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Gbajabiamila appoints media aides

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Gbajabiamila appoints media aides

…names Lasisi of Channels SA, others

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has released the appointment of his media aides with Mr. Olanrewaju Lasisi of Channels TV as his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

Also appointed are Mr. Musa Abdullahi Krishi of Daily Trust newspapers as Chief press secretary; Dele Anofi of the Nation newspaper as Special Assistant on Print Media; Bukola Ogunyemi as Special Assistant on  New Media and Ayo Adeagbo as Special Assistant on Visual Communication/ Official Photographer and Kunle Somoye as Special Assistant on Electronic and Broadcast Media.

A statement personally signed by the Gbajabiamila said the appointments were with immediate effect.

Until this appointment, Olanrewaju Lasisi, 46, was the parliamentary correspondent of Channels Television with over 10years experience reporting activities of the House of Representatives. He was also the producer and presenter of a weekly television programme, “The Gavel”, which focuses on the Nigerian parliament.

Lasisi holds a Masters Degree in Performing Art from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He has participated in media exchange programmes both in Nigeria and United States of America.

Until this appointment, Musa Abdullahi Krishi, 33, was Daily Trust Newspaper correspondent in the National Assembly with 6years experience reporting activities of the House of Representatives and Senate.  He was Assistant Political Editor at Daily Trust between 2014 and 2015.

He joined Daily Trust newspaper in 2012 as part of the newspaper’s policy of automatic employment for best graduating students of mass communication. Krishi hails from Kokona Local Government of Nasarawa State.

Until this appointment, Bukola Ogunyemi, 32, was a social media specialist with World WildLife Fund in Washington DC, USA. He is a former social media manager for Chocolate City Group, where he influenced social engagement of eight labeled artists. He has managed more than 100 social media accounts, digital campaigns for companies, businesses, governments, and non-profit organisations.

Ogunyemi, a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife is an active member of Data & Marketing Association, Internet Marketing Association and International Public Relations Association.

Until this appointment, Dele Anofi, 52,  a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria was The Nation Newspaper’s Politics Correspondent in the House of Representatives for seven years. He was also a Public Relations Officer at the Federal Housing Authority 1996 – 2001.

Anofi is an alumni of the United States (US) International Visitor Leadership Program, Washington DC. He hails from Ilorin, Kwara State

Kunle Somoye, 26, is a young media strategist, researcher, and communicator. Until this appointment, he was a member of the Buhari Presidential Media team and also served the Election and Monitoring Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.

Ayo Adeagbo, 25, a graduate of University of Ibadan was documentary photographer to former Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly.

Adeagbo also served as Assistant Chief Photographer to former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

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Buhari, APC govs meet in Aso Rock, keep mum

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Buhari, APC govs meet in Aso Rock, keep mum

Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting it was gathered was not unconnected with the crisis in the party over the protest against the current national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The meeting was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Although no official reason was given for the meeting, there have been speculations that some governors elected on the APC platform are no longer comfortable with the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, and are seeking to remove him.

The meeting in Aso Rock started at about 3p.m. and lasted over two hours.

The governors who attended the meeting were: Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Babagana Zulum (Borno), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) Nasiru El-Rufai (Kaduna), Gbenga Oyetola (Osun), and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).

They, however, declined to speak to newsmen at the end of the meeting as one by one, they filed out of the Council Chambers accompanied by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

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Mixed reactions trail senator’s sentence

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Mixed reactions trail senator’s sentence

Mixed reactions from two political party chieftains in Abia State greeted yesterday’s judgement of a Lagos High Court, which sentenced the Senate Chief Whip and former Abia governor, Orji Kalu, to 12 years in prison over alleged fraud.

The chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Chief Donatus Nwankpa, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he was disappointed and angry with the judgement.

Nwankpa, who was a member of the Abia House of Assembly when Kalu was governor, said that the judgement was not fair.

“The party will meet to take a position on the judgement. But as an individual, I am very saddened by the judgement.

“I am not convinced that judgement was given,” he said, adding that the court’s verdict sustained his doubts about the integrity and objectivity of the nation’s judiciary.

Nwankpa said that he never had the confidence that Kalu would get judgement, “considering the utterances of the judge.”

“I’m highly convinced that something went wrong. The judgement is not fair,” he said.

