A Child Protection Network in Oyo State has urged the Oyo State government to establish a rapid response team for child abuse to curb the incessant cases of rape in the state.
CPN also urged the state government to, without delay, open a sexual offenders register in the state.
The group noted that the call for the response team and a register became necessary in view of the recent increase in cases of rape in the state.
NAIJALOADED recalls that no fewer than three ladies have been raped and subsequently killed in Akinyele local government area of the state in the last three weeks.
CPN while on an advocacy visit to the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, insisted that there is a need for full implementation of all passed laws that relate to the rights of children and their protection from violence.
CPN Coordinator, Dr. Ebunlomo Walker who led the team maintained that there is a need for a child-friendly justice system to provide justice for children affected by violence and abuse.
Walker, who noted that the visit was part of activities to mark the International Day of the African Child, maintained that no child should be incarcerated or tried in open court.
“Our advocacy, which is actually a petition to your office on this occasion of the Celebration of the Day of the African Child, is aimed at bringing to your notice the dire situation of the state we have found ourselves with regards to child protection issues in Oyo State, Nigeria and indeed the whole of Africa.
“We wish to point out specific areas we have identified that need your attention and over which we can collaborate strategically for the best interest of the African children regarding their experience with the law”.
“We have also noted that the Family Court in Oyo State is perpetual “almost ready”. This is a Court that should serve the purpose of fast-tracking the course of justice in a child-friendly environment so that outcomes are good for children when they relate with the law either as victims, offenders, witnesses or even complainants.
“In view of the above, we hereby petition with regards to the protection of the children of Oyo State to avail to them a child-friendly justice system that ensures they have a pleasant experience in their contact with the law.
“No child whatsoever should be incarcerated and or tried in open court.
“There is a need for a child-friendly justice system to provide justice for children affected by violence and abuse, making the justice system friendlier to children.
“We implore your office, our Lord Justice, to expeditiously complete the establishment and running of the Oyo State Family Court, with its branches in the different zones of Oyo State.
“This will provide justice that is accessible, age-appropriate, speedy, diligent, adapted to and focused on the needs and rights of the child.
”Where there is a need, lax laws should be tightened up to overcome ambiguities that can be exploited to set the guilty free and deny justice to the victim.
“Establishment of a Rapid Response Team for Child Abuse, especially child sexual assault, by the appropriate agencies of government and with a strong representation of the Civil-Society groups.
“There is an urgent need for a Sexual Offenders Register in Oyo State”.