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Reactions as South Africa minister urges schoolgirls to ‘open books and close legs’

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Phophi Ramathuba, regional health minister has come under fire in South Africa for telling schoolgirls to “open your books and close your legs”.

She made the comment during a visit to a secondary school in a bid to encourage abstinence and reduce teenage pregnancy rates.

Social media users criticised the remark and questioned why it was only directed at girls.

Ms Ramathuba defended the message, which she said was aimed at boys too.

The health minister for Limpopo province was visiting Gwenane secondary school in the township of Sekgakgapeng on Wednesday to mark the first day of the new academic year.

“To the girl child I say: Open your books, and close your legs. Don’t open your legs, open your books. Thank you very much,” she told students.

She added that girls were being lured by older men using luxuries like expensive wigs and smart phones.

The comments sparked criticism after a video of the speech was shared on social media.

“This is not an appropriate way to talk to kids about abuse, sex and consent”, one social media user wrote.

Opposition politician Siviwe Gwarube called the remarks “deeply problematic”.

“This was an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with these learners about consent… Instead you victim blame. Place undue pressure on girls”, she said in a message on Twitter.

Ms Ramathuba told South African news site TimesLIVE that her statement had been taken out of context, and was directed at boys too.

“I told the boys to focus on their education and not sleep with girls,” she said.

She added that her constituents in Limpopo “appreciated the message”.

“They were even saying that they were afraid to say these things and thanked me for calling a spade a spade,” she said.

Government statistics show that almost 33,400 girls under the age of 17 gave birth in South Africa in 2020.

Save the Children says a lack of access to comprehensive sex education as well as affordable and appropriate health services are key factors contributing to teen pregnancies in South Africa.

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Photos from Alao Akala’s candle night

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Hundreds of residents of Ogbomoso in Oyo State, on Wednesday, organized a candle night procession in honour of a former governor of the State, Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala.

Alao-Akala is an indigene of Ogbomoso, the second largest city in the State. The former police officer died in the early hours of Wednesday, 12th January, 2022.

He was the governor of the State between 2007 and 2011.

To pay their last respect for the former governor, youths, women and men in their hundreds organized a candle night procession in honor of the former governor.

The event attracted friends, family and supporters of the late politician.

The procession, which started around 4.pm, took off from Alao-Akala’s residence.

It moved through Takie, Sabo, LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Orita Naira, Oja’gbo, Ijeru, Arowomole, Oja Akande and Seminary.

All the participants wore black attires.

They described the former Governor as someone whose legacies cannot be forgotten in a hurry.

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Minna district head suspended over forceful marriage

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District Head of Allawa in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, Mallam Bello Haruna has been suspended by Minna Emirate Council for engaging in forceful marriage.

The district head who was accused of forcefully marrying out a girl (name withheld), humiliating her father and also ordering that she be beaten by vigilantes, was also accused of insubordination by not answering the calls from the Emirate council leaders to explain some of the complaints against him.

In a letter signed by the Emirate’s assistant secretary, Usman Umaru Guni, the district head was accused of not having the leadership qualities necessary for peace and progress of the community he was appointed to lead.

Galadima Allawa, Ahmadu Magaji has now been appointed as the acting district head.

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AMCON MD, Ahmed Kuru, allegedly in EFCC net

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The Managing Director of Assets Management Company of Nigeria, Ahmed Kuru, has allegedly been arrested and detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Sahara Reporters reports that Kuru, who has been accused of assets diversion and selling of seized assets by businessmen accused of loan default with banks, to cronies at below value prices, was invited by the EFCC on Wednesday, January 19.

A source at the EFCC confirmed to the publication that Kuru was invited by the commission after confirmation of him selling assets worth billions of naira belonging to Atlantic.

“Kuru will certainly spend the night with the commission as he is still undergoing interrogation,” the source said.

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