Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government, worried by the rampant cases of defilement of minors, rape of girls and assault of women, has inaugurated a special committee work with the Nigerian Police to ensure prompt prosecution of all suspects mentioned in such cases.
The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Wodu Kemenasuode, who inaugurated the Committee to be headed by Mrs. Pere Egbuson at the conference room of the Ministry of Justice, said the several complaints of such offences flooding the Ministry call for a special committee to track such cases to ensure victims gets justice.
Kemasuode, who noted that the committee would also monitor how law officers of the Ministry discharge their duties, disclosed that investigations have revealed that a third of such cases are not received due to constraints militating against sound investigations by the Police.
“We have over the last few years been receiving frequent complaints about sexual offences committed against women, girl child, rape, [and] defilement. We have received a lot of complaints about that.
The Police have been forwarding case files to us for prosecution which we have been doing. But I am aware that there are problems the Police is also encountering in the investigation of those cases that are reported to them before they get to us.
So we do not even receive up to a third of the complaints received from people that have been assaulted. So we need to engage the Police and ensure that when this report is made to the Police, the Police promptly investigates the complaints and forward to us for prosecution. This is important because it is becoming a problem that we need to address, and [to] take this proactive step instead [of sitting] down in the office and [waiting] for the Police to come up with case files with their own constraints too.”
Kemasuode also inaugurated a committee headed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Preye Agedah, to document the native laws and customs of the people in relation to chieftaincy issues, land law, inheritance and marriage.
According to him, there are a lot of problems of proof in court because of the uncertainty based on oral tradition, noting that it is not the government making native laws and customs for the people but document them for certainty so that when there is need to rely on those laws and customs, whether in litigation or for other purposes by government or any authority or person, they have established precedence as reference.