The Lagos State Government on Monday said that 140 convicted sex offenders had been recorded in a Sex Offenders’ Register created by the state government to shame offenders and serve as deterrent.
Ade Ipaye, Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice made the disclosure at the 2015 Ministerial Press Briefing in Ikeja.
He said that the state had recorded no fewer than 12, 120 rape cases and other sexual violence matters in the last four years, describing such acts as threats to dignity and humanity.
According to him, the government is doing its best to address the problem through the law and other means.
Giving other statistics, Ipaye said that it had sentenced 5,834 offenders to community service for various offences in the last four years.
He said the figure included the 3,083 that got non-custodial punishments such as cleaning public buildings and sweeping, among others in the last one year.
Ipaye explained that this was part of the strategies to decongest the prisons.
“I am pleased to inform you that the programme has continued to wax stronger in demonstration of the fact that criminal justice system does not need to incarcerate offenders in order to be effective. With the community service option available to judges and magistrates, convicted offenders do not need to be sent to prison for every minor infraction of the law.”
In the area of public prosecution, the commissioner said that in the last one year , out of the 795 police investigation files sent to the Director of Public Prosecution’s office for legal advice, the unit completed work on 716 (90.1%).
He said the rest were still being processed, as many required additional information or further investigation by the Police or other relevant agencies.
“During the same period, 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,” he said.
As part of the state government’s commitment to use technology to combat criminal tendencies, Ipaye said the state government had created a Crime Data Register (CDR), where records of crimes and the perpetrators were electronically taken.
“CDR is an electronic repository of information about suspects and offenders who pass through any of the prisons in Lagos State. The CDR involves the participation of all key prosecution actors in the criminal justice process, namely; the Lagos State Judiciary, the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Police and the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Prison Service. Currently, the CDR is a robust system in terms of its IT infrastructure and functionality. We now have 62,789 unique records in the system, of which about 40,000 have biometric and fingerprint details,” he said.
In the year under review, Ipaye said that the Office of Public Defender, the agency saddled with responsibility of providing legal aid services to indigent citizens, handled over 15,000 matters on behalf of indigent Lagosians at no cost.
These matters, according to him, cut across labour cases, civil matters, criminal cases, coroner’s inquests and fundamental rights cases.
“This brings the number of matters that OPD has been involved in the past four years to 30,998. OPD also facilitated the collection of over N42m as compensation on behalf of complainants in the last one year. All together in the past four years, OPD has assisted Lagosians to collect N152m as compensation,” Ipaye said.
On her part, the Director, Office of the Public Defender, OPD, Omotola Rotimi, said the agency, in the last one year, recorded 526 rape cases, with 227 still in pending in court.
“At least 15 judgment were made, ranging from life to seven years imprisonment. In the last four years, about 12, 120 rape cases were recorded,” she said.
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