Lagos State To Enforce Child Protection and Safeguarding Programme

Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos State, Child AbuseLagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has approved the first ever Executive Order establishing a Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in Nigeria.

The governor said the policy was designed as a catalyst for driving awareness and commitment of all stakeholders, including every member of the community, towards the protection of children.

Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, in a statement, said that the programme was developed to put management systems in place to create and maintain a safe environment for children.

He added that “in clear terms, the policy also articulates procedures to be adopted when disclosures of abuse are made”.

According to Mr Kazeem, the Executive Order which was signed by Governor Ambode on December 16 highlighted the emphasis which the present administration placed on protecting the lives of all children in the state.

He noted that the order applied to all State Government organisations, all public and private schools, child centred institutions and orphanages located in Lagos State, southwest Nigeria.

UBEC Decries Number Of Out Of School Children

Incidences Of Child Abuse

The Attorney General stressed further that the policy also provided the steps that must be followed in the case of a disclosure, the role of the Designated Child Protection and Safeguarding Officer, as well as the process of reporting and dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff.

“The Executive Order now makes it mandatory for Child Protection policy to be integrated into the induction programme of newly recruited staff into child-centred institutions. As regards employment of staff, it is now mandatory for all child-centred institutions to conduct detailed background checks.

“Ultimately, the ratification of this Executive Order would reduce and possibly eliminate incidences of child abuse, establish a culture of early identification of trends and effective intervention to limit the occurrence of cases,” he said.

child-female-girl

The Justice Commissioner noted that in the next coming months, the Lagos State government would strongly drive adoption of the policy to ensure that all child-centred institutions adopt and adhere strictly to the provisions of the order, while electronic copies would be made available on the state’s website and other relevant social media platforms to ensure proper dissemination.

“The State government therefore uses this medium to sound a very clear warning to all child-centred institutions both public and private, that it would no longer tolerate negligence in ensuring the safety of children under their supervision.

“Failure to adhere to the content of the policy would warrant significant repercussions varying from withdrawal of licenses to filing of criminal charges due to negligence,” Kazeem warned.

The ratification was announced on Thursday in a statement issued by the Director of Public Affairs at the State’s Ministry of Justice, Bola Akingbade.

Kaduna Govt. Proposes Life Jail For Rapists

Kaduna Govt. Proposes Life Jail For RapistsWorried by the rising cases of sexual assault against minors in Kaduna, the State Government is proposing a life jail sentence as punishment for rapists in the new Child Right Bill that has been forwarded to the State House of Assembly for passage into law.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Amina Sijuade, disclosed this during the commissioning of the Sexual Assault Reform Centre at Gwamna Awan General Hospital in the state capital.

The Commissioner explained that the decision became necessary, following incessant cases of rape, particularly of minors, being recorded frequently in the state.

The Commissioner, after commissioning the Sexual Assault Reform Centre, said that the centre would work closely with security agencies and hospitals in order to achieve the desired objective.

“The Ministry of Justice has already designated a gender desk officer who will prepare all legal documents for legal action for victims.

“Also, all the officials that will work at the centre have already been trained with support from the Department for International Development (DFID).

“This initiative will greatly help in curbing the alarming rate of violence and sexual assault against minors in the state,’’ she said.

She spoke further: “Already there is a review of the penal code for the 19 northern states. This initiative was chaired by myself together with all the attorney-generals of the 19 northern states. And in the penal code, what we did was we escalated the penalty for rape in response to calls by the public.

“What we are proposing is life imprisonment for rapists. Definitely it will help address the menace not just for minors but rape generally of both sexes. We emphasize the importance of traditional rulers in this fight, the community and religious leaders and lastly the media.

“Most of the reports on rape come from the communities where community and religious leaders are in charge, and the fight against it and sensitization cannot be successful without their help.

“So, they will be engaged in sensitizing their communities. The media is also crucial to this and we have commenced sensitization on radio and television. And we solicit for your cooperation.”

