The Federal Government on Monday launched the Sex Offenders register to tackle issues of rape in Nigeria, saying the over two million Nigerian girls and women being raped annually is unacceptable.
Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD), Dame Pauline Tallen, disclosed this in Abuja while unveiling the register at the 2019 International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, saying there cannot be any justification for rape.
The event, organized by the British Council under its European Union (EU) funded the Rule of Law and Anticorruption (RoLAC) programme and the Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN); National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), and FMWASD, among other partners, was to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism.
The 16 Days of Activism is a 10-day global event, to raise global advocacy against all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence, theme: “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape”.
“Eliminating violence in all its ramifications is the responsibility of all citizens. For this reason, we must therefore identify our true allies in this journey.
“The implication is that we have to intensify our efforts, strengthen existing partnership and forge new strategic alliances in addressing some of the challenges of building pathways to sustainable growth and development, and also achieving social justice, which are catalysts to peace, security and national cohesion,” Tallen said.
Tallen said the issue of rape, in addition to physical assault of the victims, takes many emotional and psychological forms being a human rights issue, and which is extremely disabling to the victims.
She said, “It inhibits their contributions to national development. It is of crucial importance to improve and increase their freedom of action and influence. I hereby appeal to those who are always ready to blame the victims to reconsider their positions.”
Also speaking, the Programme Director at the British Council, Dr. Bob Arnot, said the opening of the sex offenders register is expected to serve as deterrence to potential offenders and contribute to the reduction of escalating cases of sexual assault especially against women and girls.
The European Union (EU) Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, said that sexual and gender-based violence is a global pandemic that requires fundamental and coordinated action that would guarantee the safety and security of vulnerable women and children across the world.
He said that the EU in Nigeria continued to highlight the importance of the fight against SGBV through a campaign aimed at raising public awareness, as well as a call to action by the citizens and the government.
On her part, the Deputy Secretary General United Nations (UN), Amina Mohammed, said the increasing rate of violence against women have caused huge economic and psychology lost on individuals and economy at large.
According to her, investing on preventive measures to end violence against women is the best as rape and other forms of gender-based violence inflict huge economic, political and social losses to individuals, households.
She said this will continue to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfilment of women and girls’ human rights.
“The attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and its promise to leave no one behind cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls.
“The UN is committed to supporting governments the world over, including Nigeria, to safeguard the rights of women and girls from violence,” she said.