Effort by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other implementing partners to curtail incidences of gender based violence and other forms of abuses has received a great boost as the Federal Capital Judiciary has designated four judges to handle all Sexual and Gender – Based Violence (SGBV) cases within the Federal Capital Territory.
Director General of NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri – Azi, disclosed this in Abuja at the High – Level Multi Agency Team (HiMAT) Consultative Meeting of Stakeholders for Implementation of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015.
The pleasant development which is to enhance accelerated hearing of all SGBV cases, protect the integrity of victims, ensure diligent prosecution and secure commensurable punishment for victims came just as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Human Right Commission and other sister Law Enforcement Agencies, have resolved to join hands to tackle issues of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Country.
According to the Director General, “The VAPP Act which is implemented by NAPTIP in FCT is designed to tackle all forms of violence against persons in private and public life and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders. These offences include inter-alia Rape, Female Genital Mutilation, inflicting injuiries, stalking, political violence, domestic violence amongst others.
“The National Sexual Offenders Register (NSOD) which was launched in 2019 to actively name and shame offenders of VAPP in Nigeria has been fully operational with (number of states) having unbundled and linked up and so many others on the pipeline to do same. NAPTIP has been maintaining and giving technical support to states who have such database. From the launch of the NSOD till date, the database has recorded – 655 number of cases, 104 convictions, 329 pending in court while 181 are still under investigation”, the NAPTIP Director General Said.
She commended the Judiciary and other partners most importantly the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (Rolac) being implemented by the British Council for their sustained support for the Agency in the implementation of the VAPP Act.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa represented by the Director, Operations, Mr. Abdulkarim Chukkul, said “The World and Nigeria in particular is awash with many horrifying stories on violence against persons in many forms, from domestic violence to trafficking, from sexual violence in conflict or Child marriage, genital mutilation etc.
“The launch of the online Sexual Offenders Register is a laudable achievement by NAPTIP as it would help curb the menace of sexual offences in our society. The EFCC is proud to have been part of the development and design as well. The Commission is playing a vital role by providing technical expertise in Polygraph examinations and forensic services in the areas of investigation and prosecution of cases in relation to the violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015.
“The Commission is also willing to assist in conducting investigation in the finances derived from illegal activities especially in cases of money laundered from the proceeds of human trafficking and other related offences”, the anti-graft Agency boss assured.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Right Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu (SAN) who hosted the meeting assured that the Commission will continue to partner with NAPTIP and other relevant MDAs to address issues of SGBV in the Country.
The meeting was attended by representative of the Inspector General of Police, Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, National Identity Management Commission and the Statistician General of the Federation, Mr. Simon Harry.