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Govt lists 140 sex offenders, 526 rape cases in one year

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ADE IPAYEBarely six months after the Sex Offenders’ Register was opened in Lagos State, no fewer than 140 people have been listed on the register, out of the 526 rape cases recorded in 2014.

The listed offenders were those prosecuted and convicted for sex offenses, including a notorious rapist that bagged life imprisonment in the last one year.

Commissioner for Justice and State Attorney General, Ade Ipaye said this at the 2015 Ministerial Press Briefing on activities of the ministry in the last one-year.

Ipaye noted that the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, established by the current administration to improve the safety of vulnerable persons and ensure offender responsibility, was conceived as a response to the increase in the report of Sexual and Gender Based Violence cases in the State.

The team facilitated the signing of the Executive Order that established the Sex Offenders’ Register and Mandated Reporting Policy by governor Babatunde Fashola on December 1, 2014 and till date, over 140 convicted sex offenders have been listed on the Register.

Office of the Public Defender (OPD), since the last one-year, recorded 526 rape cases, with 227 still pending in court. At least, 15 judgments were made, ranging from life to seven years imprisonment. The Director of the OPD, Omotola Rotimi said in the last four years, about 12, 120 rape cases were recorded.

And in the year under review, Ipaye said that the OPD, the agency saddled with responsibility of providing legal aid services to indigent citizens, had handled over 15,000 matters on behalf of indigent Lagosians at no cost.

He said the matters cut across labour cases, civil matters, criminal cases, coroner’s inquests and fundamental rights cases, which, together brings the number of matters that OPD has been involved in since the last four years to 30,998.   “OPD also facilitated the collection of over N42 million as compensation on behalf of complainants in the last one year.

All together, in the past four years, OPD has assisted Lagosians to collect N152 million as compensation.     “During the period under review, OPD secured 49 judgments in favour of its clients.

The judgments included those who were discharged and acquitted by the Court after spending several years in prison, following applications by OPD. “Of note is the case of one Nnami Igbele, a 42-year-old man, who had spent 8 years in custody before being discharged.

In another landmark case, six men, who were arrested and charged for the offence of manslaughter in 2006 were provided free legal service by OPD and were eventually acquitted at the conclusion of their trial,” Ipaye said.

On Community Service, where convicted offenders were allowed to serve their sentences within the community and not in prisons, he disclosed that 3,083 offenders were sentenced to various terms of community service across the 12 Magisterial Districts of Lagos State between January 2014 and February 2015.

He declared: “ With regard to criminal prosecutions, out of the 795 police investigation files sent to the Department of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) office for legal advice, the Unit has already completed work on 716 (90.1 per cent) while the rest are still being processed, many requiring additional information or further investigation by the Police or other relevant agencies.

“The Directorate of Public Prosecutions is engaged in the prosecution of 1,069 criminal cases in all courts. This figure includes the 786 cases, which are currently being prosecuted at the Federal and the State High Courts as well as 54 and 11 respectively at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

The number is also inclusive of the 218 cases at the Magistrate Courts. In addition to the 1,069 active criminal prosecution files, DPP’s office is also handling 160 applications for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.”


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