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FG approves creation of specialized courts for child offenders

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FG approves creation of specialized courts for child offenders


The Federal Government has approved the creation of a specialized court for child offenders.


This was disclosed on Thursday by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) while speaking at the inauguration of the Justice for Children Coordination Forum.


The forum which is a European Union based UNICEF program is aimed at enhancing access to justice for vulnerable children.


While expressing the need for urgent reform of the country’s juvenile justice system, Malami disclosed that his office had engaged respective Heads of Courts to ensure that the specialized courts are guaranteed.


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He added that it would speed up and seamless trial of Rape and other Gender-Based Violence offences.


Malami said, “The project’s overall objective seeks to improve children’s access to child-friendly justice through age and gender-sensitive juvenile justice mechanisms and alternatives to detention for children in Nigeria”.


He explained that the Justice Ministry has continued to partner with UNICEF and other donor agencies, as well as respective Heads of Courts, to train Judges and Magistrates on the implementation and enforcement of the Child Rights Act.


“Every day, millions of children in Africa and around the world have their rights violated. They are denied access to school, health care and social benefits, unduly separated from their families, and affected by exploitation, abuse and violence in their homes and communities.


“Everywhere, groups of children are being left behind as victims of prejudice and discrimination.


“Among the most vulnerable are children born into poverty, children in detention, children on the street and children with disabilities.


“Yet, only a fraction of children whose rights are violated come forward and seek redress, and even fewer obtain an effective remedy.


“Today, a large number of children in Nigeria are survivors of violence, including sexual violence but very few of those cases make it to the courtrooms.


Meanwhile, in his goodwill message at the program, the Chief Judge of Kano State, Justice Sagir Umar, commended FG for creating a platform he said would enhance access to justice for children.


The CJ, who was represented by Justice Maryam Sabo, decried the rising rate of out of school children in the country.


“In Kano alone as per statistics, about two years back, we had 3. 2million out-of-school children wandering about, some hawking, begging, truants, drug addiction etc.


“In 2018, 1,142 cases were reported at Waraka SARC, while in 2019, 741 cases were received and only 194 were disposed of because of the high demand nature of proving the offence and stigma associated with the offence.


“Poverty and lack of awareness on parents are other factors. This year, the centre received 57 and 68 cases of gender-based violence in April and May, respectively.


“There is a need for the government to strategize more on women empowerment and to make it a policy all over the country.


“Our educational sector, especially the basic, should be revamped for all children to have access to education as their fundamental rights”, the Kano CJ added.


FG approves creation of specialized courts for child offenders

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