By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq is seeking more funding from the federal government to strengthen the various State Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) in the country.
The Minister made the call during a Virtual Economic Council Meeting chaired by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo,
Presenting the National Guide For the Establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centres in Nigeria, the Minister noted that the weak commitment of State governments to strengthen the multi sectoral inter-agency collaboration has made it difficult for the SARC centres to meet the ever growing demand from victims.
To this end, she said that for the 31 SARC centres in 17 states across Nigeria responsible for providing free medical assistance, forensic medical examination counseling and justice support services to survivors of sexual violence to be at their optimum best in service delivery, robust funding from the Federal Government is needed.
“A recent survey of some of the SARCs disclosed a common challenge which a weak commitment from State governments to strengthen the multi-sectoral inter-agency collaboration mechanisms that will sustain the delivery of SARC services to the public. What this means is that the State-led SARCs lack the requisite funding needed to ensure optimal service delivery.
“The need to establish and commit to adequately fund Sexual Assault Referral Centres is further justified by the low conviction rates of rape and sexual assault cases”.
According to data, the centres have provided assistance to over 17,000 victims of sexual assault with 73% of the victims under 18 years of age.
Minister Umar Farouq sadly noted that only 11 out of 3000 cases have been prosecuted in just six states, while 107 were fatal, 742 cases were still open and 188 cases were closed.
“A well funded SARCs will help increase conviction rates through the provision of forensic evidence to support prosecution in court”.
With 20 states including the FCT adopting the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015 and 6 states awaiting Executive assent, Umar Farouq urged other states to see the issue of gender based violence as a serious pandemic that should be tackled.
In his response, the Chairman of the National Economic Council and Vice President, Prof. Osinbanjo also commended efforts being made by Minister Umar Farouq to fight violence against women and learnt his voice to the ‘name and shame’ penalty for offenders.
In the same vein, the Governor of Ogun state, Prince Dapo Abiodun (MFR) praised the Minister for her commitment to the cause and fight against Sexual related offenses against women and girls and called on other states that were yet to set up Sexual Assault Referral Centres to do so.
The Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar described rape as traumatic for the victims and called for the severe punishment of sex offenders.
“Except the appropriate penalty is meted out to sex offenders, they will continue to be on the prowl,” he said.
Gunmen kill Soldier, Abduct Housewife, 8 Children in Kaduna
Gunmen attacked the residence of a Kaduna State University lecturer, Dr Ahmed Buba, in Zaria, Kaduna State, on Monday and seized his six children.
The gunmen also shot a soldier, Ebuka Okechukwu dead.
They abducted Rabi Isya, Dr Buba’s neighbour’s wife and two of her children.
The bandits were, however, intercepted on Tuesday.
A highly reliable source said the bandits numbered about 30; they were armed
with sophisticated weapons with which they shot sporadically into the air as they attacked the community.
“The joint personnel of Kaduna State Vigilance Service, the military and the police swiftly responded to a distress call.
“On sighting the security personnel, the bandits opened fire and in the process killed the soldier,’’ the source said.
Malam Haruna Shika a resident of the area said the six kidnapped children were rescued at Kasuwan Da’a in Zaria local government area.
Reacting to the incident on Tuesday, Lt. Joy Abah, Acting Assistant Director, Army Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Army Depot, Zaria, said the information on the death of the soldier had not reached her.
All-day-long attempts to get the police to react were abortive as police spokesman in the state refused to respond to calls and to text messages. (NAN)
One Shot Dead at Isoko, Delta, Bye-election
Gunmen allegedly shot a local vigilante dead at Saturday’s Isoko South Local Government Area Constituency I bye-election for the Delta House of Assembly.
Acting police spokesman in Delta, DSP Bright Edafe confirmed the development to newsmen in Warri.
Edafe, who did not explain how the incident happened, said the dead must have been hit by stray bullet.
An eyewitness said that the incident happened at about 3:15 p.m at Irri Ward 10, Unit 5, adding that the hoodlums were probably on a mission to snatch thumb printed ballot papers used for the election.
“The hoodlums armed with sophisticated weapons shot sporadically into the air to scare away voters before one of them shot at the victim for a reason that could yet be ascertained,’’ he said.
There was impressive turnout of voters at the bye-election.
