Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), yesterday stated that he was set to inaugurate the Inter-Ministerial Gender-Based Violence Management Committee to address the rising cases of rape in the country.
Among other tasks to be assigned to the committee is reaffirming the policy of opposing bail applications and rejecting plea bargain proposals from perpetrators of rape and child defilement.
The committee is also to ensure that such convicted offenders do not get prerogative of mercy.
This was contained in a statement issued by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Umar Gwandu, on Thursday.
The committee, according to the statement, will comprise “functional and skilled officers drawn from” among others including, the Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs a Federal Ministry of Health, and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Federal Ministry of Health, and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Social Development Programme,
It will also include representatives of the National Human Rights Commission, and the Nigerian Legal Aid Council, the Nigerian Police Force, and civil society organisations.
Malami noted that incidents of rape cases have increased dramatically in the last few weeks, with some of the victims brutally murdered by perpetrators.
While acknowledging that the development has sparked outrage in the country and beyond, he said as a people-oriented government that listens to the yearnings and aspirations of its citizen, the federal government has identified with call for national response against rape and sexual assault in the country.
“In fulfillment of the Ministry’s mandate and its determination to urgently address this heinous crime, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice will see to the following: The immediate inauguration of an Inter-Ministerial Gender Based Violence Management Committee that will comprise of functional and skilled officers drawn from, and not limited to, the following: Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development program, Federal Ministry of Health, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, National Human Rights Commission, Nigerian Legal Aid Council, Nigerian Police Force, Civil Society Organisations, among others.
“The Committee will be charged to proffer a synchronised approach to all address all forms of violence against women and children in the country”, he said
Other functions of the committee include; providing a comprehensive and appropriate support services to
ensure that victims and survivors of sexual offences are not subjected to further stigmatisation and trauma by maintaining a Sexual Assault Referral Centre which will be domiciled in the Federal Ministry of
According to Malami, the Centre will respond to immediate Gender Based Violence related issues and will continue to provide rapid and comprehensive response through prosecution of all forms of violence against women and children.
In addition the committee is expected to provide 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.