Conversely, the Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council in Abia, Mr. Ceekay Igara, described the judgement as “good precedence.”

According to him, “If Kalu was found wanting as governor of the state, he should face judgement.

“It is a normal thing and goes to prove that nobody is above the law.”

Igara, who is the state Chairman of the Labour Party, said that the judgement was supposed to teach two lessons.

He said: “The first lesson for those who are in government and second for others who intend to take over is that whatever they do, there is always a judgement day.”

Mr. Maduka Okoro, the South-East Media Aide to Kalu, told NAN that the former governor would appeal the judgement “to allow other judges and a higher court take another look at the case.”

Okoro said that Kalu was not bothered by the judgement but considered it as one of the travails that every leader must experience “before becoming what God wants him to be.”

He expressed optimism that the judgement would be reversed by a higher court, adding that Kalu would be acquitted at last.

He said that as governor, Kalu administered Abia transparently and never defrauded the state.

Kalu was Abia governor from 1999 to 2007 and won election to the Senate in the 2019 election, after three attempts.

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Erectile dysfunction increases risk of heart health

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Erectile dysfunction increases risk of heart health

Scientists in the United States (U.S.) have said that men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are more likely to be diagnosed with irregular heartbeat, which is also called atrial fibrillation or a-fib.

They presented the preliminary findings of their new study at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Session in Dallas, Texas, last week.

Atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, is an irregular or quivering heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.

A Cardiologist and Postdoctoral Researcher at Northwestern University in Chicago, Dr. Yoshihiro Tanaka said: “It is well known that ED symptoms appear two to three years before we see cardiovascular disease; so, if we can use ED symptoms as a marker for predicting future AFib, we may be able to treat the patient early and hopefully stop the disease’s progression.

“If patients have ED, physicians should investigate other cardiovascular risk factors and initiate treatment as soon as possible,” Tanaka told participants at the AHA conference.

ED is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It is also sometimes referred to as impotence. Occasional ED is not uncommon. Many men experience it during times of stress. However, frequent ED can be a sign of health problems that need treatment.

Previous studies had shown a link between cardiovascular disease and ED.

Subsequently, the new study wanted to find out how AFib fits into the picture, said Dr. Yoshihiro Tanaka.

The new study included 1,760 older men without a history of AFib. After four years, 9.6 per cent of men who reported having erectile dysfunction were diagnosed with AFib compared with 2.9 per cent of men without the condition.

“Even after adjusting for various risk factors, including smoking, weight, diabetes and blood pressure, men with erectile dysfunction were 66 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with AFib,”the NewsmaxHealth’reported.

Based on the outcome, Tanaka said: “That’s a reasonably strong association.”

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MDAs commit N26.6bn expenditure, payment infractions – AGF

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Ministries, Department and Agencies of government (MDAs) committed 140 infractions in expenditure and payment transactions totalling N26.6 billion in 2017, according to the audit report of the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF).

The infractions were spotted by team of auditors that reviewed payments and expenditure in MDAs. The payments contravened standing regulations and policies of the Federal Government.

The report revealed that the sum of N8,608,588,928.68 was expended in 25 infractions without presenting payment vouchers to justify the payments made in the transactions, an action that contravenes provisions of FR 601, which states “all payment entries in the cash book/accounts shall be vouched for on one of the prescribed treasury forms.”

Similarly, 10 MDAs embarked on international travels and trainings without requisite approval from the appropriate authorities as specified in Extant Circulars, thereby expending the sum of N2,660,420,450.05 on international travels despite strict restriction placed on it.

The report added that the sum of N2,789,475,927.84 was expended without providing supporting documents to the Payment Vouchers in 22 infractions in the MDAs.

It observed that the gross violation of extant regulations may lead to misappropriation and misappropriation of funds.

To curb the trend, it recommended that Minister of Finance should ensure that all MDAs are fully on the GIFMIS platform and that no payment is made without passing through the platform.

It advocated cancellation of use of manual payment vouchers and recommended appropriate sanctions be applied to all involved in instances of payments being made without the expected supporting documents and/or approvals.

The report also uncovered irregularities in contract award, execution and payment in 51 transactions, across several MDAs to a tune of N28.5 billion in 2017.

