December 1, 2014 – The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has signed an executive bill to officially open a register for all sex offenders in the state.
The register is expected to complement crime data register which is already in place in the state to make it easier for law enforcement agents to prosecute sexual offences, such as harassment, defilement of children and rape.
Speaking at the ceremony, Fashola said the executive order establishing the register makes it mandatory for such offences to be reported irrespective of the offender and the way the issue is settled.
Fashola pointed out that the current security challenges facing the country has pushed sexual offences against vulnerable member of the society to the background adding that series of policies including the post-partum depression defence, six month maternity leave for public servants in the state as well as the domestic violence and child abuse laws were all put in place to protect women and children.
The governor stressed that successful implementation of the order requires cooperation of all stakeholders.
He advised women to kick against acts which may cause their rights to be compromised in the work place, warning that it will no longer be business as usual for those who have formed the habit of harassing vulnerable members of the society.
Earlier, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye said, a number of measures have been put in place for successful implementation of the order.
According to Mr. Ipaye, a Domestic Violence and Sexual Response team, comprising, policemen, officials of the state Office of the Public Defenders, Directorate for Citizens’ Rights, medical personnel and others have already been constituted.
He said sex offence are prominent in Alimosho, Kosofe, Agege and Oshodi-Isolo local government adding that over one hundred cases of such offences are being tried in the state high courts.
In an interview, some members of the civil society groups who were at the ceremony described the order as a welcome development.
Mrs. Itoro Eze-Anaba of Partnership for Justice and Laila St. Matthew-Daniel of Act Generation, said the order would reduce sex offences to the barest minimum and called on other states to emulate what Lagos State has done.