FG to establish special courts for rape, gender-based violence

The Federal Government is to establish specialised courts for the speedy hearing of rape and gender-based violence offences, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami has said.

Speaking during a joint news briefing with Mr Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission, the AGF, represented by Dayo Akpata, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, said the specialised courts when established would enable seamless and timely trial of all pending and incoming rape gender-based cases.

“To tackle this hydra-headed menace headlong, the ministry of Justice is currently engaging with the respective heads of courts for the establishment of specialised courts for the speedy trial of rape/gender-based violence offences in Nigeria,” Malami said.

He said that the ministry had commenced the review of all existing laws and policy instruments relating to rape, child defilement, and gender-based violence in the country.

According to Malami, this, in essence, will enable holistic review aimed at proposing relevant legislative changes required to bridge the gaps between policy guidelines and implementation mechanisms required for effective prevention and investigative countermeasures.

He added that efforts were in place to introduce sexual offenders’ register in all security agencies in the country.

“It will involve the coalition and publication of the data of all sexual offenders in Nigeria aimed at facilitating public humiliation and deterrence to such conducts,” Malami said.

He said that the ministry had also constituted an inter-ministerial management committee on the eradication of gender-based violence.

Malami said that the committee comprising of some government agencies, civil society organisations and the Nigeria Police Force is to develop sexual abuse/prevention strategy for the period 2021-2025 that would encapsulate response to rape and gender-based violence cases.

He, however, assured that the Federal Government would continue to demonstrate zero tolerance to rape and other forms of child abuses.

“As a result, serious efforts will be exerted at not only curbing domestic and sexual violence in Nigeria but also to eliminate same.

”The Federal Government will further device a methodological means of encouraging survivors to break the cycle of abuses with targeted programmes aimed at assisting such victims to become financially independent, which remains the major cause of sexual abuse,” Malami said.

Earlier, Ojukwu called for concerted efforts to stem the scourge.

Identifying rape as a gross violation of human right, Ojukwu said that the rising number of cases across the country had reached a horrifying proportion.

“It is a crime against not only the victim but against the society as it affects the socio-economic activities of the society.

”It can only thrive when authorities fail to do what they are supposed to do. So, the right laws must be in place to ensure accountability for each violation.

“No case of rape should be swept under the carpet,” Ojukwu said


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