FG Says It Will Continue To Protect Rights Of The Girl Child

Girl Child, Human Rights
The minister says some cultural stereotypes are inimical to the rights of girls

The Federal government says it has initiated programmes that will enhance the welfare of young children especially the girls and protect them from any form of molestation.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan disclosed this on Tuesday during a news conference to mark the 2016 International Day of the Girl Child.

Senator Alhassan said the ministry has embarked on advocacy visits and campaigns for the domestication of the Child Rights Act in all the states of the federation.

She also announced that the ministry has sponsored a bill on Gender and Equal Opportunities at the the National Assembly as well as the launching of the Social Protection Programme to assist indigent children to go to school.

The International Day of the Girl Child is a day set aside to draw attention of policy makers on the need to address the challenges girls face.

Nigeria being a member of the United Nations, joined other countries of the world to mark the day which called for creation of more opportunities for girls and raises awareness of the discrimination they face worldwide due to their gender.

The Women Affairs minister who identified age-longed prejudices and cultural stereotypes that are unfavourable to the girl child , added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is determined to ensure that women take their rightful place in the scheme of affairs in the country.

She reiterated the President’s resolve to ensure the safe return of the abducted Chibok school girls in Borno State.

In line with the theme – “Girls Progress equal to Goals Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement – the minister said attention would be directed to increased data generation and management in planning for the girl child and women in Nigeria.

‘Implement Existing Laws’

Meanwhile some stakeholders have faulted the introduction of new policies and programmes to protect the rights of the girl child. They say why create new policies when existing ones are yet to be fully implemented.

Erhumwunse Eghosa of the SOS Children’s Village, Lagos, said the Nigerian Government should pay more attention to implementing laws that protect the rights of children in the society, rather than creating new laws.

He explained that by empowering the girl child, 40% of the job of development would have been done, considering their roles in all facets of development, starting from their roles in raising kids.

He highlighted the need to provide social protection, employment, healthcare and education, with emphasis on the implementation of the laws that would ensure that all these are provided.

Kerry Stresses Need To Pace Up On Girl Child Education In Nigeria

John-Kerry-US-Secretary-of-StateThe US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has urged Nigeria to pace up girl child education to foreclose the risk of turning down growth and development resulting from segregation of an important segment of the population.

Mr Kerry, who said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is presently committing $10 million to help women in Nigeria make the right choices, said no nation can be lifted to its full potential without engaging its entire population.

At a meeting with Non-Government Organisations in charge of girl child education and protection at the US Embassy in Abuja, he said too many young women in Nigeria are out of school and forced into different kinds of circumstances which must be changed through a gradual but steady progress.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had last week advised the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria to pay more attention to implementing laws that protect the rights of the girl child in the society, rather than creating new ones that will mortgage their future.

Country Representative of UNFPA in Nigeria, Ratidzai Ndhlovu, gave the advice at the official launch of the Adolescent Girls Initiative organised by UNFPA in collaboration with the Kaduna State government, where she noted that providing women and girls with equal access to education, is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a prosperous and sustainable nation.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, said the ministry will soon launch a campaign against early child marriage and child abuse to sensitize traditional and religious rulers across the country on the dangers of giving out their girls out early in marriage without giving them the necessary education or skills.

According to a report released by UNFPA, the northern region has the highest rate of female illiteracy in Nigeria, and also accounts for negative health outcomes which include the highest maternal mortality and infant mortality ratio.
For instance, the number of girls without education in Sokoto State stands at 78.5 per cent followed by Kebbi State with 75 per cent, while that of Kaduna is 40.3 percent.

UN Launches Campaign Against Child Marriage In Northern Nigeria

Ban-Ki-moon-meets-with-Business-Leaders-in-Nigeria
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Wednesday advised the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria to pay more attention to implementing laws that protect the rights of the girl child in the society, rather than creating new ones that will mortgage their future.

Country Representative of UNFPA in Nigeria, Ratidzai Ndhlovu, gave the advice at the official launch of the Adolescent Girls Initiative organised by UNFPA in collaboration with the Kaduna State government, where she noted that providing women and girls with equal access to education, is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a prosperous and sustainable nation.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, said the ministry will soon launch a campaign against early child marriage and child abuse to sensitize traditional and religious rulers across the country on the dangers of giving out their girls out early in marriage without giving them the necessary education or skills.

