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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

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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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Arewa

Nigerian newspapers: 10 things you need to know this Monday morning

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. A former Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo to say more things he knows about Boko Haram, killer herdsmen and the alleged plot to Islamise Nigeria. He said Obasanjo remains the only politically active southern and Middle Belt leader that understands what is really going on, the grave danger Nigeria is in and what lies ahead. He also attacked former Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido, for attacking Obasanjo and defending President Muhammadu Buhari.

2. The Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, on Sunday, slammed the minister of transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi over his declaration that Ndigbo should forget 2023. In a statement by its National Secretary, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, the OYC said Amaechi was now the chief promoter of injustice. Okwu said it was an insult of the highest order for Amaechi to arrogate to himself the powers he does not have.

3. Former Governor of Jigawa state and Peoples Democratic party chieftain in the country, Sule Lamido has tackle former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo over his recent statements on insecurity in the country. Lamido while responding to the statement said Obasanjo was becoming a bigot due to his disappointment against the sitting president.

4. Staff and students of Kwara State Polytechnic have threatened to stage a peaceful protest over the appointment of a new Rector by the outgoing administration in the state. Mr. Kayode Rafiu, the leader of the students, said this in a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday. Rafiu said the protest would commence on Tuesday, May 21. He said the protest became necessary due to the alleged “shabby process in the appointment of a new rector for the institution by the outgoing administration.’’

5. Nigeria international striker, Asisat Oshoala has become the first African to score in a UEFA Women’s Champion League final. The Super Falcons attacker came in as an 87th-minute substitute in Saturday’s final. With Lluis Cortes’ side trailing 4-0, the 25-year-old scored in the 89th minute. Her goal was, however, not enough to inspire her team’s fight back.

6. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Sunday reacted to claim by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed that its 2019 presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar was plotting to overthrow the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government. However, spokesperson of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said the claim was a sign of desperation by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to hold onto power. Ologbondiyan alleged that APC was plotting to fabricate security accusations against the PDP and Atiku.

7. A senior Pastor of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Dankade, in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Rev. Zakariah Ido has been kidnapped. Reports claim that the Pastor and 16 others among whom were his daughter and son of the pastor of Assemblies of God Church, were seized by gunmen within the church premises during service on Sunday.

8. At least, fifteen persons have been allegedly killed and some beheaded by suspected cultists in Kono Bo-ue community in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State in a fresh cult clash in the area. Rampaging armed cultists invaded the community, raiding the home of rival cult members, and killing at random.

9. The Edo Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed DanMallam, on Sunday confirmed the killing of a lecturer with the Igbinedion University, Okada, near Benin, by suspected kidnappers. DanMallam said the lecturer, Kelvin Izebeokhai, was killed in an attempt to escape when the victims were being marched into the forest by the kidnappers.

10. Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has assured that the additional four Emirates have come to stay, insisting that, they were created in good faith without any disdainful treatment to anybody or group of individuals. He said this on Sunday while insisting that the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi is no longer the only first-class monarch in the state.

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Arewa

Nigerian Newspapers: 10 things you need to know this Sunday morning

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers

1. Former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has reacted to alleged withdrawal of billions of Naira from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, while he was in office.

The former president, who spoke at a meeting organised by the Anglican Community in Abuja on Friday, described the allegation as false and misleading.

2. The federal government on Saturday raised a fresh alarm that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, were working to make Nigeria ungovernable with the intention of overthrowing President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, Atiku and the PDP were carrying out acts to undermine the Buhari government just to heat up the polity.

3. A former Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, has said that Igbo have no chance of taking over from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

He said this was simply because the South East voted against Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.

4. The Apex Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Saturday lambasted the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for saying the South East can’t produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chuks, said Amaechi is not God as such can’t decide the political future of the region.

5. The Commissioner for Information in Kano State, Comrade Mohammed Garba, has offered explanations as to why the Governor of the State, Abdullahi Ganduje, fell apart with the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II.

Garba said that the revered monarch got involved in partisan politics contrary to the tradition of the throne.

6. The Governorship, National and State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal in Benue State has fixed May 28 to commence pre-trial on the only governorship petition before it.

Tribunal secretary, Deborah Musa, who made this disclosure, said that all court processes had been completed and that the pre-trial was set to begin.

7. The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has identified crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism, illegal refining of petroleum products and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as challenges still plaguing the Nigeria’s waterways.

The Chief of Defence Staff, therefore, charged the officers to be courageous, morally upright and to be resilient in whatever role they find themselves especially in some of the challenges he highlighted.

8. The Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mr Sulaiman Balarabe, has ordered investigations into alleged suicide of a University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) student, Chukwuemeka Ugwuoke.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, noted that the commissioner had directed the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID) of the command to unravel the mystery behind the suicide incident.

9. The Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has finally filed his defence of five volumes of 1800 pages and also moved to present 203 witnesses who would tell the whole world that there was a free and fair election on 23th March 2019.

Barrister Lawan, Abdullahi who is one of the leading counsels to the Governor, said the PDP’s petition was unnecessary in the first place but since it is filed, they would still have to grapple with losing.

10. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Saturday evening made history in their 6-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Goals from David Silva (1), Raheem Sterling (3), Kevin De Bruyne (1) and Gabriel Jesus (1) ensured Guardiola’s side won the FA Cup title.

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Atiku Obasanjo

Obasanjo speaks on churches criticizing government

Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the Church would continued to play very critical role in the overall growth and development of the country.

NAN reports that Obasanjo made this known on Saturday at the 2019 Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta.
The former president, who spoke on the topic, “Mobilising Nigeria’s Human and Natural Resources for National Development and Stability”, said the Church had in the face of daunting challenges continued to mould opinions.
He said the Church also makes critical interventions, and influences policies and general directions of the various tiers of governments in Nigeria.
“A clear testimony to this ennobling role of the church can be seen from the topic: Mobilising Nigeria’s Human and Natural Resources for National Development and Stability.

“The main mission of the Church is salvation of the soul but without ignoring the physical, mental and the general social well-being of humankind.

“This topic is, to me, very apt, particularly as our dear country Nigeria keeps seeking for ways and means of overcoming the developmental challenges that confront it.

“When closely examined, it can be seen that the topic is prescriptive, as against the general norm nowadays which tend to dwell only on the ills that afflict us and consequently end up with only criticisms

“But I must hasten to say that criticism particularly objective criticism is good for the growth and human development,” he said.

Obasanjo maintained that development was all about the people, for the people and by the people.

He said, “this implies that no aspect of the development of any nation must be seen as an end in itself, but rather, as a means to acquiring human wellbeing and welfare.

“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) espoused the concept of Human Development as the ultimate goal of National Development.

“Growth and development are positive attributes. Anything God creates needs to grow and develop.”

The former president maintained that the welfare and security of the people was, to a large extent, synonymous with national development and stability.

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