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Legal Aid Council calls for speedy trial of inmates to decongest prisons



The Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LAC) has called for speedy dispensation of cases involving inmates on awaiting trial to address prison congestion.

Mr Aliyu Abubakar, LAC’s Director-General made the call on Monday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen.

He said that the delay in the dispensation of criminal cases hugely contributed to the overcrowding of the prisons.

“Prisons as public correctional institutions are established by government to keep suspects and convicts, but the poor management in trial of inmates has led to overcrowding.

“Prison overcrowding is a social phenomenon that can occur when the demand for space in prisons in a jurisdiction exceeds the capacity of such facility,” he said.

Abubakar further said that the issue of congested prisons facilities across the nation could be resolved with speedy justice system.

“Prison congestion has become a serious problem, some inmates are only there because they can not meet bail conditions.

“ A large percentage of them are also there for no reason of their own but because of system inadequacies,” he said.

The LAC DG expressed worries that underage persons were being detained in some prison facilities in the country.

“This ought not be so, there should be detention centres to accommodate underage offenders to prevent them from mixing up with hardened prisoners.

Abubakar decried the level of infrastructure decay in some prison cells across the country, saying: “this is part of the reason many inmates awaiting trials languish in prison”

“It is sad that our investigative authorities lack the necessary capacity, it is a good practice to investigate matters before arresting suspects.

“What we mostly see here is arrest and detention before investigation, this is not very good, but it can be made better,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that LAC seeks to promote equal access to justice and the protection of constitutional rights for all.


Physician advocates legalising abortion, use of contraceptives to stem unwanted pregnancy



A resident doctor, Dr Obinna Aniagboso, says effective family planning methods would help reduce unwanted pregnancies and risks associated with unsafe abortions.

Aniagboso, an Obstetrics and Gynaecology expert at the Chukwuemeka Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Thursday.

He also said that legalising abortion would help drastically reduce mortality, morbidity and infertility amongst women.

According to him, while awareness about family planning is about 80 per cent, its acceptance among the people is still as low as 20 per cent.

The gynaecologist blamed the poor embrace of contraceptives, which he said was the most effective planning method, on religious belief systems, ignorance and fear of side effects.

He said that withdrawal method and other natural method used by many people often failed and was contributing immensely to unwanted pregnancies, illegal abortion and population surge.

“Awareness on family planning is close to 80 per cent but acceptance is less than 20 per cent.

“Most patients shy away for religious reasons, ignorance and fear of side effects, including weight gain and irregular spotting.

“The use of contraceptives is very unpopular; only a few educated women do family planning, and funnily, lots of husbands advise their wives against it.

“We advocate the use of contraceptive as the most reliable method of spacing families and avoiding unplanned pregnancies.

“Some couples use withdrawal and natural methods that involve avoiding intercourse during the wife’s fertile period, but these methods are prone to mistakes,’’ he said.

Aniagboso told NAN that the issue of unwanted pregnancies had increased the demand for abortion by the sexually active female population.

He regretted that the stringent abortion law in Nigeria had denied these people expert services and left them at the mercy of quacks with its attendant danger that includes post-abortion sepsis, which could eventually cause infertility.

The medical practitioner said that in spite of the legal limitation and societal disapproval for abortion in Nigeria, people still sought and accessed the services.

He, therefore, advocated that the practice (abortion) be liberalised to help meet the prevailing social health challenges.

He said there was a high level of hypocrisy around abortion as most people, who opposed it in the open, access it behind the scene for their wives or mistresses.

According to him, people get abortion services because it is available and when it is done professionally, the rate of complications like infertility will reduce.

“The legality or illegality of abortion is a controversial issue and the subject of heated debate, court cases and torrid campaigns globally.

“Some medical professionals, and even some quacks that include chemists and pharmacists, offer abortion behind the scene.

“This is because the demand for abortion is high among young sexually active women.

“Many medical doctors avoid abortion mostly because of their personal principles and religious beliefs.’’

He said, however, that the prevailing opinion amongst public health professionals, especially in developed countries, was that abortion should be legalised so that girls and women could easily access these services from professionals instead of being left to die in the hands of quacks.

Legalising abortion will help drastically reduce the mortality and morbidity (including infertility) amongst our women who patronise quack abortionists, Aniagboso said.

