Malami to inaugurate committee to address rising cases of rape, sexual assault

Worried by the rising incidences of rape and sexual assault in the country, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) shall be inaugurating an Inter-Ministerial Gender-Based Violence Management Committee that will comprise of functional and skilled officers drawn from key ministries and parastatals.

The AGF said in a statement that the incidence of rape cases in the country has increased dramatically in the last few weeks, resulting in the brutal murder of some victims.

A development, he said has sparked outrage in the country and beyond, adding that, “As a people-oriented government that listens to the yearnings and aspirations of its citizen, the Federal Government has identified with a call for national response against rape and sexual assault in the country”.

In fulfilment of the Ministry’s mandate and its determination to urgently address this heinous crime, Malami said the membership of the committee that will be inaugurated shall be drawn from his ministry, Federal Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development, Health, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Nigerian Legal Aid Council, Nigerian Police Force, Civil Society Organisations among others.

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The committee he said, shall proffer a synchronized approach that will address all forms of violence against women and children in the country.

Malami said the Committee shall review all the existing laws with a view to proposing to the National Assembly necessary legislative changes to ensure that the offences of rape and child defilement are dealt with in consonance with international best practices.

Other mandates of the Committee include the provision of comprehensive and appropriate support services to ensure that victims and survivors of sexual offences are not subjected to further stigmatization and trauma by maintaining a Sexual Assault Referral Centre which will be domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Justice Headquarters.

The Centre, he said will respond to immediate Gender-Based Violence related issues and will continue to provide a rapid and comprehensive response through prosecution of all forms of violence against women and children.

“Speedy processing of stalled and pending cases of rape and child defilement that got delayed due to closure of courts and government institutions during the COVID -19 lockdown period.

“Reaffirming state policy of opposing bail and rejecting plea bargain proposals from perpetrators of rape and child defilement, and to also ensure that the Federal Government’s policy of ensuring that convicted sex offenders do not benefit from the power of prerogative of mercy remains in force”.

The AGF said the Ministry of Justice will, in driving the processes bring together the 36 State’s Attorneys General to consider effective collaborative support to stem the growing tide of rape and sexual assault.

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