Thursday, 29 August 2013

25-yr-old arrested for raping 3-yr-old in Minna

A 25- year old man, Saliu Lawal has been arrested and detained at the Niger State Criminals Investigation Department (SCID) Minna, the state capital, for forcefully having carnal knowledge of a 3-year old girl at Angwan Daji area of Chanchaga Local Government of the state.

The suspect, a next door neighbour to the yet unidentified parents of the victim,  lured the little girl into the premises of a primary school, in the neighbourhood and raped her.

The Nigerian Tribune gathered that shouts from the little girl attracted passersby who caught Saliu in the act. He, however, attempted to evade police arrest.

It was learnt further that the concerned neighbours gave the suspect a hot chase, apprehended him and handed him to the police for prosecution at Chanchaga Divisional Police Headquarters, under the state police command.

An insider source who spoke to the Nigerian Tribune on the condition of anonymity, stated that upon interrogation by the police at the homicide section of the State’s Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Minna, said upon interrogation by the police the suspect, Lawal, allegedly confessed to the crime but claimed he was doing it for the first time with the little girl.

“I know the parents of the girl, they are my next door neighbour and I decided to lure her into a classroom. She, however, began to cry because her private part was very tight.”

The suspect who is said to be a bricklayer allegedly stated further that the attempted rape on the little girl was the first time he committed the crime and also denied ever taking advantage of any other little girl in the neighbourhood in the recent past.

Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer, Niger State Police Command, Mr Richard A. Oguche, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) confirmed the incident in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune.

“Rape is a capital offence and investigation into this case is almost completed, we are just waiting for the Medical report conducted on the victim, while the suspect would soon be charged to court and his admission to the commission of that offence is not substantial enough,” he stated.

He added that the Homicide Detectives were still gathering more evidences that could assist the police in the prosecution of the suspect whom he described as a serial rapist, going by the information allegedly given to the police by some concerned citizens resident at Angwan Daji, on the  outskirt of Minna, the state capital.

TRIBUNE

Three-year-old girl raped in Niger

Niger State Police Command has arrested a man, Saliu Lawal, 25, for allegedly raping a three-year old girl.

The incident was said to have occurred on Friday August 23, 2013. It was learnt that the suspect, who was a next door neighbour to the parents of the victim, lured the girl into the premises of a primary school and raped her.

Sources told our correspondent that the little girl’s cries attracted passersby, who caught Saliu in the act.

It was further learnt that as soon as the suspect sighted them, he attempted to flee but was apprehended by the concerned neighbours and handed over to the police at Chanchaga Division.

The state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Richard Oguche, said,  “Rape is a capital offence and investigation into this case is almost completed.

“We are waiting for the report of a medical test conducted on the victim before we charge the suspect to court.”

Meanwhile, the police in Ogun State have arrested a 37-year-old man, Sanmi Oyewole, for allegedly raping a six-year-old girl.

Oyewole, a resident of Ayedi Street, Isale Ake Abeokuta in Abeokuta South Local Government Area, was apprehended on Saturday.

The state command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said in a statement that the suspect, who had already confessed to committing the crime, said he lured the girl with a N50.

Adejobi stated that Oyewole seized the advantage of the girl’s mother’s absence to lure the minor into his room and had carnal knowledge of her.

The police spokesman said, “The medical report on the girl confirmed that the girl was defiled by the suspect and the suspect has been taken to the state CID Eleweran, Abeokuta ,for further investigation and prosecution.

“A bedsheet stained with blood and a pant were recovered from the room of the suspect, who fled the house immediately after the incident, but was later arrested by police detectives attached to Adatan Division in Abeokuta.”

PUNCH

Why Rape Penalties Are Rarely Enforced

The worrisome incident of the rape of girls below the age of 14 is becoming rampant in Nigeria. Blessing Ukemena reports on why those that commit this crime do not face the full weight of the law.

Rape is punishable by life imprisonment, or so the law says. According to section 282 and 283 of the Penal code, any person charged with rape or attempted rape, with sufficient proof from the victim, will be given life imprisonment and a fine.

The thought of spending the rest of your life in prison should be enough to keep any sane person from committing the crime, but in fact there is a gradual increase in the reported cases of rape all over the country. The situation calls for concern as young girls under the age of 14 are the likely victims to this kind of brutality that damages both the body and the mind.

