Malami Set to Rally 36 State’s Attorneys General Against Rape

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Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN has said his office is set to bring together the 36 State’s Attorneys General to consider effective collaborative support to stem the growing tide of rape and sexual assault in the country.

He stated this in a statement released in Abuja on Thursday, adding that “A meeting of the stakeholders including the States’ Attorneys General will be carried out through a scheduled virtual conference in due course.

Malami also announced plans by his office to carry out an immediate inauguration of  an inter-ministerial committee to address the menace.

“ As a people-oriented government that listens to the yearnings and aspirations of its citizen, The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Justice has identified with call for national response against rape and sexual assault in the country,” he said.

He added that “ 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:

(a) 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: 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:

  1. Federal Ministry of Justice  ii. Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development program,  iii Federal Ministry of Health  iv. National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, v. National Human Rights Commission, vi. Nigerian Legal Aid Council, vii. Nigerian Police Force       viii. 2 Civil Society Organisations, among others.

The Committee will be charged to proffer a synchronized approach to all address all forms of violence against women and children in the country.

(b)  Reviewing 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.

(c)   Providing a 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 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.

(d) 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.

(e) 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 power of prerogative of mercy remains in force.

Read the full statement below:

HONOURABLE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, ABUBKAR MALAMI, SAN’S STATEMENT ON THE PREVALENT GENDER BASED VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE COUNTRY

The attention of the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the

Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to the prevalent and rising incidence of rape and sexual assault in the country.

  1. The Federal Ministry of Justice is the primary institution responsible for the administration of Justice, the articulation and defence of the Constitutional values and principles in the governance of the Country. This also conforms to the ideals expressed in government policy on service delivery in addressing the special needs of groups such as women, children and persons with disabilities.
  2. Incidents of rape cases in the country have increased dramatically in the last few weeks, resulting in the brutal murder of some victims.

A development that has sparked outrage in the country and beyond.

  1. As a people-oriented government that listens to the yearnings and aspirations of its citizen, The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Justice has identified with call for national response against rape and sexual assault in the country.
  2. 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:

(a) 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:

  1. Federal Ministry of Justice                                              ii. Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development program,  iii Federal Ministry of Health  iv. National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, v. National Human Rights Commission, vi. Nigerian Legal Aid Council, vii. Nigerian Police Force       viii. 2 Civil Society Organisations, among others.

The Committee will be charged to proffer a synchronized approach to all address all forms of violence against women and children in the country.

(b)  Reviewing 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.

(c)   Providing a 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 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.

(d) 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.

(e) 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 power of prerogative of mercy remains in force.

  1. The Federal Ministry of Justice will, in driving these processes bring together the 36 State’s Attorneys General to consider effective collaborative support to stem the growing tide of rape and sexual assault. A meeting of the stakeholders including the States’ Attorneys General will be carried out through a scheduled virtual conference in due course.
  1. Finally, we would like to empathize with the victims, survivors and family members of such violence. It is our hope that with the modest efforts of the Federal Ministry of Justice in supporting the Federal Government’s resolve in tackling these crimes against humanity, that we will achieve a better Nigeria devoid of gender based violence and sexual assault.

Signed

*Abubakar Malami, SAN*

Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice

 

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