Nigeria to Launch the Sex Offender Register …Amina Salihu Spits Fire on Rape Issues
Amina Salihu has said that Nigeria is about to launch a tool the ‘Sex Offender Register’ that will name and shame rapists and sexual offenders.
The tool which is a sexual case register created to examine the intersection between gender and corruption using rape and violation of bodily integrity as a means will enter the details of rapists and expose them to public scrutiny.
According to Madam Salihu, who is the Senior Program Officer, MacArthur Foundation Nigeria, the tool is going to be a name and shame tool where cases that have been convicted in court will be captured on the database. This is going to be digital and linked to the NAPTIN website.
In her words, “what this means is that when you take a court case that has been concluded, you check the person's name, you have their location, their peculiarities whether they have tribal marks, whether they are dark or fair.
“Even if you changed your name or grew a beard we will still know because your biometrics will also be captured.”
She further went on to describe the categories the database would encapsulate:
“A second category that the database would have is for those who have been arraigned. So assuming one was arraigned but later discharged and acquitted in a court of law. It is left for Nigerians to now draw their conclusions.
“This is so because we live in a country where criminal cases never get concluded in good time and even when they do they are very few. And so we need to look for tools that will ouster the criminal system.”
The MacArthur delegate who spoke passionately at the Wole Soyinka Lecture in honor of his 85th year birthday further describes the final category saying:
“The third kind of data you would find there is the case of those who have been reported. People like you doing a fantastic work of investigative journalism are friends of the register.
“The moment you report a case we have the backing of multi agency organizations that are mining that kind of data and are scanning it and putting same into the system for further listing of the names.
“Therefore, when anybody comes to check say under 'reported' you would check the newspaper, the online media or the social media where it was reported and the information will come out. And so you can see the different contexts.
“So even if the person says, 'No it’s not me,' you say 'Oh we've done our investigations, you used to live here when this happened,'” she continued.
Madam Salihu emphasized that the sex offender register would serve as a deterrent to people who would rather want to commit the offence of rape.
The register is three-in-one. It is not just a sex offender register it is also a service provider register. So a survivor who cannot reach the Police but needs someone to advise her on what to do immediately; can log on to the website and get help.
The activist also shed more light on the project affirming that the register is a case management tool. Such that at the end of day the data in terms of what rape looks like in Nigeria can be forwarded to the National Bureau of Statistics to use in their demographic survey of households in determining the safety and security of citizens.
She posed the question, “what is a country that cannot guarantee the safety of it’s citizens not just physical but also social and psycho-social? It is not a country!” she ended.