The Penal code clearly states that the act of having sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of 14, with or without her consent, is considered rape. One of such cases was that of a 10 year old school girl from Nyanya, Gwandara who was allegedly raped on 31, July 2012 in an uncompleted building.

The judge of the lower magistrate court in Maraba, Nassarawa state, Mrs. V. Ishiaku, told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that it was hard for those accused of rape, be it against minors or adult females, to get a full sentence because many times there is  no proof, and a court cannot convict without proof.

“Rape cases are under the jurisdiction of the Upper Area Court and the High court, but those who find the courage to report cases of rape do not bring sufficient proof to the court. The court cannot convict a person by mere words.

“Immediately after the incident, the victim is supposed to go the hospital and do certain tests and bring the result of the tests to the law court to prove her case, but most ladies are so traumatised that it takes some time before they get the courage to report the case, and some of them do not go for tests.”

In the Arab world, rape is punishable by death. According to a report by the UN High Commission for Refugees, marital rape in Jordan is legal, but the punishment for non-marital rape is the death penalty. This includes the rape and sodomy of a child under 15.

The International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) observed that in the case of rape, cultural and social traditions coupled with inadequate laws inform discriminatory legal practices, and the effect of violence against a kidnapped or raped woman is exacerbated by the practice of dropping the prosecution if the perpetrator agrees to marry his victim.

The right to prosecute is re-established if he divorces her before the passage of three years of marriage without legitimate grounds, in accordance with Article 308 of the Jordanian Penal Code. The perpetrators usually agree to marry the victim to evade punishment, without the goal of building a family.

Mrs Hadiza Haruna, a project director at Women Advancement Protection told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that the NGO was concerned with various abuses against women, and recently sent a bill to the national assembly which, when passed, will ensure the protection of the rights of women and children in the country. She hoped that the bill will be passed soon so that those perpetrating abusive acts against women and children, such as wife battery, rape and mental or physical abuse will be forced to face the music as the penalties for such acts will be enforced.

In June 2012, Nollywood celebrities staged a Walk Against Rape (WAR) in Lagos organized by  Esther Ijewere Kalejaiye. She said that its aim was to “ help in encouraging victims to speak out and reduce the stigma attached to victims of sexual abuse and rape. WAR is also a platform for informing society about the soaring scourge of sexual abuse, especially as it relates to young girls and women in general.”

This kind of action is needed more often in Nigeria because, as Mrs Ishiaku stated, it seems that women are unaware of what to do to ensure that rapists are prosecuted.

Another problem for African and Nigerian women is that society frowns at rape victims instead of the rapists themselves. The girl who is known to have been raped is gossiped about and blamed in one way or the other for having allowed herself to be raped, this is mainly why most women would rather suffer in silence than speak out. Mothers of girls that have been raped also rarely take the matter to the police, reason being that they want to spare the girl the psychological trauma.

But rape victims suffer not just psychologically, but many also get pregnant, drop out of school or get infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

According to Mr K. Okoro, a Barrister and a human rights campaigner in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), there are very few reported cases of rape involving girls under 14 that he is aware of, and this could be due to the fact that the mother may silence her daughter to protect her from the social stigma.

Social, economic and security concerns is not enough reason to rape a minor or any female for that matter. Women are the back bone of society and should not be disrespected in that manner. If females are being molested without justice dealt out to the perpetrators, then what hope is there for the future?

Women need to stand up for themselves otherwise rapists will continue to escape prosecution when there is a law that can dispense due punishment, because what would be the need of a law if there is no one to make use of it?

Leadership

Ex-Bayelsa LG Boss Booed Over Attempt To Rape 13-year-old Girl

Scores of angry youths from the Sagbama town of Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State yesterday booed a former chairman, Hon.Perez Peretu, over his alleged attempt to rape a 13 -year old girl in his country home in the state.

While the Bayelsa State police command spokesperson, Mr.Alex Akhigbe, insisted that the allegation of attempted rape was admitted by the victim against the former local government council boss, the angry youths of the council area insisted that it was a case of rape and called for an independent investigation into the incident.

The angry youths,had in a telephone interview,claimed that the accused former local government council chairman, Hon. Perez Peretu, was allegedly caught pants down in his home having canal knowledge of the girl identified as his wife’s junior sister.

