FG seeks specialized Courts to try children based violence offences

The federal government is currently engaged with respective Heads of Courts seeking to  establish Specialized Courts for the speedy and seamless trial of Rape/Gender-Based Violence Offences in the country. 

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) disclosed on Thursday that  his office is working toward  actualizing the  establishment of  Specialized Courts for child right abuse offenders.

Malami  made this known while inaugurating the Justice for Children Coordination Forum  and  EU-UNICEF access to justice project  for children on the move  aimed at lifting up  vulnerable children in the country.

He expressed hope that  specialized courts will fast track cases involving children and result in justice for child victims of sexual violence.

The AGF also  said that federal government remains unwaveringly dedicated to improve children’s access to child-friendly justice system.

Malami  was represented at the event held in Abuja by the Special Assistant to the President on Research and Special Duties, office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Professor Muhammad Lawal Ahmadu

He was hopeful that  through age and gender-sensitive juvenile justice mechanisms and alternatives to detention for children on the move and vulnerable children, the Nigeria child would benefit from the child-friendly justice sector. 

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

In a good will message to the forum  Chief judge of Kano State , Justice Sagir Umar said that it is pertinent and very pleasing that the project is being inaugurated  at a time in our national history when Nigeria is having an alarming rate of children on the move  and Survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) .

The Chief judge who was represented by Justice Maryam Ahmed Sabo said the problem the project is seeking to address is huge . 
According to him,”in Kano alone as per statistics about two years back we have 3. 2 Million out of school children wondering about, some hawking, begging, truants, drug addiction etc.”

” In 2018, 1,142 cases were reported at Waraka SARC, while in 2019,  741 cases were received and only 194 were disposed of because of the high demand nature of proving the offence and stigma associated with offence,” she added.

She therefore called on the Special Panel to act expeditiously adding that she is giving  them  the assurance of Kano State Judiciary in ensuring speedy trial GBV and other cases involving children. 
 A representative of United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF), and a Child Protection Specialist , Mrs Nkiru Maduechesisaid the project which begins this year 2021 will end in 2023 in three targeted states; Kano , Kaduna and Sokoto.

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  Humanitrian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the Nigerian Police Force.

Other members of the Forum were drawn from Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, National Human Right Commission, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps,  University of Abuja.
The rest  members of the Forum were representatives from Buni Yadi Foundation, United Nations Office on Drug and Crime  (UNODC), United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, FIDA, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Nigerian Judiciary Institute, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS),  International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OHCR).