“We assessed the compliance of MDAs with Section 19 (a-j) of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007 and other extant rules and regulations in relation to public procurement. We discovered 51 transactions, across several MDAs, that did not comply with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007,” it added.

In the course of reviewing MDAs Accountant, AGF said there was significant weaknesses in controls over financial reporting and consolidation, and limitations on the responsibilities of the Accountant General of the Federation.

The report said: “We reviewed the accounts consolidation process and the statement of responsibilities, the accounting policies and notes to the financial statements, and the following were observed:

“The Accountant-General, as an entity, does not take responsibility for the integrity and objectivity of the financial transactions reported within the financial statements.

“The position of the Accountant-General is that the responsibility for the integrity of the transactions reported within the financial records and trial balance extracted from GIFMIS rests with the relevant MDA.

“However, the MDAs submitted un-audited trial balances for consolidation. Majority of the MDAs failed to prepare stand-alone financial statements for audit.

“The Accountant-General is also not able to assert that all transactions are accurate, that all the stated assets and liabilities exist, and that beneficial ownership of the assets belongs to the MDAs.”

The report identified at least 35 MDAs with balances disclosed within the notes to the accounts in respect of overhead expenditure for the year ended 31st December, 2016 which it said were not captured in the same note for 2017.

The risk involved includes material misstatement in the financial statement.

To rectify the flaws, it recommended to Accountant-General to clarify in writing to all MDAs that the financial records presented by the MDAs for consolidation must be audited by the statutory external auditors before submission, as each Accounting Officer is responsible for the integrity and validity of the transactions of their respective entities.

“All audited financial statements and trial balances are to be submitted before the cut-off date,” it added.

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APC: Early budget passage’ll fast-track development

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APC: Early budget passage’ll fast-track development

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended the National Assembly for the early passage of the 2020 budget, stating that Nigerians would be the beneficiaries.

According to the party, the early passage of the budget would guarantee full implementation of many of the economic, infrastructural, social investments and other developmental programmes.

In the statement issued by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party said: “Nigerians will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the early budget passage, as it will guarantee full implementation of many of the economic, infrastructural, social investments and other developmental programmes contained in the budget and which will directly and positively impact on the people.

“Again, the early budget passage will allow for proper and better planning for both the government and the private sector. The entire financial architecture of our country would benefit from this. This includes project financing, contract execution timeline, project implementation and performance monitoring. It will make public procurement predictable, business climate stable, and give confidence to investors.”

The party urged the executive and legislature to take full advantage of this new dawn of cordial relations. “This will ultimately translate to better governance for the benefit of Nigerians,” the ruling party said.

Commending the National Assembly for early passage of the budget, Onilu said: “This is another solid milestone by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration.

“The party commends both chambers of the National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives – for putting national interest before any other interest; a clean departure from the 8th National Assembly which used filibustering, political manipulation and other devious practices in their failed attempt to sabotage the APC government.

“We also commend President Buhari for showing leadership in the prompt submission of the 2020 budget and his clear directive to heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to suspend international travels to defend their respective budgets and provide the required cooperation to the National Assembly in order to ensure timely passage of the 2020 budget.”

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FG prioritising development projects, says Agba

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FG prioritising development projects, says Agba

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would prioritise development projects in the country.

Agba disclosed this in a keynote address at a workshop on South Africa-Nigeria Road Transport Infrastructure and Public Private Partnership (PPP) collaboration initiative in Abuja.

The minister, who was represented by his Special Assistant (Administration), Dr. Phillip Ugbodaga, said that despite the advent of the new Sustainable Development Goals and the noted benefits around the social and economic aspects, “sustainable infrastructure development implementation process still faces a number of challenges.”

According to him, “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has, therefore, continued to target key infrastructure development spending and has stimulated the economy using a combination of fiscal and monetary policies as these are some of the strategies of reflating the economy.

“Government has also embarked on strategic prioritisation of development projects in the context of available resources.

“This explains the N2.145 trillion allocated to MDAs’ capital expenditure in the N10.33 trillion expenditure in the 2020 budget.”

He stated that: “All these steps are in realisation that infrastructure is critical to economic development, poverty reduction and job creation.

“Infrastructure investment is, therefore, one of the cardinal objectives of the present administration as part of the social contract between the government and the Nigerian people.”