While many of the suspects loyalists claim the alleged rape was an attempt by some persons to rubbish his achievement as past council chairman, others insisted that the charge of rape against the chairman was true and accused the police of trying to subvert justice after alleged financial inducement.

But the spokesman of the Bayelsa Police Command,Mr. Alex Akhigbe, speaking with LEADERSHIP on the development, admitted that the police authorities are aware of the development, there was no official complaint of rape or attempted rape against the former council boss.

Akhigbe said “when the police got wind of the development, we invited the former local government boss and discovered that the case of Rape against him was unsubstantiated and unfounded. We invited the alleged victim and she denied any canal knowledge of her by the chairman and said the chairman attempted it. Though the attempted rape is a crime, there was not official report against him.

Source: Leadership

Man rapes 70yr-old woman to death

UMUAHIA- A 70 year old woman and mother of four, Mrs. Cecilia Ogidi-Okereke, of Ibom Village in Arochukwu, Arochukwu Council Area of Abia State was last Sunday reportedly raped to death by a 32 year old man whose name was simply given as Ochu.

According to a source, Cecilia was said to have around 5pm Sunday, gone to a nearby bush to get some leaves for her domestic goats where Ochu trailed her and raped her to dath. Ochu,the source said, is  believed to be a drug addict and was fond of railing and raping women of the area.

The source said that Ochu abandoned the deceased and ran away after he had brought her body to a nearby footpath to enable the villagers see it.

He was however arrested on Monday afternoon in Ohafia, a neighbouring community as he was trying to escape.

Vanguard

Man nabbed for allegedly impregnating, aborting for teenager

Lagos — Policemen at Igando division, Lagos have arrested a  42-year- old man for allegedly impregnating and aborting a two-month-old pregnancy of a teenager in Igando area of Lagos..

The suspect identified as Rasak Isho, a married man, was alleged to have impregnated the 17-year-old who lives in the same area with him.

Trouble, as gathered,  started for the teenager after she reportedly missed her monthly circle.

She reportedly expressed her fears to Isho, who told her to exercise patience. The father of three was said to have later taken the teenager to an undisclosed hospital where the pregnancy was allegedly aborted.

But the bubble burst after she reportedly took ill and on inquiry by her parents, opened up on what happened, consequent upon which the Police.

At the station, Isho reportedly admitted to having a relationship with the teenager for six months, begging not to let his wife know.

Although the teenager claimed to have been raped at the station but Isho denied, saying she consented to his advances, adding that while wooing her, she told him she was 19 years.

“She never told me she was 17 years. She said she was 19 and that she was a 100-level student at the Delta State University, Abraka.  We started dating six months ago. When I approached her, she gave in and never refused my sexual advances.

“I swear I did not rape her. I have begged her parents to forgive me, that I will never do that again.  It was temptation and the handiwork of Satan. Please, my wife must not hear of this ”

The case, according to police sources, has been charged to the Ejigbo magistrate’s court from where it was transferred to  a family court in Ikeja, on discovering that the case involved a teenager.

Source: vanguard

Friday, 23 August 2013

Tanker driver arrested for defiling 2-yr-old girl

CALABAR — A 41-year-old tanker driver identified as Bashiru has been arrested in Calabar for allegedly defiling a two-year-old girl  and infecting her with a sexually transmitted disease.

The incident happened in Okom Ita, Akamkpa Local Government Area, Cross River State, when the two-year old girl  (name withehld)  strolled from her mother’s room  into  Bashiru’s apartment to play with the man she calls “uncle.”

Margaret, the toddler’s mother who narrated the incident to Vanguard said she did  not stop her daughter from going into Bashiru’s room because she considered him a neighbour  who could not harm her daughter.

She said: “We have been living together for some time and now, so when my daughter went into his room I did not stop her even when she later  came out and complained that she was having pains in her private part. I thought it was ordinary pain until in the evening when I wanted to bath her and she began to cry when soap touched her private part.”

Margaret said when she reported the incident to the police, Basiru  was arrested  and taken to the Akamkpa police station .

Mr Hogan Bassey, the Cross River State Police Command spokesman confirmed the arrest of the man and said the matter was under investigation.

