I have warned repeatedly that Justice is not about the truth per se…it is about what can be proven. Coming on SM is ok if all u want is public opinion verdict. If u want Justice, u need to first meticulously & quietly gather useable evidence.
Work behind the scene first. The scourge of sexual crime in Nigeria will not be Legally dealt with if every case becomes an SM circus. There is a need for properly detailed evidence gathering that gives the authorities no choice but to prosecute.
Criminals hide easily behind false victimhood if it’s all an SM show. Also, those who want to falsely accuse can seek refuge in SM cry when there is no evidence whatsoever. Successful prosecution of these criminals is a priority. Victims should try to gather as much evidence as possible to avoid a He said- She said impasse. It’s all about the Evidence.
There is an epidemic of sexual crimes in Nigeria. Education, Leadership and effective prosecution are needed. We should not just reduce this to SM exchange of accusations. This is very serious. So what can the govt do to deal with this menace?
1. A specialist group of Sex Crime officers should be trained by the police in the latest sensitive case management techniques of sexual offences. Each state should have this team & they should be visible. Victims should no longer just go to any police station. Only to this team
2. All sexual crimes prosecution should automatically be done as Accelerated Hearings in the courts with a time limit imposed by statutes or via judicial allocation guidelines. These cases must be heard and concluded swiftly.
3. A National Sex Offenders Register must be produced that will be accessible to key agencies as well as available for employers to interrogate as part of the vetting process for certain jobs that involve contact with children or vulnerable adults.
4. Mass Education and orientation campaign should be launched to make sexual crime unacceptable as a culture in all communities. All opinion leaders should speak out against it. Children should be taught in schools how to respect the opposite gender.
5. These are mostly currently crimes for States to prosecute. But the rules should be changed so that for sex crimes, the FG can embark on prosecution if states fail to do so in the face of clear evidence of criminality. This belt & braces approach will help increase prosecutions
6. The anonymity for rape accusers is a major concern but how do we get it right. Personally, I feel anonymity in the age of SM will be difficult to enforce. We need a national debate on this and find a consensus that can help increase prosecution rate.
There are a few other ideas I have, but the foregoing should be a good start for now. The habit of just using SM is not helping the victims and is open to abuse by those seeking to besmirch the name of someone they don’t like. So we need to be careful of guilt by an accusation on SM
These are difficult crimes to prosecute; especially when in most cases, there is no third-party corroboration. So the evidence is key. We need to create the right environment for victims to come forward in a timely manner. Decades-old accusations are almost impossible to prosecute.
This is where NGOs and CSOs can also help to keep the issue alive and prosecutors on their toes. I have seen the damages sex crimes have done to victims & those falsely accused. It can be life-changing. So this is not an SM game. Let’s all join hands to stamp out sex crime menace.
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