By Alex Enumah
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) has reiterated Nigeria’s commitment towards ending gender-based violence in the country.
Malami reiterated government’s position in a speech he delivered to commemorate the 2021 International Women Day.
According to the AGF, the federal government is focusing “significant attention on the issue of sexual and gender based violence and therefore working towards the establishment of specialized courts and Judicial Divisions focused on sexual and gender-based violence”.
Speaking on the theme, “Special Event on Gender Dimensions of Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism” organised by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), the minister recalled that he inaugurated the Inter-Ministerial Management Committee on Eradication of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence last year with the hope that they will be important tools in helping Nigeria to address the crime.
According to a statement by his media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, the AGF disclosed that the Complex Case Group under his office leads in the efforts to bring suspected terrorists to justice and also work to include sexual violence-related charges against Boko Haram suspects in collaboration with the military, police and other security service investigators from the multi-agency Joint Investigation Centre, in North-East.
He said the current administration is aware that giving a voice to women is an important aspect of development as women are important agents of positive change.
Malami however, noted with dismay that terrorists groups continue to kidnap and commit sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, noting that preventing these crimes and bringing those who commit these acts to justice remain a priority of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Another emerging area of grave concern is the abduction and kidnapping of teenagers in boarding houses for ransom. The perpetrators targeted this group of people possibly to scare them from schooling. This is indeed a sad situation.
“The Nigerian armed forces and law enforcement agencies are working day and night to combat insecurity, terrorism, kidnapping and abduction of people in the country.
“We must work to prevent both male and female perpetrators from carrying out these acts and support those who have been victims,” he said.
The minister added that in partnership with UNODC as well as the European Union, the federal government launched the “Nigeria Training Module on Gender Dimensions in the Criminal Justice: Response to Terrorism”.
According to him, the Module provides practical guidance based on Nigeria’s legal framework as well as international and African regional laws and good practices to support Nigerian officials in addressing the issues of gender in the counter-terrorism context.
He said that the Nigerian National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism acknowledged the important role women play not only as policy-makers and law enforcement officers, but also wives and mothers in preventing violent extremism and in de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.
“Nigeria also has developed a National Action Plan on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on the Women, Peace and Security agenda which Malami said was relevant to efforts to respond to the needs and promote the role of women in efforts to address terrorism”.
Meanwhile, Malami has condoled the families of the late Justice of the Supreme Court, Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta.
In a condolence message, Malami said the death of the eminent jurist created huge vacuum in the Nigerian justice sector and in particular the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Malami described the deceased as a great man who rendered selfless service that contributed immensely in nation building, with particular reference to the judiciary and justice Sector.
He said the late Supreme Court Justice has contributed to the development of the legal profession, adding that the nation’s history will never forget him.