Lagos state allocates particular courts for sexual offences

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    Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State
    Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State

    By Moji Eniola and Lucy Osuizigbo

     Lagos State Government on Thursday inaugurated 4 particular courts solely for the prosecution of sexual offences and corruption instances.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) experiences that two courts will adjudicate on particular offences (financial and monetary crimes), whereas the 2 others will strive sexual offences.

    The Sexual Offences Court is the primary of its type in Nigeria.

    Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was amongst dignitaries who attended the inauguration.

    Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, whereas inaugurating the courts, lauded the Chief Justice of Nigeria for initiating it on the federal degree.

    He famous that the institution of the courts would facilitate expeditious listening to and trial of sexual and monetary associated crimes.

    Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Oluranti Adebule, mentioned Lagos was collaborating with the British Council beneath the Rule of Law Anti-Corruption Programme to supply technical assist for the anti-corruption struggle.

    “The state collaborates with such companies charged with the investigation and prosecution of corruption offences by offering an enabling surroundings by way of responding to inquiries and offering info to anti-graft companies.

    “I’m notably glad in regards to the designation of two courts to deal with sexual associated offences because it enhances our struggle in opposition to sexual abuse.

    “These sexual offences courts will have trained and experienced prosecutors to interact with survivors, provide support and ensure timely prosecution of the cases,” he mentioned.

    Ambode, who reeled out statistics of the sexual crimes dealt with by the  Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) and Mirabel Centre in Lagos, introduced that the state authorities had awarded a contract for the growth of the DNA and Forensic Centre.

    “Between 2015 and now, the DSVRT and Mirabel Centre have dealt with over 400 instances of sexual offences whereas 376 instances are being prosecuted within the numerous courts.

    “With a devoted court docket now in place to deal with these instances, l am certain that these instances will get the eye they deserve.

    “We have awarded the contract for the growth of the operations of the DNA and Forensic Centre and Chemistry Section.

    “This will automatically place Lagos as one of the leading centres for forensics in Africa,” Ambode mentioned.

    The spouse of the Vice-President, Mrs Oludolapo Osinbajo, in her speech, recommended the Lagos State Government for establishing the Sexual Offences Court.

    She mentioned: `The statistics quoted by the Chief Justice of Lagos may be very horrifying, it solely speaks of half of the true image.

    “Behind the figures are the faces of the affected women and girls as well as the men and boys.”

    Giving examples of actual life eventualities of sexual violence, Osinbajo mentioned the victims of such offences ought to by no means be ignored.

    “We should not ignore the trauma and nightmare that sexual offences bring, let us not forget the girls not only in Nigeria but all over the world.”

    In an handle of welcome, the Chief Judge of Lagos , Justice Opeyemi Oke, recalled that the journey towards the institution of the Special Courts began in June 2017 in keeping with the imaginative and prescient of President Muhammadu Buhari.

    “In the speech marking the second anniversary of President Muhammad Buhari’s administration, His Excellency, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo introduced plans by the Federal Government to designate particular courts to deal with corruption instances.

    “He mentioned that the courts can be a part of a normal judicial reform to make the judiciary extra environment friendly and to facilitate the willpower of corruption and monetary crime instances.

    “Soon thereafter, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen in the course of the conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria to 29 senior legal professionals in Abuja in September 2017, introduced main reforms within the legal justice system.

    “He mentioned to successfully monitor and implement the brand new coverage, an Anti-corruption Cases Trial Monitoring Committee will likely be arrange by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

    “The Chief Justice of Nigeria stated that the Committee would among other responsibilities, ensure that both the trial and appellate courts handling corruption and financial cases key into and abide by the renewing effort of ridding our country of the cankerworm,” she mentioned.

    Oke mentioned Onnoghen had directed that each one Heads of Court ought to clampdown on legal professionals who deploy delay ways in legal issues earlier than them and soclicited the assistance of the general public within the anti-corruption conflict.

    She mentioned:“Presently, there are over 500 instances of monetary crimes pending earlier than the High Court, the majority of which have now been assigned to the Special Offences Courts.

    “We are enthusiastic in regards to the designation of the brand new courts as we see the event as a step in the suitable path.

    “We due to this fact commend the Hon.Chief Justice of Nigeria’s initiative on this regard.

    “In the Lagos State Judiciary, we’ve got commenced a marketing campaign in opposition to corruption in our courts and amongst supporting workers.

    “All arms are on deck to see an finish to this cankerworm that has eaten deeply into the material of our justice supply system.

    “We believe strongly that the special courts shall fast track the trial of these types of cases and encourage the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other relevant bodies to expedite the investigation and prosecution of such cases.”

    On sexual offences, the Oke mentioned the Senate had on May 23, 2017, handed a movement to analyze elevated instances of rape and sexual assaults throughout the nation.

    “They (the Senate) urged the judges and magistrates to revisit courts sentencing individuals in violent sexual offences to replicate the very critical nature of the crimes.

    “In 2014, Lagos State Government recognised the magnitude of the issues in respect of home and sexual violence and pioneered the Lagos State DSVRT.

    “The DSVRT is to assist victims and survivors in need of financial and emotional support and empowerment.”

    Oke, citing an article entitled, “A Five Year Analysis of Police Record on Sexual Related Offences in Lagos State”, by Gbemileke O. Oladipo, gave out statistics of sexual offences in Lagos from 1999 to 2014.

    “A complete of 691 sexual offences had been reported in the course of the interval, rape accounted for 40.1 p.c of the offences, 44 p.c of the crimes had been dedicated on the perpetrators homes.

    “Virtually in all, 98.four p.c had been feminine whose ages ranged from 4 to 56 years, 42 p.c of victims had been principally neighbours to the perpetrators.

    “Most of the cases (76.6 percent) were withdrawn, 12.8 percent were under investigation while the status of 8.5 percent were unknown since 2004.”

    Mrs Funlola Odunlami, the Solicitor-General of Lagos lauded the state authorities for being the primary state to implement the initiative of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

    “Lagos leads and different states observe, Governor Ambode may be very obsessed with points regarding home and sexual violence; he led the stroll `Say No to Domestic and Sexual Violence’ and he’s passionate in regards to the work of the DSVRT.

    “We need to make it possible for in Lagos State perpetrators of sexual crimes not exists.

    “Members of the general public can dial #6280*, textual content ABUSE to 6280 both on MTN or Airtel or name the DSVRT on 0813796004, people can dial 112 which is a toll free line.

    “Laboratories and Forensic Centers had been created to audition victims of sexual violence.

    ““In the Ministry of Justice, there is a particular department with lawyers which is set aside to handle sexual crimes and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice,” Odunlami mentioned.  (NAN)

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