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Criminal Justice system: LASG working to meet citizens expectations — CJ

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The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, said that the state government was working hard to meet the expectations of the citizens in their quest for justice.

Oke said this on Tuesday in Lagos during a one-day workshop on criminal justice, with the theme: “Appraisal of Current Criminal Justice Regime in Lagos State“.

The workshop was organised by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council.

According to Oke, regardless of daunting challenge in having successful criminal justice reforms, the state government is working seriously to meet the expectations of the citizens.

The state was also ensuring that litigants get the best justice system and experience, the Chief Judge said.

She said that some of the challenges facing criminal justice reforms in Lagos included lack of access to good counsel by indigent citizens, media trial by security agencies, inadequate funding and inadequate trained prosecutors, among others.

The chief judge called on stakeholders in justice sector for support, stressing that reform could only be actualised through inter-agency cooperation and collaboration.

“As far as efficient and effective administration of criminal justice is concerned, this cannot be achieved without collaboration and cooperation of all stakeholders in the sector.

“The importance of criminal justice to the smooth running of any society cannot be overemphasised. Indeed, an effective criminal justice system is regarded by many as germane to the maintenance of law and order,’’ she said.

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said implementing the reform in criminal justice and maintaining law in a highly populated state like Lagos was not an easy task.

Kazeem said his expectations from the workshop included discussion on new trend and reforms that had worked, not just in other parts of Nigeria but also other jurisdictions.

He said their discussions should particularly looked into options of the traditional judiciary system and efforts at decongesting the prisons.

The commissioner said measures of post-conviction geared at rehabilitating convicts whilst preparing them for integration should likewise be discussed.

A representative of RoLAC, Dr Oluwatoyin Dadejogun, said criminal justice system must be able to respond with a heart, one that flowed with the milk of human kindness.

He said it should be able to discern and respond with a reformative objective in mind, stressing that the rule that regulate the system were made by people.

“The system at the end of the day should reflect the premium placed on human life and dignity, safety, security on victim of crime, on offender, and social harmony or cohesion,’’ he said.

Dadejogun commended Lagos State Judiciary for championing reform in criminal justice administration in the state and Nigeria as a whole.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that participants were drawn from the Ministry of justice, Nigerian Bar Association, police prosecutors, Magistrates and High Courts Judges in Lagos.

Moses Omorogieva: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

General news

Coronavirus: It is criminal not to wear masks – Iwu

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The Chairman of Imo State TaskForce on COVID-19, Prof. Maurice Iwu, says it is criminal for people not to wear face mask considering the way COVID-19 pandemic is spreading recently.

Iwu made the assertion on Tuesday in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the recent activities of the team in the state.

He said that his team was in Government House to present “The Imo Taskforce COVID-19 Report” to the state Gov. Hope Uzodimma, indicating the end to the first phase of the fight against the pandemic.

He said the team had entered the second phase of the fight against the pandemic, a phase he said. would be more dangerous and which called for more adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.

“We have ended the first phase of our assignment which dealt mainly on the fight against the virus and preventing it from entering into the state and has handed the report to the governor.

“The second phase is very important, but more dangerous which majors mainly on stopping community transmission of the virus with the involvement of every segment of the society,” he said.

The taskforce chairman said his team had met and deliberated on how best to tackle the virus from spreading.

He said that 2,064 people had been tested for the virus in the state, noting that while 389 of the number came out positive, 365 were negative and blamed the increase in number to peoples’ complacent attitude.

According to him, “people are yet to come to terms with the existence of COVID-19. They say they are yet to have the identity of people that have it, see them before they could believe, which is a very dangerous position to take.

“This second phase of the fight is critical and calls for people to observe the COVID-19 protocol of hand washing with soap under running water, use of alcohol based sanitiser, social distancing and wearing of face mask.

“I want to say that it is criminal for one not to wear a face mask at this stage. It is not very okay to wear only the shield, but you have to combine it with face mask for effectiveness.

“My team and I in this second phase, is trying to strategise on how best to stop the virus from spreading. It is a very difficult and a dangerous phase all together in the fight against COVID-19.”

Iwu said the report presented to the governor catalougued all that the team had done in the fight against the virus in the last few months and what the virus was all about which would be useful for research and other academic works.  

Á

Edited By: Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Gov. Ortom warns against criminality in Benue

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Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue has warned those involved in crime in the state to refrain from such nefarious activities or have the long arm of the law catch up with them.

