Lagos State House of Assembly is to give legal backing for speedy dispensation of justice for gender-based violence.
This was made known on Wednesday at the Assembly at a public hearing on “A Bill for a law to provide for the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, the establishment of the sex offenders register and for other connected purposes”.
Dignitaries at the event included the governor’s wife, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Cecilia Dada, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo.
Others are: wife of the Speaker, represented by Hon Tijani, representative of the Chief Judge, Justice Sherifat Sholabo and DCP Yetunde Kuye, who stood in for the Commissioner of Police and Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
Speaker Mudashiru Obasa said gender-based violence was counter-productive and at variance with sanctity of life.
The Speaker, represented by his deputy, Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, said: “It is unfortunate that domestic violence is on the rise. The issue is anti-thetical to sanctity of life.”
In his overview of the Bill, the Majority Leader, Sanai Agunbiade, said the purpose of the Bill was to regulate the activities of sexual violence and restore sanity at homes.
He added that Section 3 of the Bill deals with establishment of an agency that will ensure that the objectives of the law are realised. According to him, Section 17 deals with establishment of sex offenders’ register in Lagos State.
The register shall bear the record of sex convicts in Lagos State and shall be maintained by the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency.
The House Committee Chairman on WAPA, Mojisoluwa Alli-Macaulay, said the essence of the Bill was “to protect victims of sexual and gender-based crimes from discrimination and stigmatisation; ensure that victims of domestic and sexual violence crimes have access to medical, legal and counselling assistance.
She added: “It is believed that this is indeed the best time to consolidate on our gains and create institutions to appropriately prevent and respond.”
The Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Lagos State chapter, Mrs. Phil Nneji, praised the state for the initiative, but suggested that ‘victim’ in the Bill should be replaced with ‘survivor.’
She advised that the register should be displayed publicly, saying it is one of the ways to meet up with international standard.
Speaking on Section 5 (2b), Titi Akoza from the Centre for 21st Century Issues, said philanthropic gestures from public and private sectors should be separated.
Alhaja Onitiri Kuye from Alimosho said sex offenders, especially men, should have their manhood not only castrated, but should also be cut off to avoid a repeat of such crime.
Mrs. Onasanya Adeyosola called for protection of victims who are willing to voice out, saying threat to their lives should be looked into.