Describing the initiative as signaling a historic collaboration between the Development Bank of South Africa and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), he said it chronicled South Africa’s experience in road PPP, resilient road infrastructure and urban public transport and had invaluable lessons for Nigeria and West Africa.

He also commended the focus of the workshop, pointing out that it was encouraging and germane in view of the opportunity it presented to learn from the experience of South Africa in the development of sustainable infrastructure through PPP, which, he said, had been seen globally as a new development paradigm.

According to him, “Under the right circumstances, we all know that PPPs can mobilize additional sources of funding and financing for infrastructure with long-term investment targets.

“The Government of Nigeria is determined to leverage on this so as to fast track President Buhari’s desire to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

“However, PPPs are complex and require skills through different forms of collaboration with the private sector.

“It is in this light that the Development Bank of South Africa’s role, as a development partner that has proved itself over the years as a dependable ally in Africa’s quest for self-sustaining development initiatives, becomes important to accelerate infrastructure delivery.

“On its part, the Government of Nigeria, due to its avowed commitment to the development of viable and bankable PPP projects has already put in place alternative frameworks and enabling environment to encourage the participation of the private sector in infrastructure projects.”

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ABD Energy Solutions’ CEO to be arraigned for N2.9bn fraud

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ABD Energy Solutions’ CEO to be arraigned for N2.9bn fraud

The Federal Government will on January 8, 2020 arraign the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), ABD Energy Solutions Limited, Kenneth Amadi, over an alleged N2.9 billion fraud.

Justice Liman Mahammad of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had fixed the date for the arraignment of Amadi over the alleged fraud.

The Energy Solutions boss allegedly obtained N2.9 billion belonging to his former employer, Eunisell Limited, under false pretence from A-Z Petroleum and AMMASCO International Limited.

The offences were contrary to section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud-Related Offences Act, CapA6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.

When the matter was called for hearing, the 1st defendant was absent while the 2nd defendant, IDID Nigeria Limited, was represented by an employee.

Chief State Counsel from the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, A. K. Aliyu, informed the court that attempts were made to serve the charge on the 1st defendant through his counsel, but the lawyer from the office of the learned silk declined to accept service.

However, the defendants counsel, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), told the court that they were not opposing arraignment and trial, adding that it was an error of communication on the part of the junior colleague regarding the issue of acceptance of service.

He then accepted the charge and court summons of behalf of the 1st defendant.

The charges against the defendants include receiving and obtaining by false pretence with intent to defraud, the sum of Two Billion, Nine Hundred Million Naira (2,900,000,000) belonging to Eunisell Limited from A-Z Petroleum Limited and AMMASCO International Limited; omitting making full and true entry thereof in the books and accounts; suppression of data in respect of the financial transfer to Eunisell Limited and converting same amount without authority to create sufficient deposits to promote the credibility of his own company (Idid Nigeria Limited).

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NDDC: Groups demand Nwaoboshi’s prosecution over corruption charges

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NDDC: Groups demand Nwaoboshi’s prosecution over corruption charges

Civil society groups in Delta State yesterday demanded for the prosecution of the Chairman of Senate Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Peter Nwaoboshi by the anti-graft agency in order to allow for unfettered and thorough forensic audit by the Interim Management Committee (IMC).

The civil society groups had in a press conference yesterday also called on the Senate to immediately ordered Nwaoboshi to step aside as the Chairman of Senate Committee on NDDC to pave way for fairness and to redeem the image of the Senate following the weighty allegations against him.

Addressing journalists, the National Convener of the Civil Society Groups, Solomon Adodo said: “Today we have converged here as civil society leaders to re-echo the advocacy for a transparent, corrupt-free system that guarantees the welfare of the common man. We are here to cry out against the serial gang rape of our commonwealth and crude deprivations of the Niger Delta people orchestrated by a handful of fiendish self-serving elites in the region.”

“It is no strange fact that in the quest for rapid infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region to assuage the adverse effects of petroleum exploration and douse rising youth agitation, the Niger Delta Development Commission was established in 2000.”

But, in his response to the allegations, Senator Nwaoboshi, however, debunked the report and allegations levelled against him by the civil society groups, describing such as lies and total fallacy.

