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800 Companies Jostle for Gas Flare Sites

The perennial insurgency activitiesandlately,the echoes of Ebola virus may have subjugate an unusual and mind bugling homicide story of Wasilat Tasiu,the 14-year-old bride who allegedly poisoned her husbandand three othersto death, in Kano; but latest development indicates it is not yet uhuru as the little bridewas recently charged with culpable homicide punishable by death. Reports had it that the development followed the withdrawal of the case that has attracted local and international attention from the juvenile court to a Kano State High Court, over what judicial sources attributed to “lack of jurisdiction by the juvenile court”, and this was contain in the-obtained charge sheet titled, “Application to prefer a charge under Section 185(B) of the Criminal Procedure code Cap.105 Laws of Kano State 1991, signed on behalf of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice by a Senior State Counsel in the ministry, Lamido A. Soron Dinki, lined seven prosecution witnesses. The charge sheet under Criminal Procedure Code as made available to People’s Daily further read, “That you, Wasila Tasiu, 14 years, of Yansoro village , Gaya Local Government Council, on or about the 5th day of April, 2014, at about 14:30 hours, at Yansoro village, Gaya within the Kano Judicial Division, did commit culpable homicide punishable with death in that you caused the death of four persons. But, wagging questionshowever arehas Right groups and various bodies protecting Child Right silenced on the plight of a minnow bride, allegedly coerced into emergency family line.Some even queried; what level of education accorded the little girl to justify such a huge punishment awaiting the minnow when pronounced guilty at the court meant for learned adult? Without prejudice to matter before the Law court, neither justifying the weight of homicidal act committed by Wasilat, the irony of the matter before concern Nigerians arewhether the babyish looking Wasilat is conversant of the enormity of crime she has committed, the fact that the little girl premised her killings on rights and abuse of privilege on self-protection ground. “When my father told me that I should marry Umar, I told him I don’t love the man but he refused. Before our marriage I told him again, he beat me up and said I must marry him. So after our wedding I started thinking of what to do and the idea of Rat poison came to me. I went to the village market and bought it for N80, returned home and hid it. When our husband’s food was served in the sitting room, I went there and spread the poison over it”. “I did not mean to kill my husband, but rather wanted to show him that I have no feelings for him. I thought after eating it, he will divorce me and I will return to my father’s house,” Wasilat narrated. Expectedly, Wasilat’s travail has generated a lot of dust since the incidence, and questions from lips are; for how long would people hide under primitive tradition and religion doctrines to perpetuate injustice, child molestation and the worse of human right abuse in the twenty-first century to satisfy religion hegemony? It would be recalled, that a Women’s Rights group; Women Empowerment and Legal Aid, WELA, once called on authority for the prosecution of Ahmed Yerima, a former governor of Zamfara and a Senator of the Federal Republic, for marrying a 13-year-old Egyptian girl in 2010.The group had maintained that the marriage violated Section 23 of the Child Rights Act of 2003, which had been domesticated in Abuja, where Mr. Yerima lives. Though, Senator Yerima premised what many described as child abuse on tenets of Islamic religion and what the holy book of Quran said of such marriage to a minnow. But according to WELA, the judicial interpretation of that section goes beyond child marriage. “The section states that “any woman who is married shall be deemed of full age, is deemed to be an adult and can, therefore, be presumed to have criminal liabilities, therefore, be entitled to vote and be voted for in an election, she has the right to own property.“WELA urged theNigerian Senate to delete Section 29 (4) (b) from the 1999 Constitution. Consequently, many Nigerians have accused authorities in Nigerian of hypocrisy and lacks in the will to step on toes, even the Nigerian constitution is not spared as culpable in the Wasilat’s saga. The feeler is, if Mr. Yerima, a Nigerian lawmaker had been prosecuted and punished for the act at the time, having resides in the territory where a law against Child marriage is embedded, the Kano incidence would probably not have happened and protagonists of child-marriage in any part of the country would have been cautioned. Miss Ganiat Abdulwahab, an ardent Muslim, who has spent most of her life time in Northern Nigeria shared her view with People’s Daily; though flabbergasted at the measure adopted by Wasilat in protesting her maltreatment, but was quick to condemn the spate of child marriage as deep-rooted in some part of Northern Nigeria. She contended that those still found culpable of marrying out children at tender age are the Muslims who tend to stick to old way of life. Ganiat expatiate on the portion of the doctrine of Islamic that allows for teenage marriage: “Though, the maturity age as stipulated by Holy Quran is only when a girl assume maturity stage of menstruation, the question then lied in the hands of the girl’s parents to really determined her true maturity stage.” “But most time, this privilege has been abused by poverty ridden parents who extort money from desperate suitors at tender age of their girl-child.” “The consequence effects of such act are problems associated with terminal diseases due to early and forceful marriage of female children, which is today rampant in the northern part of Nigeria where I grew up.” Ganiat laments. Ganiat therefore call on Islamic leaders to brace up in challenging the trend she described as evil under the pretext of Islamic principles and norm. She drew her point from the counterproductive tendencies associated with the practice. “I will also call on authorities to treat the Wasilat’s case as one among many innocent Nigerian girl-child, who though lacks courage of the poor Wasilat but have become prisoners of their own fate in the hands of indolent parents who trade in the destiny of female child to water their frustrated lives.” She bemoaned. Mrs. Funmilayo Akingboye was a bit religious in her argument; said Wasila’s spiritual identity as well as her psyche should be properly examined to determine her state of mind. Though, she did not rule out the fact that the undue punishment melted out to the girl by her father may have contributed: “We are talking about a girl-child attempt on lives of fourteen human beings altogether. In fact, beyond interrogation of that girl as read in the news, the girl should undergo necessary medical checks to ascertain her mindset at the time she committed the crime, even, her spiritual identity needs to be examined where possible.” “And above all, the father of that girl should be quizzed and be a partaker of whatever punishment accrue to the girl under the law. That measure will teach parents good lesson that traverse any religious believe or sentiment. This is because human lives are involved in this matter, and those killed would not have died if such forceful marriage did not occur in the first place.” She opined. She equally beckons on older men who are lustful after young girls and fresh bloods, to desist from what she described as child abuse. “Most time, the acts of lustfulness after young girls by some of these older men are simply for diabolical end, which unsuspecting and desperate parents might not be sensitive about. But Wasilat’s case is a pure case of child molestation in the hands of older men of fifties. I think there should be a stringent law to correct the menace in the land, otherwise, what Wasilat started is just an eye opener to other neophyte village girls, rather, there would be more ‘Ota pia pia’ in time to come” She opined. Other reactions as culled from social media empathizing with Wasilat are even mind boggling rather than the colossal crime she has committed. Hear them: “Please they should set this girl free joo. I am not in support of evil or murder but I have a strong feeling that this child must have seen pepper from her late husband for her to have poisoned him. Could be that she was a virgin and she felt she has been defiled or probably her late husband was a sex maniac or abusive in one way or another, She just felt her way to freedom was to kill the man.” Jude. “Why are they keeping her in prison? If they must charge her, then they should arrest her father for forcing the girl into marriage at that age.” Anonymous. “I hope Right groups will back her up. She just had to free herself” Henshaw. In fact, this girl's life is almost finished because this event will change her life forever. No thanks to her greedy parents who should be charged alongside with the girl, rubbish.Sunshine Be it as it may, pressing questions demanding answer are; can Wasilat, being a juvenile get punished under the law she understood nothing about?Or can the truism ‘no ignorant before the law’ be applied to hang a14 years old to death on ground that lower court lacks jurisdiction to entertain such case?This unarguably, is what many pundits consider a constitutional default which urgently requires amendment. Moreover, our investigation reveals that Wasilat Tasiu’s lawyers had been served the Charge sheet; but commenting on the development, Chairperson, Kano State chapter, Federation of Women Lawyers, Hajiya Hussaina Aliyu, confirmed the receipt of the legal documents against Wasilat Tasiu, but assured the media that: “Competent hands have been assigned to handle the case”; how far such effort goes in such an homicide case before a competent court of jurisdiction, only time could tell; and where the baby bride is condemned to death, may be the saving grace for the teen bride lies in the Prerogative of Mercy of Mr. President, the first of its kind in the Nigerian History so to speak. However, some school if taught have posited that should a child of 13-15 years of age, who is yet to understand who she is, is forced or talked into marriage on account of breasts condition or menstruating status, some analysts believes slavery is here again, sayingservitude and involuntary in whatever form it appears cannot and should not be encouraged now or in the nearest future; girl-child education should be encouraged not her assault. No to girl-child marriage! No to prostitution! No to Rape!