The minister who was represented by the Director of Child Development in the Ministry, Mrs Georgette Azogu, noted that Nigeria cannot make any remarkable progress when a larger population of the girls are out of school.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai, on his part, said his administration had since inception, introduced free and compulsory basic education and other intervention measures aimed at making education affordable for parents and encouraging children to go to school.

He also announced that the state government has passed a law banning all forms of street hawking, and warned to prosecute any parent, refuses to send their children to school.

According to a report released by UNFPA, the northern region has the highest rate of female illiteracy in Nigeria, and also accounts for negative health outcomes which include the highest maternal mortality and infant mortality ratio.

For instance, the number of girls without education in Sokoto State stands at 78.5 per cent followed by Kebbi State with 75 per cent, while that of Kaduna is 40.3 percent.

Taraba Election: Appeal Court Upholds PDP’s Victory

Darius IshakuAn Appeal Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, on Thursday upheld the victory of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Darius Ishaku, in the Taraba State governorship election of April 11.

In the ruling, the Abdul Aboki-led five-man panel said that the PDP’s decision to choose Mr Ishaku as its candidate was accepted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Appeal Court ruled that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC),  Aisha Alhassan, had no locus standi to question the decision of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Addressing reporters in Abuja after the judgement was delivered, Governor Ishaku urged his supporters to be peaceful and calm while celebrating the decision of the Appeal Court.

He said that the judgment was a testimony that the judiciary remained the only hope of the common man.

INEC had in April announced PDP’s Ishaku as winner of the election defeating APC’s Alhassan.

The Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja had declared on November 7 that Alhassan was the duly elected governor, saying Ishaku did not emerge candidate of the PDP in a proper primary election.

But at the appeal hearing, Mr Aboki admitted the testimony of the INEC officer, who testified that the PDP primaries violated sections 85 and 87 of the electoral law, he maintained the APC had no locus standi on the matter.

Taraba: PDP Women Protest Tribunal Judgment

Taraba PDP Women Protest Tribunal JudgmentThe women wing of Taraba State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed disappointment in the Governorship Election Tribunal judgment which nullified the election of Darius Ishaku as governor of the state.

The women staged the protest in Jalingo, the state’s capital on Saturday.

Leader of the group, Fatima Hassan, described the tribunal judgment as unfortunate and appealed to the supporters to remain calm and peaceful as the matter has been taken to the Appeal Court for redress.

There have been tension in Taraba State which resulted in protests in some parts of the state since the judgment of the governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja nullified the election of Ishaku as governor of the state and declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Aisha Alhassan winner of the April election.

Meanwhile, Organised Private Sector and the Civil Service in Taraba State have been reassured that governance and security of lives and property in the state are guaranteed despite the verdict of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja.

Giving the government’s assurance a day after the violence that started in Wukari after the Tribunal’s judgement left at least eight persons dead, the Chief, stated that business activities and government commitments in the state had not been affected in any way.

As various groups continue to appeal for calm and peaceful coexistence among citizens in the state pending the Appeal Court’s decision, all Tarabans must realise that without peace there cannot be any development; therefore, embracing peace and resulting to rule of law remain the path to justice.

PDP Faults Taraba Governorship Election Tribunal’s Judgment


PDP Faults Taraba Tribunal Judgment
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted the  judgment of the Taraba State Governorship Election Tribunal which sacked the State Governor.



The acting National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus on Tuesday, said the work of the Tribunal was marred by political interference from security officials.

Mr Secondus, however, promised the party support till justice is carried out.

The acting Chairman made the allegation while receiving Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State and his delegation at the party’s secretariat for where he came to seek the party’s support at the Appeal Court.

Both the Governor and the acting Chairman of the PDP faulted the tribunal’s judgment, saying it was a conspiracy to take over all PDP states.

The Tribunal had on Saturday, sacked the Taraba State Governor and announced his counterpart from the All Progressives Congress, Aisha Alhassan, as the new governor of the state, a judgment the Governor vowed to challenge.

Tribunal Should Have Ordered Fresh Election In Taraba – Ozekhome

Tribunal Should Order Fresh Election In Taraba A Senior Advocate of Nigeria says the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal should have ordered a fresh election between Darius Ishaku and Aisha Alhassan.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Mike Ozekhome, said that “Section 140 Subsection 2 of the Electoral Act says that where a tribunal believes that a person was not qualified to be elected into the governorship office of a state or for massive irregularities, it shall not declare the person with the second highest number of votes to be returned to the position, but shall order a fresh election”.

He argued that the Taraba State Tribunal, having found out that Governor Ishaku was not qualified to have contested the election, should have conducted a fresh election, instead of nullifying the election and ordering that a Certificate of Return be given to Alhassan to be sworn in as Governor.