Ortom gave the warning on Tuesday in Makurdi while briefing newsmen after the State Security Council Meeting.

The governor said there was no hiding place for them in the state hence the need to desist forthwith from indulging in criminal activities.

He said that the security operatives in the state were fully prepared to go after criminals and fish them out wherever they might be hiding.

“I call on the public to support the security agencies by providing useful information that will enable them apprehend criminals.

“I also call on stakeholders to come together so that we can fight criminality in the state.

“Government and security operatives alone cannot do it. We need cooperation from all and sundry in order to surmount the ugly challenge,” he said.

The governor commended all the security operatives in the state for fighting criminality head on, stressing that their synergy had paid off greatly.

“Anybody that will provide useful information that will lead to the arrest of the most wanted criminal in Benue, Terwase Agwaza, popularly known as Gana, will be handsomely rewarded with N50 million.

“We are ready to give the money to whoever will make useful information available that will enable the security agencies apprehend Agwaza,” he said.

The governor commended the council chairmen for their efforts in tackling criminality in their areas.

He particularly appreciated the chairman of Ado local council for taking proactive steps that brought about peace in the area.

Ortom enjoined other chairmen to emulate the council boss for the overall good of the state.

Edited /Oluwole Sogunle

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Politics

Senate passes Criminal Code Bill, maintains gender neutrality for rape, sexual offences

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The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill for an Act to amend the Criminal Code Act 2004.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the passage of the bill followed consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

The bill if assented into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, would broaden the definition of rape and sexual offences.

Amendment to Section 357 of the principal Act, specifically substitutes the words ‘woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent’, with the words, ‘any person, without consent, or with consent.

The bill also seeks to protect mentally challenged persons from sexual defilement and rape through an amendment to section 221 of the principal Act.

An attempt by Sen.Uche Ekwunife (PDP – Anambra Central) to effect an amendment to section 357 to define persons susceptible to rape to accommodate “married and unmarried persons” was rejected by the lawmakers during the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill.

The upper chamber while retaining the provision of Section 364 of the principal Act, however, expunged the gender specific term “him” and substituted same with “such person” in defining the punishment for the offence of kidnapping.

Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele (APC – Ekiti Central), in his lead debate said the piece of legislation would address the lingering issues of status of limitation in the prosecution of rape.

Also in defilement cases and the incessant kidnapping menace, which are on the rise, in recent times.

According to him,contrary to views by those opposing the passage of the bill by the National Assembly, on ground that its passage would usurp the powers of the states to legislate on the subject matter, the bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code Act of 1916 and not Criminal Code of the States.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Ibadan most wanted criminal gang leader, Ebila, killed

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The leader of the “One million boys” gang and most wanted Ibadan criminal, Biola Ebila, has been killed by the police.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Oyo State, SP Olugbenga Fadeyi, confirmed the death of Ebila in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Ibadan.

Fadeyi, however, said that he does not have the details and manner in which the deceased was killed.

He said: “The information reaching me from the Divisional Police Officer, Idi-Arere, revealed that his corpse and that of his colleagues who confronted the policemen strategically deployed to that axis were brought with a tricycle to Kudeti area.

“At that instance, two of their members were also arrested, so they retrieved and brought the corpses to the station.

“He has been on the wanted list of the police and the police have been trailing him.

“What actually transpired and details on how he was killed, I don’t have it now, but he has been confirmed dead.’’

NAN reports that Ebila, who had been on the wanted list of Oyo State Police Command was reportedly killed around Olomi area of Ibadan.

The deceased was declared wanted by the State Police Command for alleged involvement in the murder of another Ibadan gang leader, Ekugbemi, on May 12.

(
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Defence/Security

FG will continue fighting all criminalities to standstill, says Defence Minister

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FG will continue fighting criminalities to standstill, says Defence Minister

Fight

Faskari (Katsina State) The Minister of Defence, Major-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd), on Saturday said that the Federal Government would not rest on its oars in the fight against all forms of criminalities in the country.

Magashi stated this during the 2020 Army Day celebration/ Inauguration of Compendium on Transformation of the Nigerian Army under the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Burutai in Faskari Local Government of Katsina State.

He explained that the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari would not leave any stone unturned to fight in all trouble spots in the country.

