The Federal government may have opted for the name-to-shame approach in curbing sex predators with the opening of a sexual offenders register.
The register which will have the pictures and particulars of convicted sexual offenders in the country will also have a section that offenders not convicted will be displayed for an administrative fee.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the exact number of cases of sexual abuse victims is difficult to confirm because when women come forward, they are called liars and troublemakers.
The vice president, who urged Nigerians to speak up or go to the police when they witness a sexual assault incident, said one of the steps to take in eradicating sexual abuse include challenging degrading reference to women.
Osinbajo was represented by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata at the launching of the sex offenders register organised by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, in collaboration with its partners.
He said “while we must ensure that abusers are identified and punished, the greater part of the effort should go into ensuring that we do all in our power to prevent the abuse from happening in the first place by proactively identifying the risk factors before it happens.”
He said the assistance of strategic partners like the European Union and British Council, the presidency in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has been supporting the establishment of sexual and gender-based violence response team to ensure the effective coordination of responses in Nigeria.
Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli explained that if one has been arrested for rape, whether convicted or not, the person’s information will be displayed on the register.
“I can assure you that NAPTIP will implement this register without fear or favour. We already have some people on the list, I am not going to wait for reported cases, I am going to go into the internet and fish out all the cases, verify them and update it, the police and civil defense have access to the register so they can also send reported cases to us on the platform. This is a call to all victims to come out and report all cases of abuse.
“The register will be made public and open to everyone but there is a restricted place for those who were not convicted but were reported or with cases in court, which can be accessed by paying an administrative fee,” she promised.