By Abiodun Ogunrinde, Ibadan
The Oyo State Government has established a Sexual Offences and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Response Team in the Ministry of Justice to serve as a nimble quick responder to sexual and Gender based offences.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Oluseun Abimbola disclosed that SGBV will serve as a first responder unit to address complaints arising from Sexual and Gender-based violence.
At the inauguration of the SGBV team, Mr. Abimbola stated that the Governor had earlier signed into law, the Violence Against Women Prohibition law in Oyo state, to curb the increasing incidence of child defilement, domestic violence, and related offenses.
He noted that the establishment of the SGBV team would give fire and bite to the enforcement mechanism for this law and other related laws against such offences in the state.
According to the Attorney General, “it has become clear that dealing with sexual based offences would require an intervention beyond the traditional structures to be able to provide counsel to victims, provide professional medical assistance to extract evidence timeously, offer
legal services and a shelter where necessary for victims, among other things.
“The SGBV team will serve as a one-stop shop to deal with the multiple issues arising from such offences,” Mr. Abimbola said.
He charged the team to hit the ground running by immediately setting up a help line for quick alerts by complainants, open a sex offenders register to document and deter these heinous crimes and ultimately midwife the establishment of a Sexual
Offences and Gender Based Violence Referral Center which would eventually house the unit and
warehouse all the offered services.
Mr. Abimbola said that the team is a collaboration of ministries and agencies including Ministries of Justice, Women Affairs & Child Welfare, Health, the Nigerian Police, Legal Aid Council, Civil Society, NBA, and the Media, with representatives drawn from these agencies and MDAs on the team.
The Attorney General urged the team to shun traditional and cultural nuances that may hamper the work of the team, but to be decisive and
courageous in implementing the laws on the subject matter in order to cure the mischief.
In her comments, the coordinator of the team, Mrs Modupe Awosemusi thanked the Governor for approving the establishment of the team, promising to discharge their responsibilities judiciously.
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