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UN urges passage of sexual harassment bill

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• Soyombo Donates N.5m Prize Towards Release Of Inmates

The United Nations (UN) has called on the media and civil society to mobilise support for the passage of the Bill for the Prohibition of Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institutions.

UN Women Country Representative in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ms. Comfort Lamptey, stated this in Abuja yesterday, during the People Journalism Prize For Africa 2019. Represented by the UN Communications Analyst, Mercedes Alfa, the envoy described ending violence against women and girls as a key area at UN Women.

“Women and girls are disproportionately subjected to violence, including femicide, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, trafficking and harmful practices.

“The Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls is a global initiative with operations in 136 countries including Nigeria. It is a joint programme by the European Union (EU), UN and in Nigeria with the Federal Government and five state governments including Lagos, Cross River, Adamawa, Sokoto and Ebonyi,”

The People Prize for Journalism Africa was organised by Gatefield to honour an investigative reporter and broadcaster, Kiki Mordi and Fisayo Soyombo. Soyombo was honoured for his undercover stunt to reveal corruption by officers of the Nigerian Correctional Service and the systematic cycle it pervade, while Mordi was honoured for utilising her voice and gifts to advocate gender equality. Her ground-breaking documentary, Sex for Grades, helped give Nigerian women and girls, who are survivors of sexual violence, a sense of justice.

Meanwhile, Soyombo, after receiving the award, said he would be donating the N500,000 attached to the People Journalism Prize for Africa (PJPA) 2019 to work for the release of inmates awaiting trial.

In his speech on Thursday night, Soyombo said the money would go into paying for the services of lawyers who would track the cases of the inmates and see to their eventual release.

According to him, the fund would be managed by The Justice Project (TJP) by Touch The World Foundation, a social initiative of Lagos-based church, Ecclesia Hills.“ I am donating N500,000 cash reward to TJP, a cause for the release of awaiting-trial inmates who have no business in prison. And, trust me, there are scores of them. My three-part investigation may have focused on the deep-seated corruption tarnishing the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria, but that isn’t the only frailty of the system.”

“One other is the huge population of awaiting-trial inmates, many of them actually in prison for trivial offences and others not even deserving of detention much less imprisonment in the first place. At Ikoyi Prison, for example, more than 3,000 inmates inhabit a prison built for 800. Of these 3,000, less than 500 are convicts; the number of awaiting-trial inmates usually hovers around 2,500.”


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