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Daughter accuses father of sexual assault

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18-year-old 200 level student of Baze University, Ifoema Obalum has accused her father of sexual assault and resisted attempts by officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP), Abuja to forcefully hand her and the younger brother over to the accused.

The duo, had in December last year, ran to NAPTIP seeking protection from the father who is medical personnel at the State House clinic and a lecturer at the same Baze University, Abuja.

She accused her father of sexual assault, physical abuse and inflicting serious injuries on her 15-year-old younger brother since June 2020 when they began living with him. Before then, they lived in their maternal home after their mother and sole custodian died of cancer on May 21, 2018.

However, after a legal fight, the father was granted custody of Obalum and the younger brother by a Lagos family court.

The accused arrived at the headquarters of the agency with the court’s verdict along with his entourage, consisting of his legal representatives, some able-bodied men and a female who tried to take away the children who were handed over to them by the Rapid Response Unit of NAPTIP but failed to achieve his aim as the duo resisted the move.

NAPTIP said it couldn’t go against the court order, but the children resisted, crying and shouting that they would not return to the home of their abuser, but would rather commit suicide. This drew more attention from passersby and onlookers as the Investigating Officer on the case in the Rapid Response Unit of NAPTIP; Mrs. Usafina Chimera attempted to drag the children to their father to be taken away.

When asked by journalists why the agency is returning the children to the alleged abuser after coming to the agency for shelter, Chimera said: “What we do in the Rapid Response Unit is that when a complaint is lodged against someone, we go rapidly to rescue this person. When we received this complaint, we went to Baze University to where she stayed with her brother to rescue her after her exams. Based on her statement, we commenced an investigation, and have taken the case to the legal department and it advise that there is no prima-facie evidence in prosecuting the case.

The girl, who has turned 18, is old enough to go further with the case. As an agency, we follow orders and the directives is that we should hand over the two of them to the father.”

On why she sought help from NAPTIP and their refusal to return to her father, Ifeoma explained that they had never really lived with their father until the passing of their mother shortly before she turned 18. She said their father came with policemen to their school to forcefully take them away from their maternal family’s custody, but failed and later sought custody through the court and it was granted to him.

She said: “I came to NAPTIP because I had to report to them a case of my father sexually assaulting me and physically abusing my brother, how he maltreats us, neglects us, and keeps us locked up in the house for three weeks with no form of communication to the world. No phone, internet, television, nothing.”

MEANWHILE, lawyers to the defendants, who work with PUNUKA attorneys and solicitors led by Ebele Enida has written a petition letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene on the matter.

A document made available to The Guardian reads “Petition against Dr. Dike Obalum for physical and Sexual Assault on his biological daughter, Miss Ifoema Obalum and Chukwuemeka Obalum.

The lawyers are urging President Muhammadu Buhari to use his office to investigate the matter and protect the children.

Culled from the Guardian

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FRSC confirms death of 5 persons, 3 survivors in Kogi auto crash

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

Kogi State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has confirmed the death of five persons in a fatal auto crash on Kabba-Obajana road in Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area of the state.

The State Sector Commander, Samuel Oyedeji, who confirmed the accident and death of the five to newsmen on Thursday in Lokoja said three others survived the accident with serious injuries.

Oyedeji attributed the accident which involved a Ford Galaxy space wagon and a Mazda car, to speeding and wrongful overtaking.

“The head-on collision between the two cars moving in the opposite directions happened due to speeding and wrongful overtaking by one of the drivers.

“We have been preaching against drivers flouting road safety rules and regulations, yet these motorists hardly heed our warnings.

“Five persons lost their lives in the fatal accident that left three others seriously injured,” he said.

The Sector Commander said that officers from the command immediately carried out a rescue operation at the scene of the accident and rushed the three injured persons to General Hospital, Kabba for medical attention.

Oyedeji said the remains of the five dead persons were also deposited at the mortuary of the Kabba General Hospital.

