The Judiciary in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory has designated four judges to handle all Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, SGBV, cases within the Territory, as part of effort by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, and other implementing partners to curtail incidences of gender-based violence and other forms of abuses.
The four judges will enhance accelerated hearing of all SGBV cases, protect the integrity of victims, ensure diligent prosecution and secure commensurable punishment for offenders.
According to the statement, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, in a high-level multi-Agency team consultative meeting of stakeholders for the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015, VAPP, in Abuja, said the development came just as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, National Human Right Commission, NHRC, and other sister Law Enforcement Agencies, have resolved to join hands to tackle issues of SGBV in the country.
“The VAPP Act which is implemented by NAPTIP in FCT is designed to tackle all forms of violence against persons in private and public life and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders. These offences include inter-alia rape, female genital mutilation, inflicting injuries, stalking, political violence, domestic violence amongst others” she stated.
“The National Sexual Offenders Register, NSOD, which was launched in 2019 to actively name and shame offenders of VAPP in Nigeria has been fully operational, with a number of states having unbundled and linked up, and so many others on the pipeline to do same. NAPTIP has been maintaining and giving technical support to states who have such database.
From the launch of the NSOD till date, the database has recorded six hundred and fifty-five number of cases, one hundred and four convictions, three hundred and twenty-nine pending in court while one hundred and eighty-one are still under investigation”, the NAPTIP Director General noted.
The NAPTIP boss commended the Judiciary and other partners, most importantly the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption being implemented by the British Council, for their sustained support for the Agency in the implementation of the VAPP Act.
Prosecution of cases
Speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa represented by the Commission’s Director of Operations, Mr Abdulkarim Chukkul, said “the World and Nigeria in particular is awash with many horrifying stories on violence against persons in many forms, from domestic violence to trafficking, from sexual violence in conflict or child marriage, genital mutilation ad so on.
“The launch of the online Sexual Offenders Register is a laudable achievement by NAPTIP as it would help curb the menace of sexual offences in our society.
The EFCC is proud to have been part of the development and design as well.
“The Commission is playing a vital role by providing technical expertise in polygraph examinations and forensic services in the areas of investigation and prosecution of cases in relation to the violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015.
“The Commission is also willing to assist in conducting investigation in the finances derived from illegal activities especially in cases of money laundered from the proceeds of human trafficking and other related offences”, the anti-graft Agency boss assured.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, (SAN) who hosted the meeting assured that the Commission will continue to partner with NAPTIP and other relevant MDAs to address issues of SGBV in the country.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Inspector General of Police, Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, National Identity Management Commission and the Statistician General of the Federation, Mr. Simon Harry.
Judiciary designates Special Courts for Sexual and Gender-based Violence Cases