The Sexual Assault Referral Centre would be run by the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Social Development, Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies.

Incidences of rape are becoming rampant in Kaduna state. It is particularly disturbing that the offenders are mostly elderly men whose victims are toddlers and minors within the age range of three to six.

In most cases the suspects are related to the victims.

Generally, rape laws in a lot of countries are strictly clarified and efficient in terms of implementation. The same cannot be said of Nigeria where no capital punishment is meted against those that have been caught in such act.

Sadly, while the suspects suffer light or no punishment at all, their victims would have to contend with the trauma that comes with being a rape victim.

Kogi Governor To Probe His Predecessors

Kogi, Yahaya Bello, Ghost Workers, Corruption
Governor Bello says it is important to know how previous governments spent public funds

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has inaugurated a commission of inquiry to investigate the use of public funds from May 29th 2013 to January 27th 2016.

While inaugurating the members of the commission at the Government House in Lokoja, Governor Bello says he will also surrender himself to be probed by his successor after leaving office.

He charged the commission to avoid any means of victimization but should rather check how public funds were used within the stated period.

In his remark, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state,  Mohammed Ibrahim explained the relevant sections of the law that empowers the state governor to set up the probe panel.

The seven-man judicial panel of commission is headed by Justice Wada Umar Rano as its chairman.

While inaugurating the commission, Governor Bello said it has become necessary to look into the activities of the past administrations with a view of recovering stolen funds belonging to the state.

He mandated the commission to recommend measures that would prevent stealing of public funds while added that his administration is ready to put Kogi State on the path of development, urging the people to assist the commission in the discharge of its assignment.

Some experts however urge the commission to be honest and fair so as to avoid a witch-hunt.

Sheriff’s Faction Presents Jimoh Ibrahim As Ondo PDP Governorship Candidate

Jimoh Ibrahim, PDP, Ondo election, Ali Modu SheriffThe Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has elected Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the party’s candidate in the coming Ondo State governorship election.

The primary election which lasted over two hours was preceded by an all-night congress among over 800 delegates at the Premier Hotel, Mokola in Ibadan, the Oyo State’s capital in Nigeria’s southwest zone.

The electoral committee, headed by Mr Ahmed Gulak, hinted that the congress was moved out of Akure, the Ondo State capital for security reasons.

After three other aspirants had stepped down for Mr Ibrahim, he polled 502 votes to emerge the winner with his only co-contestant, Mr Olusola Ebiseni, scoring 41 votes while 17 votes were voided.

In his acceptance address, the factional flag bearer promised to defend the mandate by creating jobs and making Ondo State an industrial hub.

The National Vice Chairman and Southwest Chairman, Mr Makanjuola Ogundipe, the PDP Chairman in Ondo State, Mr Popoye Biyi and the Southwest Secretary, Mr Otemolu Adepegba, were among party dignitaries present at the primaries.

Prior to Ibrahim’s emergence, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP had presented a former Attorney General of Ondo State, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, as the flag bearer in the coming governorship poll.

Jegede Wins Ondo PDP Governorship Primaries

A former Attorney General of Ondo State, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, has emerged the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

Mr Jegede was declared winner by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP at the primaries held in Akure, the Ondo State capital in southwest Nigeria.

The former Commissioner for Justice polled 760 votes to defeat his opponent, Mr Saka Lawal who scored 22 votes.

The election was conducted on Monday by the Chairman of the PDP Electoral Committee and Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Seriake Dickson.

It was witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, security personnel, journalists and various election observers.

Not less than 840 delegates from 203 wards in Ondo State participated in the election.

Abia State Government Signs MOU To Boost Infrastructure

abiaThe Abia State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Spanish company for the development of two industrial parks in the state.

The industrial parks will have first class housing units, improved electricity as well as good roads and other infrastructure.

The state government says it is part of efforts to drive its economic goal and enhance infrastructural development.

