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FG’s Register For Sex Offenders

FG’s Register For Sex Offenders

THE Federal Government on Monday, November 25, 2019 launched its first National Sex Offenders Register. The occasion was in commemoration of this year’s International Day for the elimination of Violence Against Women.

ACCORDING to the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, two million women are raped in Nigeria yearly, hence, the need for Sexual Abuse register -a federal database for  sexual crime offenders. The register comes with a service provider and allows people to report new offenders through an electronic-based system.

THE Federal Government also revealed that names in the sex offenders register will be restricted from getting jobs or travelling abroad. It will also be available online to the public, state bodies and police to conduct background checks to identify repeat offenders.

THE alarming rate of sexual violence in Nigeria has become a source of concern to governments and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). It seems to have defied every proffered solution. In June this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported a growing increase in sexual violence against women from 2015-2017 based on data provided by the Nigerian Police and the Ministry of Justice.

ACCORDING to the 2017 report by the United Nations Children Agency (UNICEF), one in four Nigerian women is sexually abused before age18 while a national survey conducted in 2014 found that only 38 percent out of those who suffered sexual violence as children talk about it.

THOUGH, sexual assault is not discriminatory to sex, males and females are affected but researches have shown that the number of females sexually abused is far greater than their male counterparts. A huge number of Nigerian children are regularly being sexually abused by person(s) who are to protect them. It is a reflection of the scale of the problem that Lagos and Ekiti states introduced sex offenders’ register before the recent Federal Government’s innovation.

SEXUAL assault is particularly pervasive in developing world where women and girls continue to be hunting ground for bored, unemployed, retired and old men who violate them sexually. Not even religious centres that are expected to be a safe haven are immune.

OUR educational institutions are equally culpable judging by the recent happenings in higher institutions across the country. Revelations of sex- for-marks ravaging our citadel of learning still remain a bitter pills for many to swallow.

IT would be recalled that a documentary by the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC), undercover reporter, Kiki Mordi, who disguised as a 17-year-old admission seeker at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, revealed a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Arts, Boniface Igbeneghu and Samuel Oladapo of the Department of Economics allegedly seducing the innocent admission seeker.

ALSO, randy lecturer of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Olola Aduwo, of the Department of Accountancy was recently dismissed by the University’s Governing Council for sexually harassing a female student.

THE Hope therefore commends the astuteness of the Federal Government at taking such drastic step at reducing if not eradicate sexual violence against women and appeals to give it greater attention so that the aims for launching the register will not be defeated.

HOWEVER, it is one thing to have a sexual offenders’ register and a different matter to sustain such register. For instance, the sexual offenders’ registers in Lagos and Ekiti states are said to scarcely updated. We hope this will be a different case.

THE Hope believes that the sexual offender register which prevents culprits from getting employments or travel abroad will go a long way at reducing sexual violence against women to the bearest minimum because an average Nigerian will not toy with anything that could hinder him from seeking greener pasture abroad.

SINCE the Nigerian criminal code recommends life imprisonment for rape convicts and 14 years for attempted rape, The Hope urges our courts to make sure that offenders are made to serve the maximum sentence.

THE war against rape and rapists needs all hands on deck. It is unacceptable that only 11 states out of the 36 states of the federation domesticated the violence against person Act of 2015. The Hope urges other states to domesticate the Act in their legal system.

WE urge the Federal Government to embark on public enlightenment showing the negative effects of sexual violence on the victims. We believe this is a critical tool at changing unacceptable behaviour, attitude, beliefs and values.

AS the launch of Sexual Offender Register marked another historical watershed in the feminist calendar of Nigeria, The Hope appeals to the Federal Government to let the register serve its purpose to ginger the fight against rape and gender based sexual abuses.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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