The distribution of election materials from the Registration Area Centres (RACs) to the various collation centres and polling units began in good time.
Electors who included youths and elders flooded their respective polling units to exercise their franchise.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bye-election was to fill the seat occupied by late Mr Kenneth Ogba until June.
NAN also reports that there was impressive compliance to the restriction of movement order by the Commissioner of Police, Delta Command, Mr Ari Ali.
There were few vehicles particularly those on essential duties on the roads while security personnel manned strategic locations, polling units and hot spots.
Mr Monday Efe, an elector at Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South said INEC began the movement of materials at about 3p.m. on Friday.
The Presiding Officer at Unit 16, Mercy Akeredolu, said that the early arrival of materials informed the smooth exercise, adding that accreditation started at exactly 8.30 a.m. at her unit.
Also, Mr Goddy Igorigo, an elector at Irri Unit 14, Ward 11, lauded INEC on the early distribution of voting materials.
Mr Constantine Ikpokpo, a former Chairman of Isoko South Local Government Council and Director-General, PDP Campaign Organisation in Isoko South Constituency One, described the performance of INEC as “impressive and exceptional’’.
Ikpokpo who spoke shortly after casting his vote also commended INEC on the early arrival of materials.
“INEC has tried two things differently; firstly, materials arrived two days before the election
“The only hiccup I am getting right now from some units is that the machines are not working.
“I am sure that the situation will be rectified as soon as possible,’’ Ikpokpo said.
Mr Ross Uredi at Irri Unit 6, Ward 11 applauded the turnout of voters and the general conduct of the election. (NAN)
FCT Police Ban Tinted Vehicles, Covered Number Plates
By Gom Mirian, Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police command has placed a ban on the use of tinted vehicles and covered number plates within the FCT, saying violators would be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
The Commissioner of Police FCT Command, CP Babaji Sunday made this known on Friday, in Abuja while parading 26 arrested suspects for their involvement in crimes ranging from kidnapping, drug trafficking, car theft, armed robbery, among others sundry crimes.
Babaji said operatives from Dawaki Police Division acting on a tip-off arrested one Danjuma Mohammed age 38 years, in possession of two AK 47 rifles and sixty (60) rounds of live ammunitions while transporting exhibits.
“Consequent upon his arrest, Police investigation led to the arrest of Yahaya Musa 47 years and Shagari Ahmadu 42 years who are members of the same syndicate which specializes in kidnapping their victims for ransom around Bwari/ Kwali axis of the FCT.
” During a clearance operation launched at their camp in Bwari axis, Police operatives from Bwari Division recovered two (2) AK 47 rifles and ninety (90) rounds of live ammunition abandoned by the suspects who escaped the camp on sighting the operatives.
“On 27th August, 2021, the Command’s anti-car theft section arrested one David Friday 25 years and his accomplice Moses Benjamin 34 years for stealing a Toyota corolla car at Goza market, Airport road.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the car belongs to his employer and the suspect fabricated a spare key of the car which he handed over to his accomplice to steal the said car from where it was parked. The car has been recovered. The suspects will be arraigned in court upon conclusion of investigation”.
Babaji who expressed satisfaction in operations conducted by its operatives in recent weeks, said the command has recorded a major mile-stone in its on-going fight against crime, with the smashing of a notorious kidnapping syndicate where positive arrests were made and arms and ammunitions were recovered.
According to him, exhibits recovered from the suspects during the well coordinated operation include; four AK47 rifles, one locally fabricated pistol, fifteen magazine rifles, 1,750 of 7.62 live ammunitions, one stolen but recovered car, twenty bags of dried leaves suspected to be Indian hemp, eight preferably metals, five knives/ machetes and sticks among other items.
While appealing to FCT residents to be more security conscious, provide timely information in case of emergency, said, the Command has massively deployed personnel to flash points in and around the FCT.
“As a follow up to this, we have intensified vehicular and foot patrols, diligent stop and search operations, intelligence-based crime fighting strategies and constant raids on blackspots especially drug spots.
” Furthermore, in line with global standard shift in policing, the Command has continued to improve upon its community policing strategies by regularly engaging the community to provide actionable intelligence for proactive policing within the Federal Capital Territory”, he said
The Commissioner however, sounded a note of warning to criminal elements within the FCT to desist from their criminal activities or face the full wrath of the law.
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