, PIND, BElemaoil and Air Peace for identifying with GBV causes.

On his part, Ketil Karlsen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that the union was fully committed to curbing sexual violence in Nigeria.

He said that the EU would support efforts aimed at checking gender-related violence.

The event attracted relevant representatives from the 36 states of the country. (NAN).

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Atiku absent as presidential candidates sign peace accord in Abuja

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70 percent of my appointments will go to youth, women if elected president – Atiku

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, was absent at the signing of a peace pact for 2019 presidential candidates in Abuja.

It was not immediately clear why Mr Abubakar, the major challenger to President Muhammadu Buhari, did not turn up at the event.

Mr Abubakar was among those expected at the event.

Spokespersons for Mr Abubakar and the PDP separately told PREMIUM TIMES they were not aware of the event, which began at 3:00 p.m., and promised to make urgent findings and revert.

Mr Buhari arrived at the International Conference Centre to join other candidates in signing the peace agreement, which was drafted by the National Peace Committee.

Abdulsalam Abubakar, a former Nigerian military ruler, is the convener of the committee and the event.

A similar pact was signed by presidential candidates in 2015 and the committee was widely deemed crucial to the peaceful outcome of that contentious election.

Details shortly…

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Reps committee threatens to block aviation agencies’ 2019 budgets

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Reps discharge 16 committees of 25 referral bills

The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has warned it may block the budgets of agencies under it over the failure of their heads to turn up for a budget defence meeting with the committee.

The committee Chairman, Nkiru Onyejeocha (Abia, APC), at a scheduled meeting of the committee with the agencies on 2018 budget performance said the committee would be left with no other option than to block the 2019 budgets of the agencies.

Ms Onyejeocha was reacting to the absence of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and heads of parastatals.

None of the heads of parastatals were present at the meeting but rather, sent in representatives.

Prior to the passage of the 2018 budget by the National Assembly, some agencies had alleged that some lawmakers demanded bribes as conditions for passing their budgets.

The officials said the unceasing demand for gratification was responsible for the reluctance of a number of heads of MDAs to honour invitations by Senate and House of Representatives committees to defend their budgets.

“It is either one director-general is not in the country or the other has travelled out,” Ms Onyejeocha said while lamenting their absence.

“Let it be on record that we are not happy with the ministry and all its agencies,” she continued.

“It is unfortunate because your minister is a product of this parliament. As a former member of the House of Reps and of the Senate, he should know the rules,” she told the representatives.

Ms Onyejeocha said the committee was not satisfied with the way the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, was running the ministry, adding that he cannot get anything good out of it.

“We won’t ask questions and get a reply, the budget implementation is zero to the best of our knowledge as far we are concerned. If they do not take time, they won’t have a 2019 budget; we have sent referrals and consultants to the ministry but they refuse to comply.”

The chairman said her committee recently contacted the ministry and its agencies that they would be coming for oversight but was either told the minister was not around or the head of agency had travelled.

“We are not here to play politics, we would just collect these documents, our hands are tied, the committee’s hand is tied, the House of Reps’ hands’ are tied. After this session, we may issues summons for them to appear before the House.”

She said the controversial issue of Air Nigeria and others were forwarded to the committee for investigation but was withdrawn and forwarded to the committee of the whole due to the absence of the minister and his officials.

“If Aviation is now domiciled abroad, let us know that we may request to the House and that we need visa to see your DGs. Today, we the members of the committee are saying no, we can’t take this committee for a ride, we shall collect the documents and let them speak to it.

“We give them not less than 48 hours to appear before the committee, it must happen, and if it does not, you people must appear on the floor of the House,” she ruled.

In his comments, Abiante Dgomie (PDP, Rivers), said the ministry and the various parastatals under it had become very evasive and were not accountable to Nigerians.

He said this was unfortunate, as it was happening under a regime that has a signpost of anti-corruption.

Mr Dgomie said the representatives of heads of agencies did not have sufficient information for the committee.

“If we begin to interrogate the documents, you will hear that I am not the DG or minister and so I can not talk on the matter. This is a waste of precious time and Nigerians are watching and observing a and they will run their own commentaries themselves.

“Those saddled with these responsibilities have failed Nigerians and let us put it on record. The strength of any nation is not as regards for individuals but for the strength of the institutions that run the affairs of the nation,” he said.

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I met my wife and an old man in a compromising position – Divorce-seeking husband

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I met my wife and an old man in a compromising position – Divorce-seeking husband

A Grade `C’ Customary Court, Bode Igbo, Ibadan, on Tuesday adjourned the divorce suit filed by Taiwo Philip, as the wife, Bukola, urged the court to plead with her husband on her behalf.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Philip, a plank seller, allegedly accused his wife of disobedience, keeping late nights, unfaithfulness and arrogance.

According to Philip, who resides at Omi-Adio, Bukola is also fond of not caring for the well-being of their six children; the oldest being 16-years-old and the youngest, one-year-eight-months-old.

“Two years after our marriage, my wife told me she wanted to further her education of NCE, of which I didn’t refuse.

“I established a Nursery and Primary School where she served as the headmistress but in spite of all these efforts, she still turned out to be an ingrate by behaving badly at home, ‘’ he said.

Philip said he once met his wife and an old man in a compromising manner in her shop when he went in search of their second child, who ran away from home.

According to him, as I demanded explanation from my wife, some goons, called ‘Gobe’, beat me up right there and then.

“I reported the incident at the police station for my wife to produce all those involved but the matter degenerated.

“With the matter still with the police, we were directed to approach the court for divorce, ‘’ he said.

The Respondent, Bukola, said she agreed to all her husband’s allegations, except that she never had an affair with the alleged old man.

Bukola said the old man in question was the husband to the woman who introduced her to Philip and facilitated their marriage.

“I usually approach this man for advice, because my husband will not allow me to visit my family since we wedded,’’ she said.

Bukola also defended herself by saying that her husband was the violent type at home and that he was fond of driving her as a slave.

“He places curse on me at will and he is fond of keeping late nights.

“My lord, he once sent me out of the house, forcing me to sleep in the shop.

“Sir, in spite of everything, if the court can beg him, I will still be willing to settle the issue,’’ she said.

After hearing the plea of the wife, the President of the court, Chief Muraina Agbomeji, adjourned the case until Dec. 17 for possible settlement out of court.

(NAN)

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