About 800 companies have expressed interest for management of 176 gas flare sites in the country.

This was revealed to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu.

Kachikwu said that government in a frantic bid to stop gas flaring in the country by the year 2020, had received bids of 226 bidders that paid the stipulated fees out of the 800 companies that expressed interest in managing the sites.

“Over 800 companies have expressed interest to manage about 176 gas flare sites and out of the total companies, about 226 have paid the stipulated fees and their bids had been received,” he said.

“Premised on the foregoing, the policy position of His Excellency, President Muhammad Buhari, is that gas flaring is totally unacceptable.

“In this regard, the Federal Government of Nigeria, initiated a number of actions to reaffirm its commitment to ending the practice of gas flaring in our oil fields.

“Furthermore, in recognition that flared gas could be harnessed to stimulate economic growth, drive investments and provide jobs in oil producing communities and indeed for Nigerians through the utilisation of widely available innovative technologies.

“The Federal Executive Council in June 2016, approved the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, NGFCP,” he said.

“We must stop gas flare and other hazards associated with gas flaring in Nigeria.

We must also ensure that oil and gas production do not become harmful to our citizens,” he added.

“The policy objective is to move to market-led wholesale gas pricing without gas price regulation, except where there are natural monopolies,” Kachikwu noted.

The government was working hard, 10 years ahead of the United Nation’s UN deadline to stop gas flaring in the country by the year 2020.

(NAN)

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