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Court to Rule on Cardinal Pell’s Child-abuse Appeal

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 Melbourne’s Court of Appeal will hand down its decision Wednesday in Australian Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his conviction for child sexual abuse.

The former Vatican treasurer and one-time close adviser to Pope Francis was convicted in December for sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in the mid-1990s.

The 78-year-old maintains his innocence.

Pell’s two-day appeal hearing was held in June, which ended with the judges reserving their decision.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson will read out a summary of the decision, which could be majority or unanimous, with the proceedings to be live-streamed on the court’s website from 9:30 am on Wednesday (2330 GMT Tuesday).

Pell, the highest-ranking Roman Catholic figure to be jailed for a child sex abuse conviction, has already been in prison for more than five months. Depending on the verdict, he could either walk free, his case could be sent to a retrial or he could remain in jail.

Meanwhile the father of one of the two choirboys sexually abused by Pell said Tuesday through his lawyer that he is waiting “with bated breath” and is “anxious about the decision.”

”He has said that he would like to see justice prevail and George Pell kept behind bars where he cannot prey on more unsuspecting children,” said Lisa Flynn, the lawyer representing the father, whose son died of a drug overdose in 2014.

If Pell’s appeal is rejected, he would be at least 81 years old before he is eligible for parole. (dpa/NAN)

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Niger Coup: CAN States Position on Military Intervention

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….Position on Military Intervention

Laide Akinboade, Abuja

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged the Economic Community Of West Africa States (ECOWAS) not to use military intervention to resolve the current crisis in Niger.

In a recent statement signed by the CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, the apex Christian association commended President Ahmed Tinubu, and other heads of ECOWAS for their unwavering commitment to discouraging coups d’état and the forceful takeover of power.

“We also applaud their commendable efforts in resolving the crisis currently faced by our neighbours in the Republic of Niger.

“CAN fully recognizes the gravity of the situation in Niger and the importance of upholding democratic principles, peace, and stability within the West African region. We believe that the peaceful resolution of conflicts is vital for the progress and well-being of our nations and our people.

Read Also: Niger Coup: Activate Standby Force, ECOWAS Orders Defence Chiefs  

“We applaud President Ahmed Tinubu for adopting a diplomatic approach in addressing the crisis by sending a high-level delegation, led by the eminent statesman General Abdulsalam Abubakar, to engage with the Nigerien authorities. This diplomatic overture demonstrates President Tinubu’s commitment to peaceful dialogue and his belief in the power of constructive engagement to foster understanding and resolve conflicts.

“Furthermore, we commend the inclusion of the esteemed Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, in the delegation. This representation showcases the unity of purpose and the collaborative spirit of Nigerian leaders, transcending religious and ethnic boundaries to jointly pursue peace in our region.

“CAN also commends the notable efforts of other prominent leaders, who have engaged with the Nigerien authorities in their personal capacities, leveraging private contacts. Their wisdom, experience, and counsel will undoubtedly contribute to the resolution of the crisis in Niger and the restoration of peace and stability in the region

“As an organization deeply committed to promoting justice, peace, and harmony, CAN urges Tinubu, to remain on the path of dialogue and avoid any form of military intervention or measures that would create enmity between the good people of Nigeria and Niger. We firmly believe that the path to lasting peace lies in upholding democratic processes, respecting the sovereignty of nations, and engaging in peaceful dialogue to address grievances and resolve conflicts.

“We implore all stakeholders involved in this matter to embrace peaceful negotiations, exercise restraint, and tirelessly work towards a sustainable resolution of the crisis in Niger. It is crucial to remember that peace is a collective responsibility, and only through joint efforts and unwavering commitment can we build a future of progress, stability, and prosperity for our nations, the statement read.

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Cleric Urges Tinubu to Ensure Even Resource Distribution

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Tony Obiechina, Abuja

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been urged to inclusively involve all segments of the country in his administration and ensure the equitable distribution of resources to address the citizens’ plight.

Reverend Babatunde Idowu, the District Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church in Wuse, Abuja, gave this advice during the Church’s 10th District Anniversary.

He emphasized that directing resources appropriately would also help alleviate economic challenges and address the country’s infrastructural decay.

Reverend Idowu acknowledged that the current administration’s economic policy is commendable, but stressed the importance of appointing the right individuals to manage the proceeds from fuel subsidy removal.

He stated that only Nigerians who fear God and are committed to serving the nation should be engaged for such responsibilities.

The Cleric believes that when both leaders and the public act responsibly, divine intervention will lead to the country’s transformation.

Assistant Pastor of Foursquare Utako, Abuja, Mrs. Stella Eniola Huthman, appealed to women to fulfill their responsibilities, set examples, and foster peaceful households.

Pastor Stella Eniola attributed the current moral decline in society to the failure of some women in fulfilling their roles, urging them to contribute positively to building a better nation.

Deacon Samson Olorunda, Chairman of the anniversary committee, stated that the church would persistently pray for divine intervention to address the country’s challenges.

He assured that the church would remain dedicated to promoting peace and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The theme for the week-long program was “Much More Than This,” derived from the book of 2 Chronicles 25:9-10.

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CAN Raises the Alarm Over Extreme Hardship Faced by Nigerians

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said that the increasing hardship faced by the majority of Nigerians due to recent hikes in fuel prices, school fees, and other essential expenses ignites worries.

In a statement issued by CAN President, Daniel Okoh, over the weekend, he urged the Federal Government to take immediate measures to alleviate the suffering in the country.

“While we acknowledge the complexities and difficult decisions taken by the government to manage the nation’s economy, there is an urgent need to prioritize measures that will alleviate, rather than exacerbate, the existing poverty level and hardships of Nigerians.

“The recent price hikes have placed an enormous burden on the already struggling masses, making it extremely difficult for them to afford the basic necessities of life,” the CAN President remarked.

He further advised the Federal Government to engage with critical stakeholders in meaningful dialogue to explore sustainable solutions to the current situation.

As part of the recommendations, Okoh stressed the importance of developing comprehensive economic policies that promote inclusive growth, job creation, and social well-being. He urged the government to focus on diversifying the economy, reducing dependency on volatile commodities, and promoting investments in sectors with the potential to create sustainable employment opportunities. These measures, according to him, would not only bolster economic resilience but also enhance the overall well-being of citizens.

“The fuel subsidy palliatives being considered by the government should go beyond cash transfers and should include the introduction of mass transport across states to reduce the cost of transportation. The multiplier effect of this will be profound,” Okoh emphasized.

Additionally, the CAN President called for measures to reduce the price of fuel, including the removal of unnecessary levies and taxes on imported petroleum products, stabilization of the foreign exchange market, and the restoration of local refineries to functional and effective use.

“While we understand that there is no gain without pain, the pain must not be unbearable,” he added.

Appealing to Nigerians to exercise patience with the government, Okoh urged everyone to work together to build an inclusive and resilient economy that offers opportunities for every Nigerian to thrive.

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