Source : Vanguard

Thursday, 22 August 2013

3 docked for alleged rape of 14-yr-old girl

Three persons have been arraigned by the Police from Orile Division before an Ebute-Metta Chief Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, for allegedly having canal knowledge of a 14 -year-old girl.

A self-acclaimed pharmacist, Ijezie Chidiebere, 24, was charged along with Chikezie Ejesi, 25, and Okechukwu Ezea, 25. They were accused to have given the victim a ‘spiritual olive oil’ for her to drink under the pretense of cleaning her of demonic spirit to enable them have unlawful canal knowledge of her.

The police in a charge sheet number FCL/46/2013, said the three accused had committed the offense on August 3, 2013, at 8, Kekere-Ekun Street, Orile-Iganmu, at about, 9pm.

Victim’s hymen

According to the charge, the accused had conspired together to have canal knowledge of the victim who was sent to buy some drugs without her consent and in the process, destroyed the victim’s hymen. The accused were also alleged to have conducted themselves in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace by falsely calling themselves pastors and gathered people inside the Chemist’s shop; and ordered them to call the victim all sorts of derogatory names, such as witch, wizard and demon possessed girl, all under the pretense of cleansing her spiritually.

Sergeant Quasim Adams, who held brief for the prosecutor, Corporal Anthonia Osayande (Mrs.), told the court the offenses contravened sections 409, 137 and 166 (1) (d) of criminal laws of Lagos state of Nigeria, 2011, and section 247 (b) of the criminal code   cap ‘C38, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.

However, when the pleas of the accused were taken, they pleaded not guilty to the charges; and their counsel, Mr. Peter Omoludun, Ikechukwu Onodi and Ike Okafor, informed the court that the parties in the case were at the verge of settling the matter.

The presiding magistrate, Mr. K. O. Ogundare, who was not satisfied with the submission of the defense counsel, asked the victim if she was molested by the accused and she answered in affirmative.  Ogundare admitted the accused persons bail in the sum of N100, 000, with two sureties each. He ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed not self-employed and show to court evidence of three years tax payment to Lagos state government.

The magistrate also told the police to transfer the case to Family Court at Surulere, for proper adjudication while the matter was adjourned till September 24, for mention.

Source

Court remands man, 21, for alleged rape

A  21-year-old, Earnest Michel, was  on Friday remanded in prison custody by  an Ibadan Chief  Magistrate’s Court sitting in Iyaganku  for alleged rape and robbery.
The Prosecutor, Insp Aliu Samad, had told the court that the defendant was arraigned on a 10-count charge which included  unlawful carnal knowledge, forceful entry, armed robbery and stealing.
He alleged that  Michel  committed the crime on July 24 and July 26  at Sango-Polytechnic road in Ibadan.
Samad  said the defendant with two others already in prison raped a 31-year-old woman, Taiwo Owoade.
He said  Michel and his gang also  robbed Ayodeji Egunjobi and Yekini Ayanniyi of  laptop computers  and cell phones valued at N775,000.
According to the prosecutor, the offences contravened sections 516, 358, 6 (b) (1) (2), 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol II Laws of Oyo State of  Nigeria,  2000.
The defendant’s plea was, however,  not taken.
Chief  Magistrate Olaide Amzat  ordered Michel to be remanded in Agodi Prison while the case file should be  duplicated and forwarded  to the Director of  Public Prosecution for legal advice.
He adjourned the case to Aug.  29  for further hearing. (NAN)
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/08/court-remands-man-21-for-alleged-rape/#sthash.CdQYeb5g.dpuf
A  21-year-old, Earnest Michel, was  on Friday remanded in prison custody by  an Ibadan Chief  Magistrate’s Court sitting in Iyaganku  for alleged rape and robbery.
The Prosecutor, Insp Aliu Samad, had told the court that the defendant was arraigned on a 10-count charge which included  unlawful carnal knowledge, forceful entry, armed robbery and stealing.
He alleged that  Michel  committed the crime on July 24 and July 26  at Sango-Polytechnic road in Ibadan.
Samad  said the defendant with two others already in prison raped a 31-year-old woman, Taiwo Owoade.
He said  Michel and his gang also  robbed Ayodeji Egunjobi and Yekini Ayanniyi of  laptop computers  and cell phones valued at N775,000.
According to the prosecutor, the offences contravened sections 516, 358, 6 (b) (1) (2), 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol II Laws of Oyo State of  Nigeria,  2000.
The defendant’s plea was, however,  not taken.
Chief  Magistrate Olaide Amzat  ordered Michel to be remanded in Agodi Prison while the case file should be  duplicated and forwarded  to the Director of  Public Prosecution for legal advice.
He adjourned the case to Aug.  29  for further hearing. (NAN)
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/08/court-remands-man-21-for-alleged-rape/#sthash.CdQYeb5g.dpuf
A  21-year-old, Earnest Michel, was  on Friday remanded in prison custody by  an Ibadan Chief  Magistrate’s Court sitting in Iyaganku  for alleged rape and robbery.

