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Rape allegation: Investigate COZA Pastor, Fatoyinbo, lawyers urge police



The Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates (COPA) has urged the police to immediately commence investigation on the rape allegation levelled against Pastor Biodun Fatoyimbo by Mrs Busola Dakolo, wife of renowned inspirational artiste, Timi Dakolo.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that Dakolo accused Fatoyimbo, the Senior Pastror, Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), of sexually abusing and raping her.

She had claimed that the incident resulted in loss of virtue, face and also exposed her to ridicule and trauma.

Pelumi  Olajengbesi, leader of COPA, in a statement described the allegation as grievous and must therefore not be swept under the carpet.

“In our quest to build a sane nation, no stone should be left unturned; this matter must be treated with the urgency it deserves and not swept under the carpet, as has regrettably been the habit.

“With the provisions of sections 4 and 24 of the Police Act, the Nigerian Police Force must urgently invite Pastor Biodun Fatoyimbo to appear before it to rest all sundry matters related to this matter. This is our demand.

“Regardless, the police must begin a thorough independent investigation of the allegations against Pastor Fatoyimbo, given that rape is a criminal matter that is squarely within their purview and mandate as a law enforcement agency.

“The Nigerian Police are to whereupon make its findings public and proceed to prosecute the culprit without delay, where its investigations turn up sufficient material for a case of rape,” Olajengbesi stated.

According to him, no fewer than 24 public interests lawyers and advocates have volunteered to take up the case of Dakolo, at no cost.

He said that decision of the lawyers to take up the matter was due to the fact that similar allegations had been levelled against the pastor in the past.

“We are mindful that such an allegation had in the past been levelled against the same individual by a plethora of women claiming to have had the misfortune of coming in contact with him.

“Any reasonable individual must deduce that there is in fact a dire concern to be put to rest here by laying the whole truth bare through proactive action.

“The failure of Pastor Biodun Fatoyimbo, now and in the past, to address these allegations and clear the air on his innocence is not just an arrogant disregard of public sensitivity but a dare to the general public, perhaps, to ‘do its worse’.

“The issue of rape and sexual abuse is a contextual one with a great significance in our laws and culture.

“It is not just a ruthless crime but a moral impropriety that must be addressed post-haste for the culprit to face justice so the victim might find succour and respite in the sanction of the law.”

General news

Coalition calls for action on human rights protection



The Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers & Advocates (COPA), a  Human Rights, pro- democracy and good governance advocacy group has called for immediate action on human rights protection in the country.

Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi, Convener of the group, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing newsmen on the need to have an egalitarian society where lives of citizens are paramount.

Olajengbesi said as a democratic nation, state actors including the police, DSS and the military ought to be seen to be protecting lives and not the other way round.

He said more efforts should be made to protect Nigerians especially now that armed bandits and insurgents have wrecked havoc in most part of the country.

“Over the past few months, incidences of Human Rights abuses by agents of the state have been on an alarming increase as there appears to be an institutionalisation of the culture of impunity in human right violations.

“In the course of our duty as Public Interest Advocates and Human Rights Lawyers, we have taken cognizance of a number of sordid cases of the violation of fundamental human rights by agents of state across Nigeria in recent times.

“What is much more disheartening is that these agents of state have arrogated to themselves the toga of untouchables, thereby allegedly flouting court orders as if they were above the Law,” Olajengbesi said.

He urged the authorities to find lasting solutions  to the incessant human right abuses in the country.

This, Olajengbesi said would strengthen democracy and also make the International Community accord the country the respect it deserved. 

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
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General news

Human rights abuses: Lawyers coalition wants govt. intervention



The Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers & Advocates (COPA), a Human Rights, pro-democracy and good governance advocacy group, has called for immediate action to stem the tide of human rights abuses in parts of the country.

Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi, Convener of the group, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing newsmen on the need to have an egalitarian society where lives of citizens were respected.

Olajengbesi said as a democratic nation, state actors including the police, DSS and the military ought to be seen to be protecting lives and not the other way round.

He said more efforts should be made to protect Nigerians especially now that banditry and insurgency had wreaked havoc in many parts of the country.

He said that over the past few months some citizens had complained of incidences of Human Rights abuses on them by those who should protect them.

“In the course of our duty as Public Interest Advocates and Human Rights Lawyers, we have taken cognisance of a number of sordid cases of such violation of fundamental human rights.

“These include, but are not limited to unlawful arrests and detention, brutality, battering and even outright killing of citizens on sketchy and flimsy allegations, and even in circumstances where citizens are going about exercising their constitutional rights.