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Private Partnership and Investment Promotion, Austin Ufomba, this partnership would drive the industrial potential of Aba, the state’s major commercial city and is the beginning of good things for the citizens.

The industrial parks, which would be sited at Aba and Owaza in Ukwa West Local Government Area, is under the Public Private Partnership arrangement where Spanish company ALVE 3 is expected to design, build and operate the parks.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Umeh Kalu, as well as the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Kate Nwosu, signed the MOU on behalf of Abia State while the Director, ALVE 3 of Spain, Francisco Javier Revilla signed for his company.

While Francisco Javier Revilla expressed optimism and readiness to embark on the project, the Commissioner for Justice, Umeh Kalu, expressed hope that the partnership would be beneficial for the parties involved.

He hinted that Abia State still has a lot of potentials for industrial growth and is safe for investment.

Synagogue Building: Legal Practitioner Challenges Coroner’s Inquest

Synagogue Church building collapseThe Coroners inquest into the cause of the Synagogue building collapse has been adjourned till tomorrow, Wednesday the 29th of Oct but a legal practitioner, Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje has dragged the Lagos State Government before a Federal High Court seeking an order to stop further proceedings of the inquest.

The inquest which was constituted by the state government was set up to determine the cause of the Synagogue building collapse with a view to forestalling a recurrence.

The coroner, Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe had last week visited the scene of the incident to get a first hand view and had summoned the founder and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations, Prophet T.B Joshua to appear before him on November 5, 2014.

But Mr Ogungbeje, wants the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the Coroner and its proceedings so far. He also wants the court to issue a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants jointly and severally from further proceeding, sitting, investigating, or embarking on any fact finding or taking any untoward action in any manner whatsoever on any facts connected to the case.

The defendants in the case are the Lagos State Government, it’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye and the Coroner Magistrate.

Mr Ogungbeje argues that the inquest was constituted by the Lagos State Government after some agencies of the state government had indicted T.B Joshua and his Church and accused them of adding additional structures on the collapsed building without obtaining the necessary approvals.

He submits that if allowed to continue, the proceedings of the Coroner inquest will seriously occasion miscarriage of justice, as the same Coroner would base its decision on the testimonies of the same agencies of Lagos State, which had openly indicted Joshua and his Church.

He cites as instances the Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA), the Lagos State Building Control Agency, the Lagos State Fire Service, the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) and others who have made prejudicial reports in the public domain that the building collapsed as a result of additional structures, despite T.B Joshua’s claim that the building collapsed as a result of an aircraft hovering round it, a claim which he says was ignored.

Ogungbeje added that “The Lagos State Building Control Agency even went ahead to seal up the main building of the church. The General Manager of the agency even said in the papers and I quote him as follows ‘we have investigated and found that they had no approval for the additional structures. Even the main church which they have added about three floors on was sealed two days ago.’

The matter is however yet to be assigned to any judge, while no date has been fixed for hearing.

Legal Year: Lagos Not Opposed To Judiciary Financial Autonomy – Ipaye

Legal yearThe Lagos State Judiciary held its 2014/2015 Legal Year Ceremony with simultaneous services at the church and mosque.

The Cathedral Church at Marina, Lagos Island, played host to the Chief Judge, other judges and magistrates, lawyers and guests who came to celebrate with the judiciary.

The clergy advised the judiciary to always seek divine wisdom from God in the discharge of their duties.

It was a similar scene at the Central Mosque also on Lagos Island where judges, magistrates and guests of the Muslim faith also held a thanksgiving service.

The State Government, through it’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye, appealed to judicial workers in the state to shelve their proposed strike as full financial autonomy for the sector was not yet feasible.

He, however, assured the judicial workers that the State Government was not opposed to the financial autonomy of the State judiciary.

The Legal Year celebrations ended with a colourful parade and inspection of guards by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade.

