Sexual Offences, Corruption Cases Get Special Court In Lagos
Those who rape women and engage in other sexual assaults will have very few days to spend in detention before they are thrown behind bars in Lagos State if found guilty.
Corrupt individuals, who also sometimes enjoy long trial periods, will have to face justice fast in the state considered as Nigeria’s commercial capital.
Four special courts were inaugurated on Thursday by the State government to ensure speedy dispensation of justice on cases bordering on sexual offences and corruption.
Two courts will adjudicate on special offences (economic and financial crimes) while two others will try sexual offences.
The Sexual Offences Court is the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), was among dignitaries who attended the inauguration.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, while inaugurating the courts, lauded the Chief Justice of Nigeria for initiating it at the federal level.
These are courts that will facilitate expeditious hearing and trial of sexual and financial related crimes, the Governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Oluranti Adebule, said.
Lagos would collaborate with the British Council under the Rule of Law Anti-Corruption Programme to provide technical support for the anti-corruption fight.
“The state collaborates with such agencies charged with the investigation and prosecution of corruption offences by providing an enabling environment in terms of responding to inquiries and providing information to anti-graft agencies.
“These sexual offences courts will have trained and experienced prosecutors to interact with survivors, provide support and ensure timely prosecution of the cases,” he said.
Ambode reeled out statistics of the sexual crimes handled by the DSVRT and Mirabel Centre in Lagos, saying that “between 2015 and now, the DSVRT and Mirabel Centre have handled over 400 cases of sexual offences while 376 cases are being prosecuted in various courts.
“With a dedicated court now in place to handle these cases, l am sure that these cases will get the attention they deserve.”
The Lagos State government also awarded a contract for the expansion of the DNA and Forensic Centre to aid investigations of cases relating to sexual assaults.
Also at the event was the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Oludolapo Osinbajo.
In her speech, she highlighted that “behind the figures are the faces of the affected women and girls as well as the men and boys”.