The Prosecutor, Insp Aliu Samad, had told the court that the defendant was arraigned on a 10-count charge which included  unlawful carnal knowledge, forceful entry, armed robbery and stealing.

He alleged that  Michel  committed the crime on July 24 and July 26  at Sango-Polytechnic road in Ibadan.

Samad  said the defendant with two others already in prison raped a 31-year-old woman, Taiwo Owoade.

He said  Michel and his gang also  robbed Ayodeji Egunjobi and Yekini Ayanniyi of  laptop computers  and cell phones valued at N775,000.

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravened sections 516, 358, 6 (b) (1) (2), 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Vol II Laws of Oyo State of  Nigeria,  2000.

The defendant’s plea was, however,  not taken.

Chief  Magistrate Olaide Amzat  ordered Michel to be remanded in Agodi Prison while the case file should be  duplicated and forwarded  to the Director of  Public Prosecution for legal advice.

He adjourned the case to Aug.  29  for further hearing. (NAN)














Court remands 18-yr-old, another over rape


IBADAN — An Ibadan Chief  Magistrate’s court in Oyo State, yesterday, remanded two men in prison custody for allegedly having unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl.

The two accused persons, Ariyo Fawemi, 24, and Adetoro  Ademola, 18, were arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy and rape.

The prosecutor,  Inspector Ade Adebusuyi,  told the court that Fawemi and Ademola and two others now at large conspired  to commit the crime.

Adebusuyi said the accused persons also had unlawful carnal knowledge of one Biola, 17.

The crime was committed on July 31 at 8pm. at  Apata area of  Ibadan.

Adebusuyi said the offence contravened sections 357 and 516 of the Criminal Code Cap 38, Vol.11, Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

The pleas of the accused persons were not taken.

Chief Magistrate Olusola Adetujoye ordered them to be remanded in prison custody pending the  receipt of  legal advice from the Office of the Director of  Public Prosecution.

The case was  adjourned to September 11 for  mention.