Al-makura Relieves Eight Commissioners, Director Of Press Of Their Duties

Umaru-Tanko-Al-MakuraGovernor Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa State, on Friday relieved eight commissioners in his cabinet, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Innocent Lagi and the Director of Press, Mr Iliyasu Yakubu of their duties.

Those affected in the cabinet shake-off include the Commissioners for Rural Development, Education, Agriculture, Environment, Sports, Culture and tourism and Planning.

The Director of Press, Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Agency, Scholarship Board, Property Investment Company and the Special Adviser on Youth Empowerment were other that were affected.

Al-makura in a press statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Zainab Abdulmumin, on Friday, gave no reason for the sacking, but directed those affected to hand over to their accounting officers before September, 23, 2014.

 

Ogun Govt. Moves to Decongest Prisons

amosun_waveThe Ogun State Government has put in place modalities that will ensure speedy dispensation of justice towards decongesting prisons in the state.

Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu, who stated this to newsmen yesterday said the government also aims at reducing the large number of inmates awaiting trial.

She said Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who granted amnesty to 15 inmates and commuted death sentences passed on nine convicts to life imprisonment in commemoration of his third year in office, was moved by the deplorable condition of prison formations and has met with stakeholders in the criminal justice system, including the Chief Judge, Controller of Prisons, Commissioner of Police and herself.

“Our people should expect that justice will begin to be dispensed more speedily. Case files will be brought to court faster, so that the number of those awaiting trial will be significantly reduced in the very near future,” Akeredolu said.

She also said that the Governor, during his visit to prison formations in Oba, Ilaro and Abeokuta had deployed health officials to attend to inmates with bad health conditions.

The Ogun State Controller of Prisons, Mr. Joseph Olanrele, also revealed that 450 inmates were awaiting trial, stating however, that the State Governor has mandated stakeholders to ensure that those who were not supposed to be behind bars are not kept there unnecessarily.

Olanrele called on the populace to join the Nigeria Prison Service in its efforts at providing vocational skills to inmates, noting that the provision of adequate training facilities would help empower the inmates.

Obiano Swears In Commissioners, Signs 2014 Appropriation Bill

Willie Obiano1The Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has demanded absolute loyalty from the 19 new commissioners and 10 special advisers appointed to serve in his administration.

He gave the charge after they were sworn in at the conference hall of the Government House, Awka.

The Governor reminded them of the numerous task of governance, as well as the hope and expectations of the people that must be satisfied and the need to be totally committed to delivering good governance and democracy dividends to the people.

He assured them of his readiness to relieve any of them who fails to live up to expectation of his or her duty.

Responding on behalf of the new executive members, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Anali Chude, assured the Governor of their commitment to ensure a smooth and fruitful administration.

Shortly after the swearing in ceremony, the Governor also signed the 2014 Appropriation Bill tagged, ‘Budget for Family and Wealth Creation’ with a total budget size of 145.4billion Naira, which represented a 24% increase over the 2013 budget.

He was assisted by the State Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi, the Deputy Governor, Nkem Okeke and the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chukwudi Orizu.

Gov. Orji Releases Twelve Prisoners To Mark Christmas

The Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, has called on Nigerians and Christians to shun bitterness in their relationship towards one another and desist from inciting the public against the leadership of the country.

On the occasion of Christmas, the governor said, “it is this type of love that can make a country and make everyone to seek the greatness of Nigeria.

“We owe this debt to God and to fellow human beings to extend love at all times, even in the face of hostility as admonished by the word of God.”

Based on these words, Governor Orji, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 212 of the 1999 constitution, has signed an order for the discharge and release of twelve prisoners namely, Boniface Okezie, Ikemdinachi Okezie, Ezeogo Ogbonnaya and Victor Ojiegbe among others.

These releases were based on the recommendation of the state council on prerogative of mercy under the chairmanship of the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Umeh Kalu.

He advised all to embrace the love of Jesus Christ as shown in his exploits on earth.