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Pope orders all priests and nuns to report sexual abuse



The world’s one million Catholic priests and nuns are now obliged to report any suspicion of sexual abuse under new rules issued by Pope Francis.

But while they will have to relay any concerns to the church authorities, they do not have to inform the police.

Until now, reporting suspicions has been a matter of individual conscience.

The new church law aims to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks. It marks the latest effort by the Pope to address the sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church and his own papacy.

The law also allows victims, or those representing them, to report alleged clerical abuses directly to the Vatican, after procedures at diocesan level were discredited by multiple cover-ups.

In addition, clerics cannot order anyone who reports abuse to remain silent.

And the document provides protection for whistleblowers, who it says must not suffer “prejudice, retaliation or discrimination”.

Every diocese must set up a system through which claims of sexual abuse and cover-up can be reported confidentially by 1 June 2020.

Qualified lay experts will be called in to help with investigations, and victims will be told the outcome of an investigation if they request the information.

The Vatican has long argued that requiring clerics to report to the police could endanger the church in places where Catholics are a persecuted minority. But the law says that clerics should continue to follow local law when deciding to report alleged sexual abuse to civil authorities.

It has been suggested that a special fund be set up to pay for investigations.

Pope Francis

The Pope summoned senior church leaders to a summit on sexual abuse in February

As well as introducing new rules, the document also defines crimes that should be reported.

These are: performing sexual acts with a minor or vulnerable person; forcing someone by “violence, threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts”; production, exhibition, possession or distribution of child abuse material, as well as inducing a minor or vulnerable person to participate in exhibiting porn.

Cover-ups that must be reported are defined as “actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil investigations or canonical investigations”.

Pope Francis’s edict has emerged three months after he summoned senior church leaders to Rome in February for a summit on sexual abuse.

The scandal has battered the Catholic Church’s reputation and has been a major challenge for Francis since his 2013 election.

Former US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was defrocked in February after he was found guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults.

Some dioceses have gone bankrupt after paying settlements to victims.

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Shi’ite Protest: We Have No Hand In El-Zakzaky’s Detention, Presidency Claims



The Federal Government of Nigeria has denied involvement in the continued detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakaky and his wife despite numerous court orders for his release discarded by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.

In a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, the Presidency says the issue of El-ZakZaky was before the court in Kaduna, urging his supporters to focus on his ongoing trial instead of causing daily damages, disruptions and public nuisance in Abuja.”

The Federal Government called on Shiite members to desist from needless violent street protests and await the decision of the court in Kaduna where their leader is currently being tried.

The statement reads in part, “It is wrong to be in court and resort to violence at the same time to get justice for anybody accused.

“The destruction of public property in the name of protest is not within the right of this group of Shiite members and no government anywhere would have tolerated a situation where any group would take over public roads in cities as they have done in Abuja and interfere with the rights of other citizens who are prevented from reaching their destinations.

“We imagine a situation where families are taking their loved ones to hospital for emergency treatment and they are held up needlessly by the protesters. No government anywhere in the world would turn a blind eye to this unlawful behaviour.

“As far as this country’s Ministry of Justice is concerned, the case involving El-Zakzaky is no longer in its domain. The Federal Government no more has hands in the matter and to that extent, the government at the centre can be said to be clear of any alleged violations of court orders as being trumpeted every day.”

Shehu added that the open protest was an embarrassment to the President which will lead nowhere.

“These rallies and street dances ostensibly to openly insult the President and other leaders, threatening bloodshed will lead nowhere because President Buhari will not ask the country’s judiciary to abandon due process and set a suspect free. At the same time, the administration is determined to enforce the decision of the court issued. The Buhari administration has absolutely no hand in the on-going court case and the courts are free to determine the bail request and the outcome.

“The mentality that you are above the law and that your rights are superior to other people’s rights is unacceptable.

“You can’t be provoking other citizens by interfering with their rights on public roads and disrupting their businesses and call it democratic freedom. In democratic traditions, their rights end where the rights of others begin.

