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Published On: Fri, Sep 18th, 2020

Obaseki launches sex offenders’ register, urges prosecutors to prioritise sexual cases

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By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday, launched the state’s Sex offenders’ Register, with a charge to prosecutors to prioritise all cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the state.
The governor also inaugurated the state’s Sexual Assault Referral Center (SARC) in Benin City, named after Vivian Ogu, a 14-year-old girl who was killed by armed robbers because she resisted attempts by the robbers to rape her.
Speaking to journalists after signing the Edo Sexual Offenders’ Register, Obaseki said the register will address the incidence of sexual violence in the state by naming and shaming rapists and those who commit other forms of gender-based crimes.
According to him, “It is a privilege to formally sign the Sexual Offenders’ Register; for us as a government, we believe that except you have punishments for crimes you cannot reduce certain crimes in our society.
“With technology today, we should be able to undertake a lot of investigations and accelerate paths to investigations so that we can prosecute and get convictions for these offences.
“Unfortunately, it is humans that will still mar these technologies, but I just want to appeal to our prosecutors and judges to prioritise cases that relate to sexual offences.”
“If you do an analysis of the cases we have, 70 per cent are under investigation. We will work towards having more convictions so that it will send a very strong message and signal that we will not tolerate sexual offences in Edo, particularly rape,” the governor said.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, noted that the issue of sexual and gender-based violence is a plague to Nigeria and the international community leading to trauma and deaths.
The SARC is a response to the fate suffered by Vivian Ogu, Uwaila Omozuwa and many other victims of sexual violence.
The commissioner said: “The Vivian Ogu Center is a one-stop free clinic for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and is a safe environment where survivors are given all the required care and support, they need.
“The services rendered at the center include medical examination of survivors, screening and preventive treatment for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections, collection of forensic evidence, screening for drugs where the use of stupefying substances is suspected.
“The sex offenders’ register is a repository of offences containing names and information about all persons who have been convicted or charged with rape and other sexual offences.
“It will also contain information about organisations and persons that provide assistance to victims as defined by the Edo Violence Against Person’s Prohibition (VAPP) Law 2018.”

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