“What is much more disheartening is that these agents have arrogated to themselves the toga of untouchables, thereby allegedly flouting court orders as if they are above the law.

“This leaves us with a society where the institutions appear to be no longer able to protect the weakest of us from it; the question then becomes, what happens to the rest of us?

“This development will have far reaching implications for the Nigerian state moving forward as it is eroding and will continually erode the democratic fabric of our dear nation if action is not taken and immediately too,” Olajengbesi said.

He urged the authorities to do more to find a lasting solution to such abuses.

This, Olajengbesi said, would strengthen democracy and also make the international community accord the country the respect it deserved.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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Rape Crisis: NICO Director Seeks Culture Policy Review Rape



After 32 years since Nigeria’s cultural policy was put in place, the acting Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mrs Bridget Yerima, has told the Federal Government to review the policy, to tackle the country’s rape crisis.

Yerima told newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja that reviewing the policy was central to tackling the incessant rape cases plaguing Nigeria currently.

She lamented that Nigeria’s cultural policy, formulated in 1988 had become obsolete and needed to be re-appraised and updated, to tackle emerging social issues, including rape, child-molestation and domestic violence.

According to her, Nigeria needs to consider the methods adopted by some foreign countries in their resolve to curb incidences of rape in their countries.

“Countries like India, China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia have instituted punishment options of death, castration, beheading and death by firing squad.

“Nigeria may need to move in that direction as means to curb the rising incidence of rape cases.’’

Yerima, who is the Director, Overseeing the Office of the Executive Secretary of NICO, argues that no punishment should be considered too harsh in protecting minors and old women, who have been at the receiving end of rapists in recent years.

“There is no doubt that the rising cases of rape, child molestation and domestic violence in Nigeria are causing many citizens sleepless nights. This calls for creative solutions to stem the ugly tide.

“The rape cases involve illegal sexual acts and violence often leading to death. In most cases, the victims are females and children who are vulnerable and weak.

“These cases have become so rampant and discomfiting, prompting Nigeria’s parliament to call for a state of emergency to deal with the embarrassing crisis.

Yerima, however, recommended that it had become auspicious for parents and guardians to rise to the occasion by playing their required roles to stem the worsening tide of rape nationwide.

“Parents and guardians must resume their traditional responsibilities as parents, who must be on ground to guide, direct or instruct their children all the time.

“In recent times, due to the harsh economic climate, most parents have had to pick up jobs that take them away from home in order to make ends meet.

“While this is explainable, parents must learn the balancing act and avoid being absentee parents most of the time.’’

Yerima suggested that at least one parent must be on ground all the time, to not only supervise but to also instruct kids.

According to her, a situation where parents transferred their roles and responsibilities to domestic helps and caregivers or to teachers and neighbors is totally unacceptable.

She said that parents should ensure that their children dressed decently at all times, to avoid attracting the attention of marauding rapists.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation is currently grappling with a rape pandemic that that has seen babies and geriatric citizens being raped by young men.

Citing a recent report, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, said that up to two million Nigerians are raped every year.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
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Rape: NAWOJ embarks on nationwide protest



The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) has started a one-week nationwide protest against increased cases of rape, killings and other forms of violence against women in the country.

The NAWOJ National President, Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

Omowole said that the protest would be virtual, in compliance to the federal and state governments’ physical distancing protocol on the management of COVID-19, which discourages large gatherings.

The NAWOJ boss stated that “in the last few weeks, we were inundated by reports of rape at an alarming dimension.

“Rape now occurs almost everywhere in homes, offices and even religious places.

“Unfortunately, a number of Nigerians have fallen prey to perpetrators of this dastardly act. Sadly, children have not been spared.”

Omowole, therefore, urged women journalists and other stakeholders to join in the fight against rape, which was disrupting the peace and stability of families and the country.

She added that “as women journalists, we cannot remain silent over the havoc created by this monster that is threatening the peace and stability of families and societies.’’

She encouraged members of the association to drop their e-flyers and write-ups on their various social media platforms at noon between Monday and Thursday, and at 8 p.m. on Friday to Sunday.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that UNWomen recently reported a rise in Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lagos State, with 300 per cent increase between March and April.

The group also said that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recorded an increase of rape cases during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Similarly, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, recently urged lawmakers to enact laws and evolve policies that would ensure a safe society and end violence against women and girls.

Tallen made the call following increased cases of rape and killings of children, young girls and women recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)




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