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Osun’s NGO wants creation of ministry to cater for criminal justice

A non-governmental agency, the Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Justice Network Cluster has tasked the Osun State Government to assign an agency or ministry to supervise cases of SGBV in the state.

The NGO also called on the Osun State Government to intensify effort on the effective implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) and Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) laws in the State in order to ensure justice for sexual and gender-based violence victims.

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The charge was made at a media sensitisation programme organised by the SJN cluster in partnership with the USAID-SCALE project held at CAI4SR office, Osogbo.

The executive director of Community Advancement Initiative for Self-Reliance (CAI4SR), Eni Ayeni, who spoke on the state of the implementation of VAPP law despite its domestication in Osun since 2021, stated that there has been a setback in administering justice for victims.

Ayeni identified factors that attributed to the low implementation level in the state to include lack of functional Sexual Assault Referral Center (SARC), lack of political will, ignorance, lack of temporary shelter for survivors among others.

According to her, “The SARC has not been functional. We were pushing that they should be functional. Then, creating special courts to try SGBV cases. More courts will hasten the delivery of justice. Sexual offenders register should be in place, accelerating the delivery of justice.

“The govt should designate a particular agency or ministry to oversee the activities of the SGBV cases in Osun State which presently, there is none. The government should put that into consideration to ensure the implementation of the laws.”

She urged journalists to join the campaign by using their various media platforms to educate the public on the existence of the law and the need to speak out if molested.

In her remarks, the chairperson of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Osun State Chapter, Mrs Motunrayo Ayegbayo decried the poor implementation of ACJ and VAPP laws in the state.

She called for the collaboration of journalists to intensify awareness on the laws for the prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence offenders to make the society better.

“We need to come together as media men to fight the situation and create awareness and bring about justice. Take the news to the grassroots. Reach out to more people for them to speak out,” Ayegbayo said.

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The SJN Cluster comprises these organisations– Lawyers Alert (LA), Ikra Foundation for Women and Youths Development, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), League of Women Voters, Nigeria (NILOWV), Community Advancement Initiative for Self-Reliance (CAI4SR), Agbani Farms Ltd and Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW).

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