President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government has announced that it has set up a Gender-Based Violence Management Committee.
This was made known in a statement on Thursday by Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice.
AGF Malami, who condemned the rising incidence of rape and sexual assault in the country, noted that such incidents have increased dramatically in the last few weeks.
Malami stated that the Federal Ministry of Justice was aware of calls for national response against rape and sexual assault in the country.
He said the Ministry will immediately inaugurate an Inter-Ministerial Gender-Based Violence Management Committee.
He said: “The committee will include skilled officers drawn from Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Federal Ministry of Health, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, National Human Rights Commission, Nigerian Legal Aid Council, Nigeria Police Force Civil Society Organisations, among others.”
On the functions of the committee, AGF Malami said that the Management Committee will synchronize approach to address all forms of violence against women and children in the country.
It will also review all the existing laws so as to propose 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.
He said: “the committee will provide 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 Minister assured of 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.
Malami reaffirmed the policy of opposing bail and rejecting plea bargain proposals from perpetrators of rape and child defilement.