Activists fault Senate’s resolution on underage marriage

The senate on Wednesday passed a proposal claiming that a woman is deemed to be “full of age” once she is married irrespective of the age she did so.
A cross section of activists on Wednesday faulted the Senate’s resolution to alter Section 29 (a) of the proposed constitutional amendment stipulating that a woman shall qualify for marriage only when she attains 18 years.
The Senate, however, deleted age specification for women who were once married, claiming that a woman is deemed to be “full of age” once she is married irrespective of the age she did so.
The resolution was made by lawmakers on Tuesday after a vote on recommendations of the Senate Committee on the Review of the Nigerian Constitution.
The Executive Director of PROJECT ALERT on Violence Against Women, Josephine Effa-Chukwuma, described the resolution as a selfish one.
She said that (the resolution) would contradict the Child Rights Act which stipulated that “a child is anyone below the age of 18″.
“That is very reckless of them and insensitive of them to the plight of young girls, especially in this time and era of child sexual abuse; the implications and complications that come up from early marriage which we all know; VVF, RVF and all that.
“So, if they go to the constitution to remove the age restriction that says one cannot marry a teen, then, they might as well throw the Childs rights acts out of the window.
“The Childs Rights Acts says clearly that a child is any one below the age of 18; or are they oblivious to it , it is completely
unacceptable,” she said.
Also reacting, Abiola Afolabi-Akiode, the Coordinator, Gender and Constitution Reform Network, (GECORN), described the lawmaker’s resolution as a big setback on the Nigerian people not only the women.
“It contradicted Section 21 of the Childs Rights Acts which says no persons under the age of 18 is capable of contracting a marriage; and any marriage that is contracted by a minor is null and void and has no effect whatsoever.
“The constitution is supreme, so the Childs Rights Acts falls under the constitution; So, what the man has done is to set back all the gains of the struggle of the Nigerian women.
“So this kind of law will just legalise the abuse of children in the country and that is why people were clamouring for the deletion of that section 39(4) and which the senate originally moved towards, so how the table now turned against the children of Nigeria is what we don’t understand,” she said.
On her part, the National Public Relations Officer of the KOWA Party, Oluremi Sonaiya, expressed the hope that the resolution was not a way of making people escape with molesting children.
“I hope that this is not a way of making people get away with molesting children; people who will have like they say canal knowledge of children or who will force children into marriage at a tender age, this is like giving them a loophole.
Joining in the assault are members of the Nigerian Feminist Forum, whose spokesperson, Gerdyn Ezeakile, issued an angry statement in Lagos saying:
“This action is a clear violation of Article 21(2) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which prohibits child marriage and betrothal as well as Article 6 (b) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa which provides that the minimum age of marriage for women is 18 years.A cross section of activists on Wednesday faulted the Senate’s resolution to alter Section 29 (a) of the proposed constitutional amendment stipulating that a woman shall qualify for marriage only when she attains 18 years.
The resolution was made by lawmakers on Tuesday after a vote on recommendations of the Senate Committee on the Review of the Nigerian Constitution.
However, Rev. Austin Nnorom, the Lagos State Chairman of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), urged the lawmakers to cancel the resolution.
“It is worrisome and I think it’s a very unhealthy thing by the National Assembly; we pray that they should immediately repeal that law.
“We are looking for local government autonomy and better laws not a law that will allow children, under aged to be sexually abused, and it’s going to cause a lot of social vices in this part of the country.’’

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Parents, know the signs of autism

Autism is a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorders. They appear in early childhood, usually before age three.
This brain disorder, which slows down physical, locomotive and mental development in a child till adulthood, if not managed earlier, is no more a rare development.
In fact, a recent study by the International Society of Paediatrics states that autism affects at least one out of every 88 children globally.
The condition, which has no symptoms at birth but manifests a few years after, also limits a person’s ability to communicate and relate to other people.
Adults living with autism struggle with speech and majorly have to be assisted to do things that other kids take for granted.
For instance, according to child care experts on WebMD.com, a three-year old boy who has  one of the autism spectrum disorders may need a year with  intense private teaching to be able to write or say the first five letters of the alphabet.
Because there are no obvious signs at birth to show if a child is autistic, early detection of this disorder in children is a big challenge for parents.
However, as tricky as the autism symptoms are, experts say  they can still be spotted if parents, care givers, teachers, doctors and persons who have one thing or the other to do with children are aware of the  early signs of autism.
One of them is the Director and Founder, Patrick Speech and Language Centre, in Lagos, a school for children living with autism spectrum disorders, Mrs. Dotun Akande. She states that since the number of children diagnosed with autism appears to be rising, just as there are yet no medical reasons as to why children are born with this disorder and how it can be prevented, parents must pay more attention to the growth and development of their children for early intervention.
Akande, a mother of a boy with autism, says intensive and early treatment may make a big difference in the lives of many children affected by this disorder.
According to her, it is the parents’ responsibility to pay more attention to some signs that suggest that their kids may have autism.
Early warning signs
A paediatrician on the online portal, about.com, Dr. Lisa Jo-Rudy, says it is possible, if parents are observant, to discover that their child has autism before he/she turns three.
At age one, Jo-Rudy says, an early sign of autism in children is their inability to relate or play with their peers or family members.
She notes that babies who avoid physical or body contact with their parents, siblings or peers, and those who have delay in talking, such that they keep repeating words or phrases in an usual manner, may have autism.
“If you have a baby between 18 and 24 months, who gets upset at minor changes in the environment or does not turn when he hears the mother’s voice and also avoids eye contact, then you must watch it. Something is wrong when a baby does not smile or respond to social cues from others. Even young infants are very social. It is best to contact your doctor right away with any concerns,” she adds.
Physicians say the signs of autism are more noticeable in a child’s second year. Jo-Rudy notes that while other children are forming their first words and pointing to things they want, a child with autism remains detached from learning.
She states that an autistic child would not be able to pronounce a single word by 16 months and would only be able to manage single-word phrases by age two. In severe cases, Jo-Rudy says, autistic children totally lose language skills and show no interest when adults point out objects, such as a plane flying overhead, to get their attention.
However, at the age of three, experts say, physical signs and symptoms are more obvious to help a parent safely suspect that their child may have autism.
Jo-Rudy notes that physical symptoms such as digestive problems, inability to walk or run, constipation and sleep problems, especially among boys in this age bracket, should not be wished away.
She explains that autism affects parts of the brain that control emotions, communication and body movements; adding that by the toddler years, some children with ASDs have unusually large heads and brains — which may be because of problems with brain growth.