The minister said “these include the fight against the Boko Haram terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, armed robbery, pipe line vandalism, among others”.

Magashi said that President Buhari equally assured that all the obligations of the Nigerians Army would be discharged to them to boost their morale.

He commended CoAS, officers and men of Army for their dedication, obedience and loyalty in the fight against insurgency and all forms of criminalities across the nation.

“Let me state categorically clearly here that the nation has remained indebted to the Nigerian Army and all the other members of the armed forces in the fight to secure the country,” the minister said.

Earlier in a remark, Burutai said that he had improved the efficiency and operations of the Nigerian Army since his assumption of office from 2015 to date.

He stated that the officers and men had deployed new skills and techniques in their operations as result of his transformation, courtesy of the support and cooperation he was receiving from the Buhari administration.

The Chairman of the Central Planning Committee, Maj-Gen Nuhu Angbazo, GOC 3 Armoured Division, Jos, Plateau, thanked officers and men from other arms of the military and the entire members of the public for gracing the occasion.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that AVM IO Amao representated the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadeeq Abubakar, while Rear Admiral TT Dakuut, represented the Chief of Naval Staff at the occasion.

Nine officers and seven soldiers were given the CoAS Award for their gallantry and bravery which promoted the Nigerian Army

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

NSCDC parades 17 suspects over criminal activities in Nasarawa

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Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nasarawa State Command on Friday paraded 17 suspected criminals for various offences committed in some parts of the state.

Mr Mohammed Mahmoud-Fari, Commander of NSCDC in the state made this known while parading the suspects in Lafia.

Mahmoud-Fari said the suspects committed crimes such as rape, theft, cybercrime and vandalism.

He explained that five of the suspects were arrested for rape, one for armed robbery, two for vandalism, seven for theft and the remaining two for cybercrime and criminal breach of trust.

“We have five suspected rapists. The worst part is that one of them is suspected of raping a six-year-old girl while another raped a seven-year-old girl.

“The other one impregnated a 13-year-old girl and one suspected homosexual who defiled an 11-year-old boy.

“Then we have one suspected case of armed robbery, and two suspected vandals who vandalised railway materials. We also have seven suspected theft of different kinds.

“We have two cyber criminals who use their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards to withdraw money from people’s accounts,” he said.

Mahmoud-Fari said that most of them had already confessed to the crimes and would soon be charged to court to face justice.

“Most of them were arrested in Lafia excluding those who use their ATM cards to withdraw money from accounts. One was arrested in Keffi, another in Lafia,” he said.

The NSCDC commander gave an assurance that the command would continue to work hard to rid the society of criminal elements.

He, however, appealed to the public for support through useful information on activities of criminal elements in their communities.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

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General news

We’ll make Kogi safe from crime, criminality, Govt. assures citizens

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The Kogi government has restated its commitment to ensuring that the state is safe from all forms of crime and criminality.

The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, said this in a statement issued on Friday in Lokoja.

He stressed the need for all stakeholders and citizens to come together and rededicate themselves to the system that had earned Kogi commendations as one of best states in the area of security.

”It is time for all of us to come together to rededicate ourselves and thrust our trust in the system that has earned us commendations as one of the best states in the area of security.

”The latest onslaught against our state and our people is unfortunate and sad. We stand with the families that lost their loved ones and breadwinners to the cowards in the garbs of criminals. They won’t lose their lives in vain.

”The state government wishes to also allay the fears of travellers on our roads. Our style is not different from the global standards, which stipulate that security strategies must not become a public product.

”But we are doing everything any responsible government should do to ensure security of lives and property of our people,” Fanwo said.

He sympathised with the armed forces for the personnel who were lost to the men of the underworld.

The commissioner assured that the losses would not bend government’s resolve to make the state a hard place for criminals to perpetrate their heinous crimes.

”It is no time for anyone to spread rumours and trade blames or release travel directories that could drive fears into our people.

”This administration, under the leadership of Gov. Yahaya Bello, will change the narrative in a couple of days,” Fanwo said.

He assured that high level security plans and strategies had been put in place to reappraise the situation and devise new security architecture to address the ugly trend.

The commissioner added: ”Our security agents have the capacity to stamp the pockets of criminal activities out of the state. We are winning the war.

”We urge the people of Kogi to support our efforts, plans and the security agencies in order to reestablish our capacity to ensure security across the state.

