Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Delta State, Mr. Peter Mrakpor on Monday, decried challenges hindering the smooth prosecution of reported cases of rape, defilement and domestic violence.
Cases of rape, defilement of minors and sexual and gender violence have become rampant in the state, and concerned members of the public are worried that adequate sanctions are meted out on culprits.
Our correspondent learnt that 312 cases of rape and defilement are pending in various High Courts across the state.
Besides, the Rape/Sexual Violence Offences/Child Right Unit has so far received nine petitions from victims of domestic violence, out of which six have been resolved.
Speaking while addressing journalists in Asaba on the activities of the Ministry of Justice, Mrakpor said such cases are difficult to prosecute “because of our environment. Victims are not willing to come forward and testify. Besides, you will be surprised to see the caliber of people coming forward to solicit that the case should not be prosecuted.
“What we are now trying to do is to see how we can have trial out of public glare. There was a man whose child was defiled, and he came and told me in confidence that since the act was done secretly, he would not want it to be taken to the public through prosecution”.
Mrakpor said the need to properly implement the Child Rights Law in the state led to the establishment of the Rape/Sexual Violence Offences/Child Rights Unit.
In addition, he said the unit undertake campaigns on the ills of child abuse; handle all complaints relating to children; prosecute all Sexual offences relating to children; protect the rights of child offenders; and monitor prisons to ensure that children are not kept with adults.
Mrakpor added that the Delta State Sexual and Gender Violence Referral Team comprising representatives of the police, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women Affairs, Nigeria Bar Associated, media and NGOs has been inaugurated .
According to him, the team is to ” ensure the development of an effective, comprehensive and coordinated response to cases of gender-based violence. This initiative is superintended by the Office of the Vice President.”
On the number of convictions secured since 2015, Mrakpor said 12 were secured in respect of kidnapping, 29 for armed robbery, 17 for murder and five for rape and defilement.