Jo-Rudy says, “Autism affects the brain. Since most nerves and tissues that control movement are in the brain, affected children may have poor coordination of the large muscles used for running and climbing, or the smaller muscles of the hand. About a third of people with autism also often have seizures. These are more obvious than the earlier years.”

The paediatrician says apart from consulting a specialist, parents  should also notify their children’s teachers, school authorities and neighbours about their children’s developmental challenges to avoid stigmatisation.

She says, “And if your child is autistic, I can tell you that, yes, it will be hard at first. But you won’t love your child any less. In time, your child will show you a whole new perspective on the world that you never dreamed possible. And one day you’ll look back and understand why you were afraid but tell yourself at the same time that you made the right, and best, decision of your life. Because your child really will be that important to you.”

Source: PUNCH

NSCDC arrests 34-year-old man for allegedly raping a minor in Jigawa

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Jigawa has arrested a man, 34, for allegedly raping  a five-year-old girl in Hadejia local government area.
Mr Muhammad Gidado, the NSCDC Commandant in the state told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse on Monday that the suspect was arrested at Walawa quarters of Hadejia town on Friday.
Gidado said that the suspect allegedly lured the girl into an uncompleted building and committed the offence.
He said that the suspect was arrested following intelligence report.
The commandant told NAN that medical doctors at the General Hospital, Hadejia, confirmed that the girl was raped.
Gidado said that investigations into the case had been concluded adding that the suspect would soon be taken to court.
Source: PUNCH

Three men rape 14-year-old, brand her a witch

A 24-year-old patent medicine dealer, Ijezie Chidiebere, and two other men have been arraigned before the Ebute Meta Magistrate’s Court for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl.
The incident was said to have taken place on August 3, 2013  in Orile-Iganmu, Lagos State.
The police said Chidiebere and the other suspects (Okechukwu Ezea, 25 and Chikezie Ejesi, 25) detained the victim in Chidiebere’s shop where they violated her “and in the process, destroyed her hymen.”
To cover their action, they allegedly poured a liquid substance suspected to be olive oil on her while pretending to be clerics.
They were said to have told some people that had gathered that the girl was a witch, who needed urgent spiritual deliverance.
Some of the people, who were not convinced, alerted   policemen who arrested the trio.
The three men were arraigned on four counts of felony, rape and false representation.
The charges read in part, “That you, Ijezie Chidiebere,m, Okechukewu Ezea, m, Chikezie Ejesi,m and others now at large on  August 3, 2013, at 9pm at No 8, Kekere-Ekun Street, Orile-Iganmu in the Lagos Magisterial District did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit defilement and administering of noxious substance.”
The prosecutor, Sergeant Qasim Adams, said the offences were punishable under Sections 409, 137,166(1)(D) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State Nigeria 2011 and Section 247(b) of the Criminal Code of Law of Cap ‘C38’ Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
The men pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The magistrate, Mr. K.O Ogundare, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties each in like sum.
He also instructed the police to transfer the matter to the Surulere Family Court where it would receive proper attention as the court lacked the jurisdiction to try the case.
The matter was adjourned till September 24.

