By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
As the world celebrates this year’s International Women’s Day, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has expressed the commitment of Nigeria towards ensuring an end to gender-based violence in the country.
He said the Federal Government has focused significant attention on the issue of sexual and gender-based violence and was working towards the establishment of specialised courts and judicial divisions focused on sexual and gender-based violence.
A statement by Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the AGF, Dr Umar Gwandu, yesterday, said Malami spoke at a virtual session on “Special Event on Gender Dimensions of Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism,” organised by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, UNODC.
It added that the virtual session, which was part of events commemorating the International Women’s Day, held at Kyoto, Japan.
According to the statement, Malami recalled that he had, last year, inaugurated the Inter-Ministerial Management Committee on Eradication of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence with the hope that it would serve as an important tool in helping Nigeria to address the crime.
He said in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, the Complex Case Group, under the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, leads in the effort to bring suspected terrorists to justice and also work to include sexual violence related charges against Boko Haram suspects, in collaboration with the military, police and other security service investigators from the multi-agency Joint Investigation Centre, in North-East Nigeria.
The AGF further stated that the current administration was fully aware that giving a voice to women was an important aspect of development, even as he described women as important agents of positive change.
He, however, noted with dismay that terrorist groups continued to kidnap and commit sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, stressing that preventing these crimes and bringing the perpetrators to justice remained a priority of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
“Another emerging area of grave concern is the abduction and kidnapping of teenagers in boarding houses for ransom. The perpetrators targeted this group of people possibly to scare them from schooling. This is indeed a sad situation.
“The Nigerian armed forces and law enforcement agencies are working day and night to combat insecurity, terrorism, kidnapping and abduction of people in the country.
“We must work to prevent both male and female perpetrators from carrying out these acts and support those who have been victims,” he added.
He said in partnership with UNODC as well as the European Union, the Federal Government, launched the “Nigeria Training Module on Gender Dimensions in the Criminal Justice: Response to Terrorism”.
He said the Module provides practical guidance, based on Nigeria’s legal framework, as well as international and African regional laws and good practices to support Nigerian officials in addressing the issues of gender in the counter-terrorism context.
Malami acknowledged the important role women play, not only as policy-makers and law enforcement officers, but also wives and mothers, in preventing violent extremism and in de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.
He added that Nigeria had also developed a National Action Plan on the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on the Women, Peace and Security agenda, which he said was relevant to efforts to respond to the needs and promote the role of women in efforts to address terrorism.