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Lagos state government releases guidelines on abortion

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The Lagos State Government has developed and launched guidelines for the development of safe and lawful abortion services within the ambit of the state’s criminal law.

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, presented a 40-page policy document tagged “Lagos State Guidelines on Safe Termination of Pregnancy for Legal Indications” at a stakeholders’ engagement on Tuesday.

Dr. Ogboye said the need was borne out of the desire for evidence-based data and information for health workers in public and private sectors.

Ogboye explained that while therapeutic termination of pregnancy is permissible under the law in Lagos State, the post-procedure absence of clear guidelines has stalled the effective implementation at appropriate levels of care resulting in preventable deaths.

His words: “In 2011, the Lagos State House of Assembly updated the criminal code, providing for abortion to save the life and protect the physical health of the woman.

“While physical health is covered under the Lagos legal framework, services conforming to the law have not been available in the procedure of the State health sector.

“This document provides information on relevant laws applicable in Lagos State while providing standards and best practices with regards to legal indications, pre, and post-procedure care, methods, the and monitoring.

“I must state here that this document has undergone wide consultation with relevant technical stakeholders within the legal and health service context in the State.”

Ogboye said the follow-up development of the guidelines commenced in 2018 with the Safe Engage project led by the Lagos Ministry of Health and hosted by the Society for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Nigeria (SOGON), with support from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

He noted that stakeholders in the state’s health sector worked with key opinion leaders in Lagos and the southwest region to develop a tailored advocacy tool for terminations within the legal context.

He also pointed out that the advocacy messages on the Safe Engage project focused on ensuring that safe abortion services were available within legal indications in Lagos, and domesticating the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, Act supporting women to terminate a pregnancy caused by rape or incest.

“The Federal Ministry of Health had developed and disseminated the national guidelines on safe termination of pregnancy which highlights the compendium of conditions and circumstances under which termination of pregnancy could be instituted.

“The guideline was intended to build the capacity of health professionals to identify pregnancies for which legal termination could be instituted.

“Marie Stopes International in Nigeria in collaboration with the Population Reference Bureau proposed to support the State government to adapt the document.”

Further, Ogboye said that the process for National guidelines adaptation included technical meetings to discuss sections of the law supporting safe abortion and conditions permitted within the legal framework to save the lives and the physical health of mothers; and validation meetings with the broader stakeholders to review the document.

“All that hard work has culminated in today’s dissemination of the guidelines. We hope this dissemination today will help guide health providers to provide this service within the ambit of the law”, Ogboye stated.

The Country Director, Marie Stopes International Organisation Nigeria, MSION, Mr. Emmanuel Ajah, stated that the development and dissemination of the policy document have once again proven that Lagos is leading the way for State-level intervention to stem the tide of unsafe abortion and give women and girls improved health outcomes.

Noting that abortion in Nigeria is not illegal but restrictive, Ajah said significant numbers of health providers are unaware of the legal indications for safe termination of pregnancy.

“The domestication of this policy provides that needed guidance to healthcare providers on medical conditions in pregnancy that pose a high risk to the woman’s life and health if the pregnancy progresses to term, and on the standard management of abortion within the extent of the law in Lagos state.

“This policy is a demonstration of the commitment of the Lagos state government to improving maternal health, especially mitigating the impact of unsafe abortion practices in the State,” Ajah stated.

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences, Otukpo, Prof. Innocent Ujah, who was one of the Consultants who developed the document, said the enunciation, deployment, providing, and use of the guidelines will preserve the lives of pregnant women and women whose physical or mental health would be compromised with the continuation of their pregnancies.

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Angry motorists and passengers attack armed robbers with stones and planks on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

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A four-man robbery gang was shocked into beating a retreat after road users heeded the rallying call of a motorist to attack the armed men — with stones.

