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UPDATED: US Supreme Court ends right to abortion

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US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court on Friday ended the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shreds half a century of constitutional protections on one of the most divisive and bitterly fought issues in American political life.

The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v Wade” decision that enshrined a woman’s right to an abortion, saying that individual states can now permit or restrict the procedure themselves.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the court said.

In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said “abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views.

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” he said.

Dissenting were the three liberals on the court.

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The ruling will likely set into motion a cavalcade of new laws in roughly half of the 50 US states that will severely restrict or outright ban and criminalize abortions, forcing women to travel long distances to states that still permit the procedure.

The opinion shredded the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by the nation’s highest court that said women had the right to abortion based on the constitutional right to privacy over their own bodies.

Alito’s opinion largely mirrors his draft opinion that was the subject of an extraordinary leak in early May, sparking demonstrations around the country and tightened security at the court in downtown Washington.

Barricades have been erected around the court to keep back the protesters gathered outside — after an armed man was arrested on June 8 near the home of conservative justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The court’s ruling goes against an international trend of easing abortion laws, including in such countries as Ireland, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia where the Catholic Church continues to wield considerable influence.

– Victory for religious right –

It represents a victory over 50 years of struggle against abortion by the religious right but the anti-abortion camp is expected to continue to push for an outright nationwide ban.

The ruling was made possible by the nomination of three conservative justices to the court by former Republican president Donald Trump — Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

The case before the court was a Mississippi law that would restrict abortion to 15 weeks but during the hearing of the case in December several justices indicated they were prepared to go further.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 13 states have adopted so-called “trigger laws” that will ban abortion following the move by the Supreme Court.

Ten others have pre-1973 laws that could go into force or legislation that would ban abortion after six weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant.

Women living in states with strict anti-abortion laws will either have to continue with their pregnancy, undergo a clandestine abortion or obtain abortion pills, or travel to another state where the procedure remains legal.

Several Democratic-ruled states, anticipating an influx, have taken steps to facilitate abortion and clinics have also shifted their resources.

Travel is expensive, however, and abortion rights groups say abortion restrictions will severely impact poor women, many of whom are Black or Hispanic.

AFP/PUNCH

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Motorists, commuters attack highway robbers on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway with stones, cutlasses

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Brave motorists and commuters on Wednesday fought with stones and cutlasses highways robbers who had come to rob them of their valuables in the early morning traffic on the Long Bridge of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Initially, there was apprehension on the bridge, inward Lagos State, opposite Mikano/Karameh City, around 5.55am when four gun-wielding men in black came, taking advantage of the traffic jam and started robbing motorists.
However, Vanguard reported that some passengers and motorists summoned courage to disrupt their operations by pelting them with stones.
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. “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.
Spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said that policemen had been detailed to some sensitive areas of the expressway to curtail suspicious activities.
He was reacting to an alarm by one Pastor Olaleye Gbenga of The Redeemed Christian Church, RCCG, claiming that some 20 persons were kidnapped on the Kara Bridge, along Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.
Lately, many motorists and commuters have lamented being trapped in the traffic induced by the ongoing road construction on the expressway, particularly around the Otedola Bridge, Kara and Long Bridge.
Motorists and commuters, while lamenting over the situation, were heard complaining that the road had become narrow due to the construction, and had slowed down vehicular movements.
The situation, however, worsened as robbers take advantage of the traffic to rob.
Some road users told Vanguard there was urgent need for government to beef up security on the expressway.

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Ritual: Pastor, accomplice to die for beheading seven-year-old

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Pastor, Erinmole Adetokunbo, and his accomplice, Adedoyin Oyekanmi

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting at Ikeja, on Tuesday, sentenced a pastor, Erinmole Adetokunbo, and his accomplice, Adedoyin Oyekanmi, to death for killing a seven-year-old boy in the Ikorodu area of the state.

Justice Taiwo gave the verdict after the defendants changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty.

The men were arraigned on October 30, 2017, before the Lagos State High Court on two counts bordering on conspiracy and murder.

According to the charge sheet, Oyekanmi and Adetokunbo, on June 7, 2017, on Oke Oniburokun Street, Odokekere, Ikorodu, conspired to murder a seven-year-old boy, Kazeem Rafiu.

They were said to have beheaded Rafiu and buried the head around the church’s altar, while the body was kept in a canal.

Adetokunbo was later apprehended by residents. He was said to have confessed to the crime, naming Oyekanmi as his accomplice.

The duo led a team of policemen to the church, where the victim’s remains were recovered.

After four years of being remanded in prison, the state re-arraigned the convicts before the special offences court on September 21, 2021, as the trial commenced.

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At the resumption of trial for the prosecutor to present another witness to prove the allegations against the convicts, the court was informed by the state counsel, Mrs O. A. Bajulaiye, and the defence counsel, Ms Anthonia Otsokwa, that the men had decided to change their pleas.

Subsequently, the judge ordered their pleas to be taken.

The charges were read to them in Yoruba and they pleaded guilty to the two counts.

The state counsel, Mrs O. A. Bajulaiye, thereafter reviewed the facts of the case and urged the court to convict them accordingly.

While begging for mercy, the defence counsel, Ms Anthonia Otsokwa, told the court that the convicts had realised their offence and were remorseful for the death of the child.

In her judgement, Justice Taiwo noted that the case was a pathetic one as the defendants conspired and killed a child by cutting off his head for ritual purposes.

The judge said, “These defendants have committed a heinous crime and deserve no mercy. They have cruelly and intentionally killed a seven-year-old boy, depriving him and his family of a bright destiny.

“Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State imposes the death penalty for premeditated murder and I have no hesitation in imposing the said punishment.

“I hereby sentence Adedoyin Oyekanmi and Erinwole Adetokunbo to death for killing Kazeem Rafiu. May God have mercy on your souls.”

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Fake Ekiti doctor defrauds 25 PoS operators

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Ekiti State Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, John Fayemi

Men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ekiti State, have arrested a 36-year-old man, Ayodeji Ademiluyi, for allegedly parading himself as a medical doctor and defrauding Point-of-Sale operators in the state capital.

The state Commandant of the agency, Mr John Fayemi, said the suspect defrauded the operators by sending fake alerts after collecting cash from them.

He said the suspect used an application on his phone, which also triggered a call from his fake hospital that a patient needed his attention.

“The PoS operator will then consider his status as a doctor and allow him to go. Later, the PoS operator will discover that he or she has been duped,” Fayemi added.

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The state NSCDC Public Relations Officer, Tolulope Afolabi, in a statement, said the commandant spoke in Ado Ekiti while parading Ademiluyi and another suspected fraudster, Innocent Ekpako, 26, who was arrested in Cross River State for allegedly defrauding his boss.

The commandant, who said Ademiluyi had been perpetrating the act within the Ado Ekiti metropolis, said, “The suspect had defrauded over 25 PoS operators before men of the Counter-Terrorism Unit launched a manhunt for him with their dragnet, which paid off when he was arrested yesterday (Monday). Preliminary investigation shows that he is not a doctor but an okada rider.”

Fayemi said Ekpako, who was arrested in Ikom, Cross River State, ran away with a huge sum of money belonging to his master in Ado Ekiti.

He said, “The suspect is a former employee of a store in Ado Ekiti where he worked as a sales representative before he was sent on an errand with some money which he did not return. He disappeared into thin air until he was tracked, traced and arrested in Cross River State. The two suspects have confessed to the crime.”

The commandant cautioned PoS operators and shop owners in the state to be careful of their workers and customers as the state command had been inundated with complaints bordering on PoS fraud and stealing.

Punch

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