The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has called on the Plateau Government to domesticate the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) to stem domestic violence and child rape in the state.
The Chairperson of FIDA in the state, Mrs Mary Izam, made the appeal in Jos during a courtesy visit to the state Attorney General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Chrysantus Ahmadu.
Mrs Izam said the advocacy was to seek the assistance of the attorney general in the amendment of the Act to fast-track its submission as an executive bill to the State House of Assembly.
She said when domesticated and enacted into law, the ACJA would enforce the protection of women and children’s rights and other issues that protects them.
“This law would ensure all accused persons in legal proceedings are assumed defendants till proven otherwise.
“The pregnant woman cannot be harmed or issued death sentence till she delivers her child and weans for six months.
“ACJA generally strives to enforce justice especially to indigent women and vulnerable children,’’ she said.
The FIDA chairperson said that the group had sought partnership with the AG’s office and the state police command because of its concern over reported incessant cases of wife battering and defilement of minors in the state.
She said that the federation had at its recent meeting with the Commissioner of Police advocated that cases of child rape should be prosecuted at the High Court for appropriate judgment instead of the lower court.
“This is because it is a capital offence in the Nigerian constitution to be handled by the High Courts.
“We are optimistic too that the gazette of the Gender Equality Opportunity (GEO) Law by the State government would protect women.
“The GEO Law prohibits all forms of violence and infringement against women rights in public and private places; eradicate socio cultural harmful practices and eliminates gender stereotyping and prejudices,’’ Izam said.
Responding, Ahmadu pledged the state’s commitment to domesticate the ACJA, saying progress is already being made on its amendment to suit the peculiarities of the state.
The commissioner said the state government would consider granting ‘fiat’ to FIDA to prosecute accused persons in matters such as rape and wife battering instead of waiting for the bureaucracy of the police.