He observed that it was difficult in Nigeria because of the strong influence of religion in our lives and politics.

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Europol seizes 1,346 tons of illegal pesticides



European law enforcement authorities said that it has seized 1,346 tons of illegal pesticides, Europol announced this  on Wednesday in The Hague.

According to the European police organisation, the quantity is twice the amount seized in 2019 and would be enough to spray more than the whole of the land used for agriculture in Germany, for example.

The authorities added that two people were arrested and investigations have continued in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Europol stated that illegal pesticides can endanger people’s health and the environment, but farmers often unknowingly buy counterfeit products as these are cheaper.

Studies  showed that illegal trade makes up between 10 and 14 per cent of Europe’s pesticide market.

European officials adopted a coordinated response in 2015 to respond more effectively to the threat.

Edited By: Halima Sheji (NAN)


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Bulgaria catches 9 illegal immigrants in refrigerator van




Bulgaria has intercepted nine illegal immigrants hidden in a refrigerator truck at a parking lot near the western city of Vidin bordering Romania, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

The immigrants were found Tuesday night after the truck driver heard banging in the refrigerated trailer, the ministry said.

Police arrived immediately and found that the seal of the trailer carrying watermelons was broken and nine foreigners were hiding inside.

The foreigners, including seven men, a woman and a 16-year-old boy, said they were from Afghanistan. Three of them were treated at a local hospital, but their lives were not in danger, the ministry said, adding an investigation is underway.


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Russian guards detain drunk Ukrainian serviceman for illegal border crossing




Russian border guards have detained a drunk serviceman from the Ukrainian Armed Forces for illegally crossing the Russian border into Crimea, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said Tuesday.

The intoxicated offender was identified as E. Dobrinsky, born in 1992, the FSB said in a statement.

During a search of the detainee, a narcotic drug was allegedly discovered and seized from him, the statement added.

An illegal crossing of the Russian border is punishable by a fine of up to 200,000 rubles (around 2,900 U.S. dollars), or up to two years of forced labor or imprisonment, according to the Russian Criminal Code.


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5 dead, 1 missing in landslides at illegal gold mining site in Indonesia’s Kalimantan




Five people died and one was still missing after being buried by landslides at an illegal gold mining site in Buluh Kuning village, Kotabaru Regency in South Kalimantan province of Indonesia on Monday morning, Kotabaru’s Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Rusian Ahmadi Jaya said on Tuesday.

“The total number of fatalities after searching and digging the landslides in a day was already five. One is still under search,” he was quoted by online news portal as saying.

Jaya explained that the hilly area has made the personnel difficult to search the victims.

“No communication channels. It took us six hours to evacuate one body,” he said.

Jaya admitted that the area is known to attract people to search for gold illegally despite lacking of skills and proper tools. He has urged the local administration to keep the area free from miners since it was not the first fatal accident.

“That’s why this must be closed so that no more such an accident would happen,” he stressed.


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Sanitation: FCTA issues 7 days ultimatum to illegal mechanics



after the expiration of the ultimatum.

He said the FCTA would reclaim all the spots from Apo round-about to the popular junction known as Apo NEPA junction.

Similarly, Attah said the second phase of the aggressive sanitation would begin from the NEPA junction to APO mechanic village, where illegal businesses had taken over great portions of the road, making it difficult for contractors to complete their work.

“This stakeholders meeting is to enable us interface with stakeholders who engage in one form of business or the other along the Apo road corridors, also known as Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX).

“The minister has given us a directive to reclaim all the road corridors, to allow contractors complete their jobs, and also allow the Abuja Environmental Protection Board officers beautify the place in accordance with Abuja master plan.

“We have given the affected people seven days ultimatum, because we want to put up a human face in carrying out the exercise.

“The minister had wanted us to start immediately due to his desire to complete all ongoing projects there as a legacy he will leave behind for residents of the nation’s capital,” he said.

The Director AEPB, Mr Baba Lawan, disclosed that the minister had selected seasoned professionals who formed an effective squad for the exercise.

Lawan warned that at the expiration of the ultimatum, the task force would move to the area, and whoever refused to vacate the place should not blame the administration.