”To our people, government is with you. Our roads are safe, as security personnel have been deployed to handle the emerging threats and for effective intelligence gathering to ensure that our people are safe while travelling on our roads.”

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Defence/Security

No foothold for criminal gangs in Kwara, says Gov. AbdulRazaq

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Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has vowed that his administration would not tolerate any killer gangs in the state.

The governor declared this in Ilorin in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr Rafiu Ajakaye.

“The Governor warns that while the state government welcomes every Nigerian who wishes to make a decent living in Kwara.

“There would be zero tolerance for any individual or group of individuals to make life unbearable for others,” AbdulRazaq said.

The statement said the government has mobilised security agencies to Baruten Local Government Area to dislodge a group of suspected criminals who reportedly came from a neighbouring state and camped in a forest in the area.  

“The government’s proactive steps have resulted in the immediate dislodgement of the suspected criminals.

“The government commends the Nigerian Army for helping to rid the area of the suspected criminals.

“Members of the public are urged to be vigilant and to always volunteer information in record time to continue to keep Kwara safe,” the statement added. 

 

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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General news

Stakeholders, psychologist say criminalisation of seafarers has psychological implications – Stakeholders, Psychologist

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Seafarers

By Chiazo Ogbolu

Lagos, July 9, 2020 (NAN) Mr Chidi Ilogu, President, Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA), says criminalisation of seafarers when there are issues in a vessel has psychological implications.

Ilogu made the assertion at a Seafarers Global Conference Webinar with theme: “Seafarers Welfare:Are we Missing the Boat?”, organised by the Mission to Seafarers Lagos (MTSL) on Thursday.

He added that such situation, which is part of the challenges faced by seafarers, arose when a maritime dispute or robbery took place, leading to a vessel being arrested.

According to him, this exposes seafarers to a long stay in the port and considering the hazardous nature of their jobs, they cannot travel home and this affects them psychologically.

“A vessel can also be arrested and detained by the Navy when it is carrying crude oil without authorisation and this can take up to six to nine months before it is resolved and seafarers at times charged for it.

“Collective arrest is done by a security official even when there is a piracy attack and this exposes the seafarer to many hazards,” Ilogu said.

Mr Ibrahim Jibril, Director of Maritime Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said that unfortunately, activities of pirates greatly affected seafarers in which some were alleged to work with the pirates.

According to him, seafarers are arrested with the pirates without charging them to court and this is not good for their mental health due to the nature of their job.

He added that to restore their confidence, the new Anti-piracy Law would bring succour to seafaring and seafarers in the country.

He noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, NIMASA came up with a marine notice declaring them essential service providers, saying that as regards repatriating crew, it lied on shipowners.

Discussing on issues faced by seafarers on international scene, Mr Ben Bailey, Director of Advocacy International Centre, MTS London, said that lack of communication was the biggest challenge seafarers faced.

He noted that restriction during the COVID-19 had a drastic impact on their mental health, urging that repatriation should be approached with much sensitivity.

Prof. Ayodele Coker, a Clinical Psychologist, Lagos State University College of Medicine, noted that welfare of a seafarer was in tandem with the mental health.

According to him, seafarers are faced with depression, loneliness, abandonment, suicide and others and these affects their mental health and leads to disorder.

“Twenty five per cent of seafarers suffer from depression; 15 per cent commits suicide in a year and so they need psychological interaction.

“The medical personnel on the ship should be aware of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and policy makers, shipowners should ensure that there is reduction in the stigma associated with mental disorder,” he said.

Mrs Margret Orakwusi, President, Shipowners Forum, said that lack of safety of seafarers on our waterways was what bothered them, urging government to look into the search and rescue missions.

“The welfare of seafarers is a give and take situation. When they are at sea, they are our problems and we have lost seamen due to piracy attacks; we are now bearing the burdens of their families.

“It is the responsibility of government to provide safe environment for business to thrive; security and safety that affect activities of seamen,” she said.

Mr Aminu Umar, Managing Director, Sea Transport Group, said that during the COVID-19, there were issues with changing crew due to the difficulties experienced in testing the crew to ensure they had no virus before boarding or disembarking the vessel.

The Chairman of the Mission to Seafarers Lagos (MTSL), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, called for support not only from regulatory organisations but also from private organisations to ensure that seafarers were given the needed support. (NAN)

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Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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