“Law-abiding citizens must avoid deliberate lawlessness. It is not within the rights of any group to enter protected public institutions such as the National Assembly by force to attack police and destroy public and private property.

“It is always advisable to embrace dialogue and eschew violence in all our actions so that we can continue to live together in peace.

“We, therefore, appeal to the Shiite group to stop deliberate provocations that result in violence and fatalities and allow the trial of El-ZakZaky to take its course.”

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El-Zakzaky, Dasuki must not die in detention – HURIWA warns Buhari



Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Thursday cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against allowing former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki and the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky to die in detention.

This was as HURIWA pleaded with world leaders to prevail on Buhari to respect the courts by releasing Dasuki and El-Zakzaky who have “languished in underground jails for over three years extralegally.”

HURIWA stated that the, “continuous detention and duplication of charges against the duo by President Muhammadu Buhari is an act of treason against the constitution,” adding that “it is necessary that they are not allowed to die in detention following reports of their deteriorating health conditions.”

In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko entitled “El-Zakzaky, Dasuki must not die in detention,” the Rights group also condemned the order by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu for restricting members of IMN to the Unity Foundation in Abuja.

HURIWA wondered how Adamu whose office was a creation of the constitution has assumed the “ultra vires power of overruling the constitution and the Courts of competent jurisdiction.”

The statement reads: “HURIWA condemned the illegal order issued by Mr. Adamu Mohammed the inspector general of police restricting public protests to only within the confines of unity fountain in Abuja as against the clear provisions of the constitution in chapter four and provisions of the constitution guaranteeing the fundamental freedoms of movement and peaceful assembly, including the binding Appellate` court’s verdict clearly stating that police don’t have any legal right to stop protests and against the most cherished values of constitutional democracy built around the tripod of freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of movement which are even guaranteed by a plethora of global human rights laws.

“Specifically, we express disbelief that the rest of the developed world had looked on as president Buhari has unleashed venoms and vicious attacks against protesters and has adopted extra-legal measures to detain citizens against binding decisions of the courts of competent jurisdiction as empowered by section 36(5) and section (6) which states: “Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be

“Innocent until he is proved guilty;

“Provided that nothing in this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes upon any such person the burden of proving particular facts.”

HURIWA stated that the President can’t overrule the constitutionally guaranteed judicial powers of the federation conferred on the courts in accordance with section six as follows: “The judicial powers of the federation is vested in the courts of competent jurisdictions and section 36(6) that “Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to

“(a) be informed promptly in the language that he understands and in detail of the nature of the offence;

“(b) be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

“(c) defend himself in person or by legal practitioners of his own choice;

“(d) examine, in person or by his legal practitioners, the witnesses called by the prosecution before any court or tribunal and obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his behalf before the court or tribunal on the same conditions as those applying to the witnesses called by the prosecution; and

“(e) have, without payment, the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand the language used at the trial of the offence.

“We are shocked that whilst constitutional democracy gradually dies away in Nigeria due to deliberate whittling down of respect for human rights by the current administration, world leaders in U.S.A. and U.K. simply don’t care but pretend to be unaware of the global consequences of a deluge of refugees from Nigeria should democracy collapsed under the heavyweight of tyranny and totalitarianism of the current administration”.

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Presidential election: Tribunal rules on HDP candidate’s petition to be declared President



The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has again dismissed the petition filed by the presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Ambrose Owuru, to declare him President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Justice Mohammed Garba delivered the ruling on Thursday.

Justice Garba dismissed the petition on the ground that the petition raised issues that the tribunal lacked the powers to adjudicate on, Channels TV reports.

The tribunal held that the petition of Owuru is unknown to law and lacks constitutional backing.

The tribunal further said that the petition is an aberration that constitutes an abuse of court process.

Owuru had in his petition claimed that the failure of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the Presidential Election on February 16 forced his party to conduct a referendum through which Nigerians elected him as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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