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Sexual Harassment: FG To Establish Mobile Courts To Prosecute Offenders

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The Federal Government is planning to establish mobile courts to address issues relating to sexual harassment.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, made this known at a one-day National Stakeholder’s Engagement on Sexual Harassment Prevention on Tuesday in Abuja.

The event was organized by the ICPC in collaboration with the Gender Mobile Initiative.

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She decried the high rate of sexual harassment, especially in tertiary institutions across the country but added that the measures being put in place would tackle the menace.

Sexual harassment is not relegated to tertiary institutions alone but even in primary and secondary schools, which are often carried out by teachers and sometimes among pupils.

“We are also working in collaboration with hotel owners to deny access to under-aged children from lodging and report any such attempts to security operatives to curb the terrible sexual harassment problems.”

She urged stakeholders to rise up to the challenge by ensuring that sexual harassment is brought to the barest minimum to address the problems of stigmatisation, and low self-esteem among victims.

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Speaking, the Chairman of the ICPC, Dr Musa Aliyu Aliyu, raised the concern that until there are heavy consequences on offenders, the menace will continue to be on the increase.

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Aliyu, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, noted that sexual harassment and other related societal ills, including gender discrimination, are tarnishing the nation’s reputation.

Only a consistent, persistent, focused and united campaign can ensure that the challenge of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is decisively addressed.

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“ICPC had a few years ago, in line with its commitment to addressing all forms of corruption, including abuse of office via sexual harassment, with the support of the Ford Foundation, executed a project aimed at curbing this societal malaise.

“One of the expected outcomes of that project was the drafting of model anti-sexual harassment policies for various levels of educational institutions,’’ he said.

He said that the commission engaged the Gender Mobile Initiative to draft a model policy for tertiary institutions and the Federal Ministry of Education approved the policies for primary and tertiary institutions.

The policies are not necessarily meant to be adopted word for word by stakeholders.

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“Instead, it is expected that although they may be adopted wholly by any institution that so desires, they should serve as guidelines for what a comprehensive policy should contain’’.

He reminded participants to always keep in mind that anyone, irrespective of status, designation, or gender, staff or student, can be a victim of sexual harassment, and likewise, anyone could be a perpetrator.

It is a notorious fact that Nigeria has so many laws and policies, but many of them are not being correctly implemented.

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“Therefore, proper implementation of the model policies cannot be over-emphasized. The success of this initiative largely depends on the active participation and commitment of stakeholders,’’.

The founder and Executive Director of the Gender Mobile Initiative, Omowumi Ogunrotimi, urged stakeholders to think about a prevention framework rather than a response framework.

“That is why we are in collaboration with ICPC to see that the policy we designed together will be a product of extensive community engagement.

READ ALSO: Chinua Achebe’s Daughter Wins Harvard Medical School Award

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“As far back as 2019, 2020, we had a national conference where we validated this policy.

“This was with a critical mass of stakeholders in the room across the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education NBTE and even the student community.

“The policies centre on leadership, participation, aspiration and experiences of persons who are mostly affected by the structural inequity, and that is the student community.

“We really look to moving this forward from here because we know in Nigeria, when policies are made, they do not automatically translate into implementation.

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“That is why we have drawn participants from far and wide, over 25 Commissioners of Education from States of the federation to participate in this programme.”

NAN

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Three Nigerians sentenced To 235 Years In US Prison

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A court in Mississippi, United States of America has sentenced three Nigerians to 235 years in prison.

The jury found all the three personguilty of mail fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, credit card fraud and theft of government property.

Oladimeji Seun Ayelotan, 30, was sentenced to 95 years in prison, while Rasaq Aderoju Raheem, 31, got 115 years jail term.

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READ ALSO: Applicants Decry N640,000 UAE Visa Fee Hike

Also, Femi Alexander Mewase, 45, received 25 years in jail.

They were convicted for running online scams.

They were said to have duped people of tens of millions of dollars.

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Deadly Blaze Kills Even In France

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An apartment building blaze early Thursday killed seven people in the southern French city of Nice and police were investigating the fire as a possible arson, authorities said.

The dead include three children – 5, 7 and 10 years old – and a 17-year-old teenager who tried to escape by jumping from a window, they said.

The apartment was occupied by a family believed to have Comoran origins, the regional prefect Hugues Moutouh said, referring to the southern African island nature.

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Ten people were inside when the fire broke out.