He said that the election tribunal committed a grave error in asking that the APC candidate be sworn in, expressing confidence that the “error” would be rectified by the Court of Appeal.

While giving his opinion on how the contestants are sponsored, Mr Ozekhome stressed that the Electoral Act 85 Subsection 1 says that a political party wanting to hold a congress, conference or convention, must give 21 days notice to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), that they want to hold either a convention, conference or congress.

“By virtue of Section 85 Subsection 2, INEC may with or without prior notice to any political party, decide to attend its convention, conference or congress to observe what it is doing.

“While Section 87 subsection 1 of the Electoral Act provides that any political party wanting to feed the candidate for any election must hold primaries from which the candidate must emerge and the primaries must be conducted in a democratic way, Section 87 Subsection 9 of the Electoral Act says that any person who believes that the provision of the Electoral Act have not been complied with in terms of the election, selection or nomination of a candidate at a primary, shall approach the Federal High Court or the State High Court,” he added.

‘PDP Violated Principles of Democracy’

Meanwhile, another lawyer, Mr Phillip Okey-Igwe, disagreed with the Ozekhome’s condemnation of the tribunal ruling.

Mr Okey-Igwe, who was also on the programme, said that that the issue before the tribunal “was not strictly qualification”.

“The issue is whether the PDP as a political party validly nominated a candidate,” adding that based on past cases like that of former Rivers Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, “It is not the candidate or a person that is elected into an office, it is the political party.

“If that is the case, the issue before the court was not qualification and you could say that the ruling was correct because the issue now was whether PDP as a political party validly participated in the 2015 governorship election in Taraba State.”

Mr Okey-Igwe, believes that the PDP violated the principles of democracy and blamed the party for the outcome of the Taraba governorship election tribunal which nullified the election of Mr Darius Ishaku as Governor of Taraba State.

 

Taraba Tribunal Verdict: Eight Dead In Post-Judgment Crisis

court-gavelAt least eight people have been killed, while 30 others sustained injuries in the crisis that erupted in Wukari Kingdom of Taraba state following the verdict of the State’s Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Mr Darius Ishaku as governor of Taraba State.

The Police Command in the State said that though the police had not concluded investigation, the crisis may not be unconnected with the ruling of the Tribunal.

A former Vice-chairman of Wukari Local Government Council, Tanimu Danlele, gave reporters the casualty figure and called on security agents to be vigilant in order to forestall a recurrence.

The Tribunal had on Saturday declared Aisha Alhassan, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the April 11 election winner of the polls.

“Bizarre Decision”

The Tribunal said Mr Ishaku did not emerge candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a proper primary election.

After the verdict, the Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Taraba State Governor, Mr Sylanus Yakubu described the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal as a “rape of democracy“.

Speaking to Channels Television via phone, Mr Yakubu said: “As far as we are concerned in Taraba State and as far as the government of Arc Darius Ishiaku is concerned, this is a rape on democracy. It is a judicial rascality”.

The PDP has also described the judgement as “another evidence of executive interference” in the judiciary.

The party said the reason given by the Tribunal for arriving at what it termed “bizarre decision” was intriguing and further exposed the “contradictions and double standards” inherent in most Tribunal rulings against PDP interests recently.

In response to the issues raised by the PDP and Governor Ishaku, the APC said  he judgment was the clearest indication that the PDP had started harvesting what it sowed in its years of impunity and recklessness.

In a statement issued on Sunday by the ruling party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Lai Mohammed, the APC said that the PDP had always been a party of “anything goes”.

Taraba Ruling: Evidence Of Executive Interference – PDP

Olisa-MetuhThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described Saturday’s Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal judgment in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, in the April 11 elections, Mrs Aisha Alhassan as “another evidence of executive interference” in the judiciary.

The party said the reason given by the tribunal for arriving at what it termed “bizarre decision” is intriguing and further exposed the “contradictions and double standards” inherent in most tribunal rulings against PDP interests recently.

A statement on Saturday by PDP national publicity secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, said the Taraba State tribunal ruling “brought to the fore the organized plan by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC federal government to deploy all unorthodox means to decimate the opposition.”

The PDP said if the tribunal is faulting the party’s primaries as basis for its decision, it then means that no APC gubernatorial candidate can stand the test, as their party never had acceptable primaries in any of their states.

The party said it was “totally confounded by the brazing (sic) show of power” by the executive and warned that the development “clearly portends grave danger to the country’s democracy, national cohesion and development.”