Nwaoboshi, who spoke to our Correspondent through his Special Adviser on Legislative Matters, Lukas, said: “The allegation is a lie from the pit of hell because NDDC has 2017 budget which lapsed in July 2018, and 2018 which lapsed in July 2019 and you know that the NDDC budget usually comes separate.

“Thus, as I speak to you, there is 2017 and 2018 budget of the NDDC. So, if someone is saying that because someone made demands that made the NDDC not to have 2017 budget is lies. These are fallacious lies because it is not anchored on truth and it is not even worthy of reply, but if you keep quiet for too long, lies can assume resemblance of truth.”

He, therefore, pointed out that anyone who has evidence that Senator Nwaoboshi has one job in NDDC should show proof, noting that the NDDC merely brought forward its 2019 budget last week and the Senate is presently working on document.

Meanwhile, Adodo in the groups’ allegations added: “However, since the establishment of the agency only little has been achieved in the direction of its mandate, while in the last few years, the agency has been converted to a cash cow for a few unpatriotic elites of the region at the detriment of the collective interest of the people of the Niger Delta region. Thus, the good intentions of the government were deliberately sabotaged and truncated by these people, who saw nothing else beyond self.”

The civil society groups further added: “For the records a lot of fraudulent acts of financial graft have been unearthed. Incontrovertible facts show that some Senators from the Niger Delta region have held the NDDC by the jugular and consistently bled the Commission.

“Particularly, the Senate Committee Chairman on NDDC, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi has been making outrageous demands from the NDDC and when the Board could not meet those demands through a normal process, the budget of the Commission for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 were not sent to the National Assembly and in its place the NDDC Management was intimidated into awarding emergency contracts only for three years thereby abandoning the Niger Delta Development Plan and Legacy Projects.

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OAU to honour Kagame, Awosika, others at 44th convocation

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OAU to honour Kagame, Awosika, others at 44th convocation

Four eminent Africans would be conferred with Honorary Doctorate Degrees (Honoris Causa) of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, during the 44th convocation of the university, billed for 14th December, 2019. The recipients, according to a statement by the Public Relations Officer for the university, Abiodun Olarewaju are the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, one of Nigeria’s finest Marketing Communications Practitioners and great philanthropist, Mr. Biodun Olusina Shobanjo, President of African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah and the Managing Direc-tor and Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Plc., Mrs. IbukunOluwa Abiodun Awosika.

The statement, which noted that the university authorities had concluded arrangements to honour the recipients, said they were being recognised for their immense contributions to socioeconomic and political development of their immediate environments, countries, continent and the world at large, which had been adjudged invaluable. According to the statement, President Kagame’s outstanding leadership qualities and achievements in Rwanda, and within and outside Africa, were considered especially his actively instrumental to ending the infamous genocide in Rwanda in 1974. “It is in recognition of these outstanding and remarkable achievements that President Paul Kagame will be conferred with Doctor of Public Administration (Honoris Causa),” Olarewaju added.

“For Mr. Shobanjo, his trailblazing efforts and enduring legacies in the Marketing Communications industry in Nigeria, and as the doyen of the industry in the last 50 years as well as his humane social activism, set him on the pedestal for the award of the Doctor of Letters (D. Lit. Honoris Causa) of the university.

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Fayemi’s wife blames impunity for unending rape cases

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Fayemi’s wife blames impunity for unending rape cases

Wife of EKiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Bisi, has stated that culture of Impunity had contributed hindrances in the fight against alarming rate of rape in the country. Fayemi’s wife said that the fact that those perpetrating the act and other evils like child trafficking and all form of molestations against women were not being punished had made the fight against the social ill looked unachievable. She spoke in Ado-Ekiti yesterday at a rally organised against rape by stakeholders as part of a 16-day programmes of the government to combat the scourge. She said: “There are laws in the land that had been promulgated against violence against women, child trafficking and rape. Some people have been convicted through these laws.

“Don’t keep cases of violence against you secret, speak up. Try and learn how to dignify yourself. Make sure your families are in peace, don’t die in silence. “This is why we are creating more awareness across the 16 local government areas of the state. Even many of those who ought to have information about rape are not having them. “As I stand here, I am already tired of matching against rape. It has been difficult to overcome the scourge because of culture of impunity in Nigeria. The perpetrators were being emboldened because they suffered no punishment over their wrongdoings.”

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