Malami takes steps to arrest gender-based violent,sexual assault

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The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN,
says his office is taking some steps aimed at arresting prevalence of gender-based violent and sexual assault in
the country.

The Minister disclosed this in a statement he issued in Abuja on Thursday.

He said:”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.

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.

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.

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.

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:
                                                       i. 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 address all forms of violence against women and children in the

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.

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.

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 power of prerogative of
mercy remains in force.

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.

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.

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