Rescuers were alerted at around 2:30 am (0030 GMT) to the blaze on the seventh floor of the building in the low-income neighbourhood of Les Moulins, known for being a drug-dealing hub, in the west of the city.

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In spite of the substantial resources deployed, “unfortunately seven people died during this fire”, firefighters said.

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Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on social media that the quick arrival of firefighters “probably prevented more deaths”.

Nice prosecutor Damien Martinelli said investigators were looking into a “criminal” cause for the fire.

“In light of the initial evidence, I have opened an investigation into acts of arson leading to death,” he told reporters at the scene.

The authorities said the blaze probably broke out on the building’s second floor and spread to higher floors.

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Rescuers said that three people were taken to hospital, one of them with life-threatening injuries.

They said firefighters were confronted by a “raging apartment fire” on the seventh floor of the building. They carried out three aerial ladder rescues and evacuated dozens.

In total, 25 fire engines and 72 firefighters tackled the fire.

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Twenty people were evacuated to a temporary shelter, with Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi saying a crisis unit to help anyone affected by the fire.

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Biden Speaks Of Quitting Presidential Race If…

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US President Joe Biden said he could drop his reelection bid if doctors found he had a medical condition, as a top Democrat on Wednesday urged the 81-year-old to step aside.

Biden’s comments were the first time he has even slightly opened the door to abandoning the White House race, and came as Representative Adam Schiff, a key ally from California, urged Biden to “pass the torch.”

“If I had some medical condition that emerged, if somebody, if the doctors came and said ‘you’ve got this problem, that problem,’” Biden told the Black media outlet BET in an interview taped Tuesday, when asked what could make him rethink.

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Biden however defended his decision to stay on for a rematch with Republican Donald Trump in November, and explained why he had not handed over to a younger generation after one term.

READ ALSO: Biden Falters In Fiery Debate With Trump

“I said I was going to be a transitional candidate, and I thought I’d be able to move on from this, pass it on to someone else,” he said. “But I didn’t anticipate things getting so, so, so divided.”

Biden has been fighting for political survival since a disastrous debate against Trump nearly three weeks ago, in which his tired and confused appearance sparked concerns about his age.

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Schiff became the first Democrat to call for him to step aside since the assassination attempt against Trump on Saturday, which had briefly silenced the growing chorus against Biden.

READ ALSO: Russian Oil Depot Gutted By Fire After Ukrainian Drone Attack

A second Trump presidency will undermine the very foundation of our democracy, and I have serious concerns about whether the President can defeat Donald Trump in November,” Schiff said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.

Schiff, who is expected to win a Senate seat this November, is a key White House ally in the legislature and shot to nationwide prominence as lead prosecutor during then-president Trump’s first impeachment trial.

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Biden was set to make a fresh attempt to prop up his candidacy in a speech to crucial Latino voters in the battleground state of Nevada later Wednesday.

– ‘Pretty damn good’ –

Around 20 House Democrats and one senator have now called on Biden to leave the White House race but Biden has refused, insisting he is best placed to beat Trump.

READ ALSO: Ex-Rep Rejects Membership Of Edo APC Gov Campaign Council

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Biden, Trump agree to election debates in June, September
Most polls show Biden trailing in a tight race, with Trump pulling ahead in key swing states but no dramatic movement since the debate debacle or shooting.

Biden said his mental acuity was “pretty damn good” in an NBC interview on Monday, one of a series of unscripted outings aimed at showing he has what it takes.

With pressure on Biden mounting, Democrats said on Wednesday they plan a virtual nomination for the president in the first week of August, ahead of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on August 19.

Some Democrats have slammed the scheme, accusing the party of trying to ram through Biden’s candidacy and avoid a full discussion of alternative choices.

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Party chiefs say they need to carry out the virtual roll-call by August 7, which is the deadline set by the Republican-led state of Ohio for the submission of nominations.

Biden otherwise risks not being on the ballot in Ohio, the home state of Trump’s new running mate J.D. Vance.

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While Ohio’s governor has signed a law giving Biden more time, the DNC said it feared further legal challenges.

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“None of this will be rushed,” the heads of the DNC’s rules committee said in a letter to lawmakers obtained by AFP. “No matter what may be reported, our goal is not to fast-track.”

But several lawmakers are planning to sign a letter against the virtual nomination plan and others have criticized it, according to US media.

Biden insists that Democratic voters support him, but a poll by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research said Wednesday that nearly two-thirds want him to step aside.

 

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