The party called on its members across the country, especially in Taraba State to remain undaunted “as the appellate courts would restore its well-deserved victory.”

It said “evidence that Taraba ruling was a product of Presidency manipulation can be deduced from the fact that few hours before the judgment was delivered, the APC had arrogantly announced their victory on the new media.

“It is rather curious and a great conflict of irony that the Taraba tribunal sitting in Abuja on security grounds faulted the conduct of PDP primaries shifted to the same Abuja on security reasons.”

Taraba Government Describes Tribunal Ruling As A Rape Of Democracy

Sylvanus_GiwaThe Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Taraba State Governor, Mr Sylanus Yakubu on Saturday described the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal as a “rape of democracy”.

Speaking to Channels Television via phone, Mr Yakubu said “as far as we are concerned in Taraba State and as far as the government of Arc Darius Ishiaku is concerned, this is a rape on democracy”, adding that “it is a judicial rascality”.

He further noted that the handwriting had been written on the wall from the judgment of other tribunals in the state which favoured the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Even yesterday, there were jubilations all over the streets of Jalingo from the supporters of APC, which means somebody, somewhere had an insight of what was going to happen today

“So we are not surprised to see the result of the tribunal.

Mr Yakubu debunked the claim that the governor did not participate in any primaries, maintaining that “Arc Darius Ishaku participated in the primaries, which was held to the glaring eyes of everybody and was presented with a flag during the flag off by the PDP in the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos and the Jolly Nyame Stadium in Jalingo”.

He however maintained that if anyone is to be accused of not participating in any primaries, it should be the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), alleging that “her primaries was characterised by hullabaloo”

He added that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was aware of the primary election conducted by the PDP and “even issued the Arc Darius Ishaku a certificate and declared him winner”

The Governor’s spokesman said as law abiding citizens, they will follow due process and appeal the judgment.

The Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Saturday nullified the election of Mr Darius Ishaku as governor of Taraba State.

The Tribunal, after nullifying the election, declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mrs Aisha Alhassan, winner of the April 11 election in Taraba State.

Shittu, Khadija Ibrahim Screened By Senate

SenateThe ministerial nominees from Oyo and Yobe states, Mr Adebayo Shittu and Mrs Khadija Abba Ibrahim, have been screened by the Senate and asked to take a bow and leave.

Shittu took a bow and left after he had answered several questions from the senators, ranging from religion to politics, activism and governance.

Shittu addressed the perception that he was a religious extremist by stating that he has never been indicted by any panel of inquiry for religious intolerance as he is not a fanatic or a religious extremist.

He revealed that his secretary for many years is a Christian and wife of a Pastor with whom he has had a cordial working relationship.

Adebayo Shittu, who has served as a legislator, commissioner and Attorney-General in Oyo State, noted that his personality did not hamper his past political successes.

While affirming his commitment to seeing Nigerians live a moral life, he was of the view that religion should be made compulsory in educational institutions.

Answering questions on the possibility of being put in charge of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Shittu said that he would ensure that grassroots sports is developed to the maximum as this remained the best way to develop the sector.

Mrs Abba Ibrahim’s screening, however, took less time as she was asked to take a bow and leave after a dramatic exchange of banters among the senators, one of whom is the nominee’s husband, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim.

Senate Resumes Screening Of Ministerial Nominees

ministerial nomineesThe Nigerian Senate has changed its approach as it resumes the screening of ministerial nominees in Abuja.

Only Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Adebayo Shittu and Claudius Daramola would  be screened today, Tuesday, October 20.

This is according to Chairman Senate Adhoc Committee on Media and Public Matter, Dino Melaye.

He said that the Senate has pruned down the number of nominees screened daily in order to have a more thorough exercise.

He explained that the decision was made in response to the yearnings of Nigerians who have criticized the Senate’s approach during the already held screenings and asked for a more thorough screening exercise.

The Senate is also to lay down report of the petition on former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi and screen the former governor on Wednesday.

The nomination of Mr Amaechi has generated a lot of controversy following petitions from a group in Rivers State accusing him of fraudulent practices during his tenure as Governor of Rivers State.

Eighteen ministerial nominees were screened and confirmed last week before the Senate shifted the exercise to Tuesday.

The first list of nominees was sent to the Senate on September 30 by President Muhammadu Buhari while a second list was sent on October 12.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had said that the Senate would adopt measures that are in line with the provisions of the Constitution in carrying out the screening exercise.