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Estimated 216,000 children abused by French Catholic priests, report finds


Estimated 216,000 children abused by French Catholic priests, report finds

An investigation into sexual abuse in the French Catholic church has found that an estimated 216,000 children were victims of abuse by clergy since 1950.

The revelations in France are the latest to rock the Roman Catholic church after a series of sexual abuse scandals around the world, often involving children, over the past 20 years.

The abuse was systemic, said Jean-Marc Sauvé, the head of the commission that compiled the report. Sauvé added at a public, online presentation of the report that the church had shown “deep, total and even cruel indifference for years”, protecting itself rather than the victims.

The church not only did not take the necessary measures to prevent abuse but also failed to report abuse and sometimes knowingly put children in touch with predators, he said. State prosecutors had been alerted about some of the cases encountered, Sauvé said.

Speaking just after Sauvé at the presentation of the report, the archbishop of Reims and head of the French conference of bishops, Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, spoke of shame, asked for forgiveness and promised to act.

The commission was established by Catholic bishops in France in 2018 to shed light on abuses and restore public confidence in the church at a time of dwindling congregations. It has worked independently from the church.

Sauvé said the problem remained. He added that the church had until the 2000s shown indifference to victims and had only started to change its attitude in 2015-16.

The Catholic church’s teaching on subjects such as sexuality, obedience and the sanctity of the priesthood helped created blind spots that allowed sexual abuse by clergy to happen, Sauvé said, adding that the church needed to reform the way it approached those issues to rebuild trust with society.

Sauvé said the commission had identified about 2,700 victims through a call for testimony, and thousands more had been found in archives.

But a wide-ranging study by research and polling groups estimated there had been about 216,000 victims, and the number could rise to 330,000 when including abuse by lay members.

There have been about 2,900-3,200 suspected paedophiles in the French church over the last 70 years, Sauvé said.

“You are a disgrace to our humanity,” François Devaux, who set up victims’ association La Parole Libérée, told church representatives at the public presentation of the report, before Sauvé took the floor.

“In this hell there have been abominable mass crimes … but there has been, even worse, betrayal of trust, betrayal of morale, betrayal of children.”

He thanked the commission and said he hoped the report would be a turning point: “You finally bring victims an institutional recognition of the responsibility of the church.”

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TCN Restores National Grid

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has announced the restoration of the national grid after its partial collapse on Monday.

This was made known by Mrs Ndidi Mbah, TCN’s General Manager, Public Affairs in a statement in Abuja.

Mbah said that the national grid experienced partial system disturbance at about 10.51 am, as a result of a sudden drop in system frequency, which created system instability.

She said that the restoration of the affected grid commenced immediately at 11.55 am with Osogbo/Ihovbor, followed by Jebba/Osogbo, Kainji/Jebba, Benin/Onitsha, Shiroro/Kaduna, Shiroro/Katampe and Alaoji/Ikot-Ekpene.

Others are Lokoja/Gwagwalada, Odukpani/Ikot Ekpene, Benin/Omotosho, Oke-Aro/Ikeja west, Egbin/Oke-Aro and Kaduna/Kano.

She said the grid restoration has almost been completed, adding that the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) regrets any inconveniences caused.

Mbah said NESI appreciated the understanding of electricity customers within and outside the country.

According to her, NESI is committed to leveraging the concerted interventions instituted so far to enhance power supply reliability so that the issue of system disturbance will soon become outdated.

She said the National Control Centre would launch a full-scale investigation “to establish and ascertain the cause of the partial disturbance as this unwholesome event has resulted in aggregated generation loss.



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Chukwudi Ajaegbu, 35, Arraigned For $11,000 Fraud

A 35-year-old importer, Chukwudi Ajaegbu, has been arraigned before the Ogba Magistrate’s Court for allegedly obtaining $11,000 fraudulently from one Austine Ukaoha in the Ikeja area of Lagos State.

Ajaegbu appeared before Magistrate F.M. Onamusi on a three count charge.

The defendant, with others at large, were said to have conspired to commit felony, to wit stealing, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2015.

According to the police, sometime in 2010 on Bread Fraint Street, in the Balogun area of Lagos, the defendant, with others at large, conspired among themselves to obtain the sum under false pretences.

The charges read in part, “That you, Chukwudi Ajaegbu, on the same date, time and place, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did fraudulently obtain the sum of $11,000 from one Austine Ukaoha, under the pretence of importing goods from China, the presentation known to be false, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 314 (3) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2015.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Magistrate Onamusi adjourned the matter till December 7, 2022.

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2023: NBC Tasks Broadcasters On Professionalism

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has tasked broadcasters to handle political campaigns with professionalism.

The director-general of NBC, Balarabe Ilelah said this on Monday at a multi-stakeholders dialogue held in Abuja.

As campaigns for the 2023 elections are set to begin on September 28, Ilelah asked broadcasters to ensure not to allow hate speech or fake news on their platforms.

“This is in addition to ensuring equity in airtime allocation and coverage of political parties’ activities, particularly during prime times,” he said.

“It is also the time for you to make money from political adverts and campaigns, but ensure that this is done within the ambit of law.

“Broadcasters are also required to handle live political rallies with care and due professionalism. This is in addition to studio-based live political interviews/broadcasts. Because of the sensitivities of such programmes, broadcasters are advised to install delay mechanisms.

“Remember that broadcast stations are held responsible for any breach. The stations shall, therefore, assume and accept editorial responsibility”, he added.

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