Legal Nigeria

FG pledges special courts for gender-based violence

By Ameh Ochojila

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said the Federal Government is engaging heads of courts for the establishment of special courts to fast track justice for victims of rape, sexual and gender-based violence.

He made this known in Abuja, yesterday while inaugurating the Justice for Children Coordination Forum at the launch of the EU-UNICEF Access to Justice programme for children on the move and other vulnerable children.

Malami, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Research and Special Duties, Prof. Muhammad Lawal Ahmadu, said through age and gender-sensitive juvenile justice mechanisms and alternatives to detention for children on the move and vulnerable children, the Nigerian child would benefit from a child-friendly justice sector.

The minister lamented the pathetic situation of some children saying: “This administration will continue to do its best in the protection of the rights of children and vulnerable persons.”

He expressed optimism that the specialised courts would fast track cases and result in justice for child victims of sexual violence.

The Forum, chaired by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, has representatives from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, and the Nigerian Police Force.

Other members were drawn from the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, the National Human Rights Commission, the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the University of Abuja.

The remaining members were representatives from the Buni Yadi Foundation, United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Children’s Fund, Nigeria. International Federation of Women Lawyers, Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Judiciary Institute, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, International Labour Organisation, International Organisation for Migration and Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.