Source: PUNCH

Saving our children from rapists

IN the past, it was rare and hardly reported, but today, the rape of underage girls is assuming epidemic proportions in Nigeria. Across the country, reports of adult males defiling children are coming in torrents, adding to the misery of a population wracked by poverty, unemployment and crime. Paedophilia — sex by an adult with an underage person — is so destructive that Nigerians must rise to combat it and save our innocent children from the perverts.
For these predators, sex — normally a sensual activity between two consenting adults — will simply not do: they target children who cannot legally grant consent to such indulgence. Children are lured by adults they know and trust into sex, the implications of which their young minds cannot grasp. Many are brutally raped by men too strong for them to fight off. Children, babies, some only a few months old, have become fair game.
Even hardened police officers are sickened by the spectacle. In a space of five days, July 7 to July 11, the police in Edo State nabbed four men who separately raped minors, aged between seven and 13 years. In Lagos, a 13-year-old girl was lured by an adult male neighbour into a room, where three adult friends took turns to gang-rape her. The state police command reported that underage rape accounted for a significant percentage of the 678 reported cases of rape between March 2012 and March 2013. In this deadly game, the child appears to have no hiding place. Fathers are raping daughters, as did one Sylvester Ehijere, 47, who was arrested in Lagos this year for raping his own seven-year-old daughter and his granddaughter, aged one month; or one Alabi Ibrahim, 62, whose 10-year-old stepdaughter narrated how “daddy always sleeps with me when mummy is not around.”
Aid workers, urging vigilance by parents/guardians, say fathers, uncles, family friends and acquaintances, domestic staff, teachers or others in authority are often the ones who defile innocent children. A headmaster was caught in Osun State recently for serially defiling his 11-year-old female pupil, as was Olalekan Lasisi, 32, a police corporal, who raped and impregnated a 12-year-old girl in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The increase in underage rape requires serious attention from every government. While the rape of an adult is bad enough, that of a minor is reprehensible. It targets the weak and defenceless. American criminologists believe that the emotional damage of child rape could lead to girls growing up into lives of prostitution, crime and desolation. Low self-esteem and wantonness could result, while, at the other end of the spectrum, some could become frigid — a condition where a woman is incapable of enjoying sex. Some children die during or after the rape, others are traumatised for life. Some contract sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, or bleed to death. Unwanted pregnancies and babies result, some of the pregnancies leading to crude abortions that cause permanent damage.
We recommend swift action in passing the bill now before the National Assembly for an Act on Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) that spells out life imprisonment for convicted rapists in contrast to the mild three years in the statute books. This will help put away, permanently, people like the two men who recently raped an 18-month-old tot or the 85-year-old “Baba Yellow” of Somolu, an alleged serial child rapist.
The main battle against child rapists will, however, have to be waged by parents/guardians and care givers.  Parents must overcome societal pressure to conceal rape because of fear of stigmatisation of the victim. A situation where the 427 cases reported in Lagos State in 2012 are only a fraction of the actual rapes perpetrated only leaves the rapists free to strike again. CLEEN Foundation, an NGO, says “only 28 per cent of rape cases are reported to the police,” much lower than robbery, 39 per cent; kidnapping, 40 per cent; and attempted murder, 45 per cent. Princess Olufemi-Kayode, Executive Director of Mediacon, a child rights advocacy group, rightly calls on the police, especially, to respond swiftly to reports of child rape. We join NGOs in deploring the penchant for treating reports on rape with levity as “less than 50 per cent of those who muster courage to report (rapes) were satisfied with the handing of the cases,” according to CLEEN.
Mediacon advocates early sex education for children and warns parents against leaving their children with family and friends for long, since over 80 per cent of rapes of minors is committed by individuals known to the victims, including clerics. Schools, faith-based organisations and local government councils should roll out counselling programmes for parents and children. Schoolchildren should be taught to cry out and report when uncles, clerics, older boys or teachers touch or fondle their sensitive parts. Women should not suppress the rape of minors to protect family or neighbours, even their husbands.
The new legislation should emulate similar ones in the United States and Europe by compiling data banks on known paedophiles, who will be required by law to inform the police or welfare authorities when travelling to another state or country. Police authorities are then required to share information on the offenders to help monitor them. In some US states, it is mandatory to inform residents when a convicted paedophile moves in to the neighbourhood. All the 36 states should domesticate and implement the Child Rights Act, which among other measures, criminalises marriage to a girl under 18.
But eternal vigilance by parents remains the major weapon against girl-child molesters. Parents should monitor their children and forge close friendship/rapport with them to ensure the children confide in them always.

Source : PUNCH

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