He added that abandoned vehicles, furniture and every other thing left on the road corridors would be removed and seized.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Malta ready to act as bridge between EU, Libya to tackle illegal migration: PM




Malta was ready to act as a bridge between Libya and the European Union (EU) to address the problem of illegal migration, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday.

He said his lightning visit to the war-torn country on Thursday confirmed that Libya was facing its own migration problems with an influx of migrants from neighboring countries which were also facing their difficulties.

Abela met Fayez al-Sarraj, prime minister of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), in Tripoli. The two government heads discussed the need to push the EU to help Libya to train its coastguard, obtain funding for reception camps manned by the UN, as well as to build a realistic strategy to slow down the flow of migrants into Libya.

Al-Sarraj told Abela that Libya had around 800,000 migrants to deal with.

Referring to his visit, Abela said the two countries had agreed to set up specialized units to better coordinate operations against irregular migration. These centers are expected to start operating within the coming weeks.

According to Abela, the solution lies in concrete action on Libyan shores and its southern border. This would be done through addressing and stopping human trafficking, rather than focusing on the relocation of migrants to other countries.

“Previous local and foreign administrations have always tackled the migration problem on a boat-by-boat basis but we are looking at solving the issue in a holistic manner,” he said, adding that the government had already sent out a clear message in keeping migrants aboard commissioned out at sea. There are some 425 migrants on four tourist vessels just outside Malta’s territorial waters where Malta is keeping them there until a proper solution is found to the illegal migration.

“We have saved lives and saved people from drowning, but we have also given a message that Malta cannot bring in more people,” he said.


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General news

Legal practitioner seeks employment for youths to boost economy



Mr Yusuf Ahmed, an Ilorin based legal practitioner, has said youths empowerment should be prioritised ahead of leadership trainings to ensure economic independence and boost survival.

Ahmed, who made the call in Ilorin on Saturday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria , said that youths deserved empowerment programme and not leadership training by government and individuals.

According to him, most government programmes on youths are solely on leadership training at different centres with little attempt on youths empowerment.

“Nigerian youths need more than leadership training to survive. Empowerment will take them out of unemployment and make them self-dependent.

“When you empower youths, you empower the nation. It will help save the country from economic collapse and reduce rate of poverty.

“Government must stop giving priority to leadership training and concentrate more on youth’s empowerment.

“Can leadership training alone give them food. Can leadership training survive them without tangible source of income?

“Please let us do more in terms of youth empowerment and stop pretending,” he said.

The legal practitioner also called on motivational speakers, politicians and government officials to concentrate on how to empower youths to improve the economy.

“Leadership training is also good but not when you are idle. Show youths how to live without relying solely on government for survival.

“It baffles me when I keep seeing banners of leadership training every weekend. We need to change our mentality and change the youths’ orientation through empowerment,” he said.

Ahmed, however, advised youths not to be lazy, but add value in whatever way by being creative.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Police arrest 251 illegal miners in Zamfara 



The Police Command in Zamfara says it has arrested 251 alleged illegal miners, among them a Burkinabe, during a Sallah eve raid at the mining sites in the state.

The Police Commissioner, Usman Nagogo, paraded the arrested persons at the command headquarters on Friday in Gusau.

Nagogo recalled the arrest of some Chinese nationals and their Nigerian collaborator on April 20.

The arrests followed a matching order by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Chief of Army Staff to security agents to go after the culprits.

He said that on  May 21, Brig.- Gen. Bello Musliyu, the Brigade Commander, 1 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Gusau, led a team of security operatives to raid the mining sites in Kawaye, Zugu, Dan Kamfani and Bagega.

The police commissioner said that the security operatives were drawn from the army, the police and the Directorate of Security Services (DSS).

He said that the operatives also raided Dareta and Daki-Takwas mining sites in Anka, Bukkuyum and Gummi Local Government Areas of the state.

Nagogo said 12 water pumping machines, 29 motorcycles, chemical for gold and unrefined gold sifting materials were recovered at the raided illegal mining sites.

He warned those engaged in the mining to desist from the unwholesome act as the raid of mining sites would be a continual exercise until illegal mining activities in the state were brought to a halt.

“Anybody who goes against the norms will be arrested and severely dealt with according to the law of the land,” he warned.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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