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Judicial CP - January 2004
The Star, Johannesburg, South Africa, 8 January 2004
'Pregnant girl's rights need to be protected'
By Hans Pienaar and Sapa-AP
The South African government has been urged to call on Nigeria to
overturn a sentence of 100 lashes imposed on a 15-year-old girl allegedly
raped and impregnated by her stepfather.
The party's Women's Network co-ordinator, Helen Zille,
said she had written a letter to Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
urging her to call on Nigeria to overturn the girl's
Weekly Trust, Kaduna, 24 January 2004
Niger Delta Youths Dethrone King With 60 Strokes of Cane
By Yusuf Ozi-Usman
If anybody had told King Ebimodi Agari, the traditional ruler of a small settlement around the Mbiama riverine area of Ahoada West Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on January 15th this year that he would face a gruelling experience in the hands of the irate youths in the village, he would have waved it aside as idle talk.
That day, the youths in the village had positioned themselves in strategic points around Agari's palace. The angry youths were not there for a picnic or handshake with the ruler who was being expected to arrive from Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State.
Shortly after the youths had taken position with whips and sturdy sticks dangling from their hands, the ruler arrived in a 505 saloon car.
When he alighted from the car, he smiled and walked towards the gate of his palace, but the youths moved fast to block him.
"We built this palace for our king who should always represent our interests and aspirations, but you have failed us and you can't be our ruler now," the youth leader declared to Agari who at first looked unruffled.
As the king opened his mouth to speak, the youths descended on him, removed his red cap and quickly threw him on the ground. Some of the youths held his hands, while others held his legs. The youth leader and five others took turn to give the erstwhile king ten lashes each.
They later put him back in the 505 saloon car and asked his driver to take him back to Yenagoa. The youths matched away, singing victory songs.
One of the youths, who gave his name simply as Thomas, told Weekend Trust in an interview that Chief Agari had betrayed the people in the community by collecting huge sums of money from certain oil companies on behalf of the people and diverting the money into his personal account. The money was meant for compensation to the people in the area whose farmlands had been devastated by oil pollution.
Thomas stated that prominent members of the community had similarly betrayed the people in the past but that they thought Chief Agari would be different.
Asked what the people in the community would do now that they had dethroned their king, Thomas said they would soon appoint a new traditional ruler "even if it means the person would be one of us (the youths)."
Weekend Trust noted that no single policeman was around to save King Agari from the humiliation (our reporter could not take pictures because of the threatening stance of the youths). It was learnt that the youths are always in charge in the village and that they always clash with any security agent that surfaces in the area for whatever purpose.
The dethroned chief was not available for comment on the humiliation he went through. Weekend Trust gathered that he was immediately driven out of the village to seek for medical attention in nearby Port Harcourt.
Copyright © 2004 Weekly Trust. All rights reserved.
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