First among equals: Lagos sets up courts for sexual offences

First among equals: Lagos sets up courts for sexual offences

In a bid to ensure speedy dispensation of justice, the Lagos State Government became the first state to inaugurate four special courts solely for the

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In a bid to ensure speedy dispensation of justice, the Lagos State Government became the first state to inaugurate four special courts solely for the prosecution of sexual offences and corruption cases. The Sexual Offences Court is the first of its kind in Nigeria. Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, while inaugurating the courts, lauded the Chief Justice of Nigeria for initiating it at the federal level. He noted that the establishment of the courts would facilitate expeditious hearing and trial of sexual and financial related crimes.

Mr. Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Oluranti Adebule, said Lagos was collaborating with the British Council under the Rule of Law Anti-Corruption Programme to provide technical support for the anti-corruption fight.
“The state collaborates with such agencies charged with the investigation and prosecution of corruption offences by providing an enabling environment in terms of responding to inquiries and providing information to anti-graft agencies.

“I am particularly glad about the designation of two courts to handle sexual related offences as it complements our fight against sexual abuse. These sexual offences courts will have trained and experienced prosecutors to interact with survivors, provide support and ensure timely prosecution of the cases,” he said.

Mr. Ambode, who reeled out statistics of the sexual crimes handled by the DSVRT and Mirabel Centre in Lagos, announced that the state government had awarded a contract for the expansion of the DNA and Forensic Centre.
“Between 2015 and now, the DSVRT and Mirabel Centre have handled over 400 cases of sexual offences while 376 cases are being prosecuted in the various courts. With a dedicated court now in place to handle these cases, l am sure that these cases will get the attention they deserve. This will automatically place Lagos as one of the leading centres for forensics in Africa,” Mr. Ambode said.

Funlola Odunlami, the Solicitor-General of Lagos, lauded the state government for being the first state to implement the initiative of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“Lagos leads and other states follow, Governor Ambode is very passionate about issues relating to domestic and sexual violence; he led the walk `Say No to Domestic and Sexual Violence’ and he is passionate about the work of the DSVRT. We have to make sure that in Lagos State perpetrators of sexual crimes no longer exists.

“Members of the public can dial #6280*, text ABUSE to 6280 either on MTN or Airtel or call the DSVRT on 0813796004, individuals can dial 112 which is a toll free line. Laboratories and Forensic Centers were created to audition victims of sexual violence. In the Ministry of Justice, there is a particular department with lawyers which is set aside to handle sexual crimes and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice,” Mrs. Odunlami said.

NAN