Government advocates stiffer penalty for sexual offenders  

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By Modupe Aderogba

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has called for stiffer penalty for sexual offenders as preventive measures against Sexual and Gender Based Violence against women.

Professor Osinbajo stated this during the launch of the Register and Guidelines for Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Abuja.

The launch is in line with the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence”, an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.

The campaign included documentation of reported, tried or convicted cases of sexual violations and gender-based violence, to name and shame those prosecuted for the abuse so as to deter potential offenders.

It is in response to the numerous abuse and marginalisation faced by women and children across the globe due to their vulnerability.

The Vice President urged countries around the world to look beyond just legislation to fix the problem, saying look at the deep, systematic dysfunction of cultures and social norms that do not prevent sexual violence.”

He further urged citizens to challenge demeaning or degrading references to women, as well as oppose the culture of blaming victims and teach boys to respect women.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, reiterated the commitment of government toward ensuring that women, children and the girl-child benefit from President Buhari’s Administration’s agenda of women empowerment.

“We would intensify collaboration with National Assembly and state assemblies toward reviewing and proposing amendments to Legislation Gender Equality and end All Forms of Discrimination Against Girls and women.”

“We would also partner state governors, traditional institutions, faith based organisations and Civil Society Organisations to ensure access to justice and quality lives for Nigerian women and children,” she stated.

Mrs Tallen said that this year’s theme “Orange the world: Generation Equality Stand Against Rape is apt as it speaks on issues of rape, which is assuming an alarming and unacceptable proportion.

She, therefore, said that the register, aimed at naming and shaming anybody ever convicted for rape and all forms of sexual violence, would be placed in the public domain for all to see the perpetrators.”

The campaign runs every year from Nov. 25, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to Dec. 10, which is Human Rights Day.

The theme for this year is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape”.

 Lateefah Ibrahim