There was apprehension on Long Bridge, inward Lagos State, opposite Mikano/Karameh City, along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, at about 5.55a.m., on Wednesday. Four gun-wielding men in black had taken advantage of the traffic jam and started robbing motorists.

However, some brave passengers and motorist disrupted their operations by pelting them with pebbles.

Narrating his experience to Vanguard, a passenger said he was in a Mazda car that took off from Mowe, Ogun State.

According to Owokunle, seven passengers were on board the Mazda car, when the armed men were sighted in black cardigans, robbing unsuspecting road users.

He said: “The journey was very smooth from Mowe, but as we approached the Long Bridge, the driver was advised to be alert because of the perennial gridlock ahead.

“Shortly after, the driver sighted the suspects on the bridge stopping and robbing road users.

“People were scared and many drivers and passengers abandoned their vehicles and fled in different directions.”

He continued: “Fortunately, one of the road users shouted at the top of his voice, advising co-road users to stop running and to face the suspects.

“This was how the road users pelted the suspects with stones, while some drivers brought out cutlasses and rods to face the suspects.

“Sensing danger, the suspects descended the bridge and disappeared.”

Another road user, who simply gave his name as Gabriel, corroborated Owokunle, saying two car owners were robbed in his presence before the road users began a counter attack.

“This angered us and we faced the suspects with pebbles, cutlasses and rods,” he added.

Another road user, Aramide, said out of fear someone jumped from the bridge and this may lead to serious injuries.

“But nobody could wait to attend to him as people continued their journey after the nasty experience,” he said.

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JUST IN: Bandits release seven more kidnapped train passengers

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Seven of the passengers abducted in an attack on a train in Kaduna have regained their freedom.

The seven victims were released on Wednesday morning by their abductors.

Tukur Mamu, publisher of Desert Herald, who had been involved in the negotiations, told Channels Television that six of the released victims are members of the same family.

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Since 1966, millions have died to keep us together — Nigeria will remain one, says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the millions of Nigerians, who have died for the country to remain united, is a pointer to practical experience on “hard-earned patriotism”.

Buhari spoke on Tuesday when he received former state chairpersons of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), at the state house, Abuja.

According to a statement by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari said the passion for improving the livelihood of Nigerians, which culminated in the creation of the political party, had not dwindled.

The president said the self-centeredness that led to the loss of about a million lives between from 1966 — just before the Civil War — till date, must not be allowed to repeat itself.

The president called for more steadfastness among Nigerians, and urged political leaders to stay focused and uphold the ultimate objective of promoting the interest of the country.

“Our main objective is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are human beings. We have our weaknesses, but I can assure you that the patriotism in us is hard-earned,” he said.

“We have gone through all the troubles from 15th of January 1966 to date. You know what I mean by this. We have killed a million of ourselves in order to keep this country together.

“I don’t think there can be any practical experience more than that. We are Nigerians. God willing, we remain Nigerians and Nigeria will remain one.”

The president also urged members of the defunct CPC and political leaders to work towards preserving the unity, peace and integrity of the nation.

Buhari thanked the former chairpersons of the CPC for always highlighting the achievements of the government.

“I am delighted to welcome the forum of state chairmen of the former Congress for Progressive Change to the State House today. I accord great significance to this visit as it demonstrates a determination and commitment to identify with our administration,” Buhari said.

“I commend members of this forum and all members of the legacy party, CPC, for their continued dedication to the ideals of democratic governance that we all believed in.

“I am particularly grateful for the unalterable belief the members of CPC and, by extension, the Nigerian electorate, had and still have in me as demonstrated in their unalloyed support for our electoral struggles, which reflected in the results that we consistently recorded at the polls over the years.”

He said the “solid credentials” that the CPC possessed gave the party a prime place in the merger that led to the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Describing Buhari as the “patriarch of the CPC”, Umar Shuaibu, chairman of the forum, commended the president for providing strong leadership over the years, particularly in his ability to remain “balanced, fair and above board” in electoral issues.

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