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Don’t settle rape cases outside court, Akwa Ibom First Lady begs monarchs

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The wife of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Martha Emmanuel, has urged traditional rulers in the state not to succumb to the temptation of settling rape cases out of court.

The First Lady who spoke at the commencement of the ongoing 16-days-of-activism with the theme, ‘Orange the World’ held at Ibom hall Uyo said all rape cases should be channeled to the court.

According to her, ‘I’m here to plead with our traditional fathers never to settle rape cases out of court. Giving a fine of goat or drink to a man that commits the crime of rape should not be encouraged.

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“Matters of rape should go to the appropriate place, that is court. No one should be spared. We will ensure that person is convicted, no matter how highly placed he is, he will be brought down unless the case is not reported.”

She, however, called for the establishment of special courts that would handle cases bothering on issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, as well as a legislative amendment that would accommodate the court.

The governor’s wife, who admitted that the specialized court would not eradicate incidents of GBV, noted that the establishment of the court would help to facilitate and hasten judgment as she regretted that cases were being unduly prolonged in normal court despite the selfless efforts of judges.

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Speaking earlier, the keynote speaker, Idorenyin Eyo, noted that the special court would ensure seamless and speedy adjudication of cases that bother on sexual and gender-based violence adding that such courts would be manned by fearless judges, lawyers, staff specially trained on SGBV matters.

She said the special court would have comprehensive court rules devoid of unnecessary technicalities, ambiguities, and procedures that take place in the regular court.

She said, “Unfortunately, in Nigeria, litigation drags for so many years despite the selfless services of our judges. Some eventually dismissed the offenders who later walk around freely and collected chieftaincy.”

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Policeman, businessman killed as youth gangs clash in Minna

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One policeman and a businessman have been killed as a result of gang fights which has become a norm within Minna, the Niger State capital, as the government and security agencies seem to be unable to find a solution to these fights that have led to the loss of lives and properties.

The fight is usually between youths of different areas who choose the streets of Minna as their battlefield.

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Security personnel were able to quell the clash which started on Thursday between the youth of Limawa and Ogbomosho areas.

On Friday morning, they regrouped and disrupted the Minna central area, dispersing business owners who had to lock their shops and scamper to safety.

Our correspondent gathered that in the process of the clash, one of the traders whose shop is located along Ogbomosho Road was stabbed and later died in the hospital.

There are conflicting reports on how the policeman died. While some said he was mistakenly killed by his colleague, others said it was the clashing youths that killed him.

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The policeman was said to have been among those drafted to the area to control the clash and protect other citizens.

The majority of the shops in the area have remained closed.

Gang clashes have become frequent in Minna, making residents and commuters live in fear as the fights occur on major roads with the gang members fighting with stones and knives.

Residents usually get attacked, injured, have their goods stolen while windshields of cars get shattered in the course of such fights.

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A call put through to the Niger State Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, went unanswered as of the time of filing this report.

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Buhari passes verdict on El-Rufai: What is it?

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday continued the inauguration of projects executed by the Kaduna State Government, with stops at Zaria, heaping encomiums on Governor Nasir El-Rufai saying, ‘‘I am pleased to be associated with your successes and initiatives.’’

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Speaking at the palace of the Emir of Zazzau, Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, the President noted that within the context of scarce resources and prevailing economic reality, the Kaduna State government has done well for the people.

‘‘As they say in Hausa ‘Gani ya Kori ji’ (seeing is believing),’’ he said.

The President, who is on a four-day official visit to the State, had on Thursday commissioned projects in Kafanchan and Kaduna metropolis in the State.

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On Friday in Zaria, the northern senatorial district of Kaduna, the President inaugurated the remodelled Sabon Gari market with 3,400 shops; the Circular road with two spurs on River road and Kufena road; and the Queen Elizabeth way.

At the Sabon-Gari market, President Buhari, while appreciating the governor for rebuilding one of the oldest markets in the State and paying compensation of over N300 million to traders, jocularly said he would consider opening a consultancy service in the market, where a ‘‘Presidential Block’’ is named after him.

In his remarks, Governor El-Rufai recalled that in August 2019, the President was in Zaria to commission Phase 2 of the Zaria water project, providing a basic amenity that was not available for residents of Zaria for over 30 years.

‘‘Our State is an agricultural State and this Emirate is associated with farming. We know Mr President’s passion for agriculture and we are grateful you appointed a son of the State to head the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

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‘‘We look forward to more agricultural interventions in the State,’’ the Governor said, pledging that the people of Kaduna and their elected representatives will continue to stand by the principles and values associated with the President: honesty, integrity and commitment to public service.

The Emir of Zazzau thanked the President for the intervention of the Federal Ministry of Health in providing a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at Ahamdu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, in line with the desire of the people of Zazzau.

‘‘Today our people don’t have to travel to Kano, Sokoto or Abuja for medical screening with MRI machine,’’ he said.

The first class traditional ruler commended Governor Nasir El-Rufai for the Urban Renewal Projects embarked upon by his administration, acknowledging that the Emir of Zazzau’s Palace which has been in existence for centuries, was a major beneficiary of the projects.

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‘‘We will be grateful if Mr President will thank and bless our Governor for the gigantic legacy project ongoing in the Place. Equally, Zaria people have benefitted in other areas like road construction and bridges which have expanded road networks as well as decongested traffic significantly,’’ he said.

On security, the Emir, while acknowledging the efforts of the government, solicited for more intervention by the Federal Government in the area, noting that Zaria emirate is a gateway to all the States in the North West as well neighbouring Niger Republic.

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