In what is set to be a deft move to end sexual abuse in Africa, Nigeria launched a national sex offender’s register on Tuesday the 26th of November, 2019. This register will contain a detailed database of individuals found guilty of sex crimes.
This was launched by the Minister Of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq in Abuja.
The register which is a first of its kind in Nigeria will date back to 2015, compiling a list of sexual crimes that have occurred across the most populated African countries.
According to Farouq, the security crisis in the north-eastern part of Nigeria has increased so much that the sex crimes need to be taken more seriously. “The register will serve as a strategy to stop those engaged in violence against women,” she said.
For easy access, the register will be available online to help the public, state bodies and the police run background investigations. Victims of sexual abuse can also report their abusers on the platform.
The law enforcement agency will be the only body able to access the confidential parts of the register that includes the data of suspects who have been cleared by the judiciary. The new register will be funded by the European Union and managed by Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking Persons (NAPTIP).
The sexual offenders register is undoubtedly a good move by the government, especially with recent statistics from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), stating that one in four girls and one in ten boys in Nigeria have been sexually violated before the age of 18, and over 31.4% of these female victims reported that their first encounter was via rape.
With this new register, rape victims will be able to lay their complaints without delay to the appropriate body, NAPTIP, for further investigation and prosecution.
This move will also help facilitate the efforts of anti-sexual violence bodies like the Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) Nigeria, an agency dedicated to promoting the voice of the girl child, and curbing child marriage in Nigeria, among other illicit acts perpetrated against the girl child.
Reacting to the news of the new register, the body wrote in a recent tweet; “It is quite laudable that today also marks the launch of the Sexual Offenders Register, the first of its kind. Data on this register would be shared everywhere including embassies, & employers. If you commit, you go viral, shamed and disgraced.
#LetsTalkGBV #HerStoryOurStoryNG “
Celebrity photographer Busola Dakolo who some months ago accused COZA pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of rape also reacted via twitter saying; “Today, marks the beginning of the 16 days of Activism against Violence Against Women and is also the day when National Sexual Offenders Register is being launched by NAPTIP with the support of the European Union.”