By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado-Ekiti-As part of measures to check the incessant cases of rape, the governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has directed the office of the State Attorney General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice to always oppose bail application and plea bargaining for rape offenders.
In recent time, there have been rampant cases of rape in Nigeria leading to death and emotional disorder for the victims.
Fayemi while signing the compulsory treatment and care for child victims of sexual violence bill 2020 into law said the ministry of Justice had been further directed to reaffirm state policy of opposing bail and rejecting plea bargain proposals from perpetrators of rape and child defilement.
The bill targeted at fortifying and tightening the lose ends in the Gender-Based Violence Prohibition Law 2012, had earlier been passed by the State House of Assembly.
Fayemi said “We will strengthen the Gender-Based Violence Management Committee to continue to provide rapid and comprehensive responses to all forms of violence against women and children. In particular, the GBV Management Committee will be empowered to improve collection and analysis of data to monitor our GBV programmes.
“I’m proud to sign a law that affirms one of the important policies of my administration. The ‘Compulsory Treatment and Care for Child Victims of Sexual Violence Bill, 2020’ reaffirms our commitment not only to prompt medical care for child victims of sexual violence but also supports our resolve to achieve the effective prosecution of sex offenders”.
Describing the law as timely, the governor affirmed that over the past few days, the country had witnessed acts of extreme violence perpetrated against women and children in which Ekiti is not an exception.
According to him, following the rate at which women and children were being dehumanised by rapists, the women in the State are demanding that there should be a ‘State of Emergency’, which will enable more decisive actions to be taken against the scourge .
“While I appreciate the basis for this demand, it is my view that there is a need for a national consensus on the issue. I will be engaging the Nigeria Governors’ Forum at our next meeting to determine what emergency measures can be put in place to address this crisis more effectively and on a national basis”.
Reeling out steps taken to deal with offenders and reduce the scourge, Fayemi said he had opened a Register of Sex Offenders of all persons convicted of acts of sexual violence and have adopted a policy of publicly naming and shaming convicted sex offenders aside enacting a progressive Gender-Based Violence Law.
Fayemi clarified that he had also directed the Ministry of Justice to review existing laws with a view to proposing to the House of Assembly necessary legislative changes to ensure that the offences of rape and child defilement attract stiffer sentences.