The Kogi Sector Commander admonished motorists to always endeavour to always obey road safety rules and regulations to avoid fatal auto crashes on the highways. (Ends)

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Sen. Kawu Sumaila mourns victims of Wudil accident

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***Calls for urgent action to complete Kano-Maiduguri Road

The Senator representing Kano South Senatorial District Sulaiman Abdulrahman Kawu Sumaila has expressed sympathy with the families of 11 persons who lost their lives in an auto crash along Kano-Maiduguri federal Highway on Friday.
11 people lost their lives while 16 others were injured, with one person rescued unhurt in the auto crash at Gaya junction along the Kano – Maiduguri road.
The accident involved two vehicles – a Toyota Hummer bus with registration number KTG 190 XB and a Hijet mini pick-up with registration number KTG 501 YG.
In a statement he personally signed, Senator Sumaila expressed grief over the death of 11 persons, regretting that Kano-Maiduguri road has remained a death trap to many road users.
He said, the over 550 kilometre dualization project was awarded by the Federal Government at the end of the second tenure of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is yet to be completed 17 years after.

Senator Sumaila explained that the importance of the road to the Nigerian economy cannot be over emphasized as it serves as an international link between Nigeria and the Chad republic, Cameroon, Niger republic and the Central Africa, which is supposed to serve as a boost for businesses among the affected countries.

According to him, also the road also connects Kano with Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Borno states, where it is playing a greater role in the economic activities of the states.

Senator Sumaila, however, lamented that despite its important, the road has claimed several lives due to non-completion of the project.

He said for almost 17 years since the award of the project, a portion of the road particularly from Wudil to Gaya has not been completed.

He said it is regrettable that although over 50 kilometers of this portion of the road have been completed, however, a distance of less than 30 kilometers of the portion has not been completed, thereby, causing accidents for its users.

Sumaila, regretted that the non-completion of the project has compelled traders from within Nigeria and the neighbouring countries to divert their businesses to other states other than Kano.

“Apart from cases of accident, armed robbery has been a constant occurrence on the road for several years. I have personally complained to the relevant authorities, yet, the problem persisted,” he said.

“It is very sad that the Federal ministry of works and housing and the contractor handling the project have failed to complete this project despite allocation of huge amount of money in the budget. I will continue to pursue for the completion of this road.”

Senator Sumaila lamented that “This is the reason why we are fighting for fairness in the budgetary allocations to the six geopolitical zones, but some people for their selfish interests are kicking against our moves.

“With enough budgetary allocations to the geopolitical zones, this kind of projects would have been finished in time. It is our duty as members of the National Assembly to channel the plights and yearnings of our constituents to the executive arm of government for the right thing to be done to improve their wellbeings.

“And one of the surest way to achieve this is to ensure fairness and equality in budgetary allocations. This is the only way projects that have direct bearing to the lives of the common man will be executed. Kano-Maiduguri, is one of the roads that is playing significant role in the wellbeing of many Nigerians, therefore, the federal government should not joke with it.

The senator, therefore, appealed to the Federal ministry of works and housing and the contractor handling the project to ensure completion of the road in order to save the lives of the people.

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Rising electricity tariffs killing small businesses, NASSI calls for urgent action

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The Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists (NASSI) has expressed deep concern over the recent increase in electricity tariffs that is threatening the survival of its members
A statement by issued on Friday by the National President of NASSI, Chief Dr. Solomon Vongfa Daniel indicated that the hike poses a significant threat to the survival and growth of small-scale industries across the nation.
“The recent increase in electricity tariffs is a major blow to small-scale businesses in Nigeria. Many of our members are already struggling with rising input costs and a challenging economic climate. This additional burden threatens to push many of them out of business altogether.”

According to him increased electricity costs will directly eat into already tight profit margins, jeopardizing the financial sustainability of small businesses.
In a bid to manage costs, some businesses may be forced to reduce production, leading to job losses and decreased output.
“The additional financial strain will hinder the ability of small businesses to invest in expansion or modernization, hindering overall economic growth.

NASSI urged the government to consider providing targeted subsidies or tax breaks to support small businesses during this difficult time.
“We encourage the government to invest in renewable energy sources and promote energy efficiency measures to create a more sustainable and affordable electricity supply.
The association calles for open dialogue with policymakers and stakeholders to explore solutions that address the concerns of small businesses and ensure a stable and affordable electricity supply for all Nigerians.

“NASSI remains committed to supporting its members and advocating for policies that promote a thriving environment for small-scale industries.
“We urge the government to take urgent action to address this critical issue and ensure the continued success of this vital sector of the Nigerian economy.”

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