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Sierra Leone Declares Rape ‘National Emergency,’ Perpetrators to Face Life Imprisonment

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  • Sierra Leone Declares Rape ‘National Emergency’

Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio has officially declared rape and sexual violence a ‘national emergency’ following a series of cases involving minors.

The earlier brutal rape of a five-year-old girl by her 28-year-old relative which led to the crushing of her spine in Sierra Leone brought about a massive campaign against rape and sexual violence. This further agitated the President to declaring rape a national emergency, emphasizing that those convicted of sexual offences, involving minors will be punishable by life imprisonment.

The President, who made this known in a Keynote Address, said hundreds of cases of rape and sexual assault against women, girls and babies as young as three months are reported each month in Sierra Leone.

Also, he said that 70 per cent of rape victims are under the age of 15. The current law carries a maximum penalty of 15 years, and just a handful of cases have been duly prosecuted.

Noting further that thousands of rape cases are unreported, owing to a culture of silence, adding that the move is to increase awareness and bring perpetrators of such acts to book, as they face life in prison.

“With this declaration, I have also directed the following: that all government hospitals must provide free medical treatment and certificate to every victim of rape and sexual abuse,” he said.

Bio, further said the national emergency move against sexual violence will involve addressing gaps in the nation’s Sexual Offences Act of 2012. He also ordered the creation of a special police division for rape and sexual violence against minors.

President Bio said his government would work with civil societies and development partners to improve laws against sexual violence and other gender violence.

Again, he called on citizens to cooperate with the government in the fight to restore the “pride and dignity” of women and girls in the country.

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Woman Kills Boyfriend Over Dispute on ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ Earnings

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In a shocking turn of events, a 27-year-old woman, Oluchi Nzemechi, has been arrested for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend, Kelechi Nzemechi, to death over a disagreement on how to share the proceeds from their internet scam business, popularly known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo’.

The incident occurred in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.

According to a statement released by the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Henry Okoye, the suspect has confessed to committing the crime.

Oluchi revealed during interrogation that her boyfriend had introduced her to the world of cybercrime.

Their illicit activities recently culminated in the successful duping of an Indonesian victim out of 250 million rupiah (approximately $16,500 USD).

The fatal dispute arose when Oluchi and Kelechi were discussing how to divide the substantial sum. The argument quickly escalated, and in a fit of rage, Oluchi grabbed a kitchen knife and fatally stabbed Kelechi.

Realizing the gravity of her actions, she attempted to divert suspicion from herself by leaving a misleading note on Kelechi’s body, which read, “You think you can eat my money and go free? I am baba for the boys. I am coming for your wife and your child, including your family,” before fleeing the scene.

ASP Okoye’s statement also mentioned that Oluchi and Kelechi had been living together since 2019 and had a child together.

The police are currently taking necessary steps to recover the fraudulently obtained 250 million Indonesian rupiah to return it to the rightful owner.

The suspect is now in police custody and undergoing further investigation at the State Criminal Investigation Department. She will be arraigned in court once the investigation is concluded.

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Napoli President Travels to Convince PSG on Osimhen’s €120M Clause

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Victor Osimhen

In a high-stakes move to secure the future of one of European football’s hottest talents, Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has flown to France to engage in direct talks with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) officials.

The purpose of the trip is to persuade the French club to trigger the €120 million release clause of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen.

The 24-year-old forward has been a pivotal player for Napoli, drawing widespread attention with his impressive performances.

Last year, Osimhen expressed a desire to explore new opportunities, prompting Napoli to offer him a new contract that included a substantial release clause.

Despite his outstanding form, concerns over his recent injury have caused potential suitors to hesitate.

De Laurentiis’ trip to Paris underscores Napoli’s determination to secure a lucrative transfer for Osimhen. With PSG reportedly cooling their interest in recent months, the Napoli president aims to reignite their pursuit and finalize the deal.

“We believe Victor is worth every cent of his release clause,” a Napoli insider revealed. “De Laurentiis is committed to ensuring that any transfer reflects his true value.”

In addition to Osimhen, De Laurentiis is expected to discuss Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who has reportedly agreed on personal terms with PSG.

The Napoli president aims to prevent the French giants from swooping in for another of their prized assets without due negotiation.

Over the past year, several top European clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United, have been linked with Osimhen.

However, his €120 million release clause and injury issues have deterred them from making firm offers. Chelsea, in particular, has turned its attention to alternative targets such as RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko.

Despite these setbacks, De Laurentiis remains hopeful. “PSG has the financial power and the ambition to sign a player of Osimhen’s caliber,” he said before his departure. “We are here to ensure they understand the opportunity that lies before them.”

This development comes as Napoli seeks to balance their books and invest in strengthening their squad for the upcoming season. A successful sale of Osimhen would provide significant financial flexibility and allow them to pursue other high-profile targets.

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EU to Raise Schengen Visa Fees, African Nationals Hit Hardest

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Nigerian International passport- Investors King

Starting Tuesday, African nationals seeking entry to the European Union will face increased visa fees as the EU raises the cost of Schengen visa applications from €80 to €90.

This 12.5% hike announced by the EU Commission adds to the financial burden for many applicants, particularly from African countries that already face high rejection rates and significant expenses.

According to recent Schengen visa statistics, African nationals received 704,000 negative responses to their visa applications in 2023.

This high rate of rejections resulted in approximately €56.3 million spent on non-refundable visa fees.

The report highlights that these expenses, referred to as ‘reverse remittances,’ represent a substantial financial outflow from African countries to the EU, benefiting no one but the recipient nations.

The impact of these costs is disproportionately felt by African applicants, who accounted for 43.1% of the total amount generated by rejected applications in 2023.

Among the hardest-hit were nationals from Algeria and Morocco. Algerians, who filed the second-highest number of applications, saw 42.3% of their 289,000 requests denied.

Moroccan nationals faced an even higher rejection rate, with 62% of their 437,000 applications being turned down, leading to €10.9 million spent on unsuccessful visa bids.

Overall, the EU earned €3.4 million from rejected Schengen visa applications submitted by Nigerian citizens alone, illustrating the significant financial burden placed on individual applicants.

The high rejection rates for African and Asian countries, which together bear 90% of all visa-related expenses, exacerbate the economic challenges faced by applicants from these regions.

The recent study by EU Observer underscores the growing trend of increased expenses and rejection rates.

Schengen visa rejections generated €130 million in 2023, up from €105 million the previous year, indicating a rise in both visa costs and the financial impact on applicants.

Marta Foresti, founder of the LAGO Collective, commented on the broader implications of these financial dynamics.

“Visa inequality has very tangible consequences and the world’s poorest pay the price. You can think of the costs of rejected visas as ‘reverse remittances’, money flowing from poor to rich countries. We never hear about these costs when discussing aid or migration; it is time to change that,” she said.

As the EU implements the new visa fee structure, the financial strain on African nationals is set to intensify. With some of the lowest wages globally, many Africans will find the increased costs even more challenging to bear.

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