FG Moves To Establish Mobile Courts To Prosecute Sexual Offenders

The federal government plans to set up mobile courts to address cases of sexual harassment, as announced by the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, during a National Stakeholder’s Engagement on Sexual Harassment Prevention in Abuja on Tuesday.

Organized by the ICPC in partnership with the Gender Mobile Initiative, the event aimed to address the prevalent issue of sexual harassment, particularly in schools and tertiary institutions nationwide.

Kennedy-Ohanenye expressed concern over the alarming frequency of such incidents and emphasized that the new measures would effectively combat this menace.

“We are also working in collaboration with hotel owners to deny access to under-aged children from lodging and report any such attempts to security operatives to curb the terrible sexual harassment problems,” the minister said.

She urged stakeholders to rise to the challenge by ensuring that sexual harassment is brought to the barest minimum to address the problems of stigmatisation and low self-esteem among victims.

Speaking, the chairman of the ICPC, Musa Aliyu Aliyu, raised the concern that until there are heavy consequences for offenders, the menace will continue to increase.

Aliyu, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, noted that sexual harassment and other related societal ills, including gender discrimination, are tarnishing the nation’s reputation.

“Only a consistent, persistent, focused and united campaign can ensure that the challenge of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions is decisively addressed,’’ he said.

He said the commission engaged the Gender Mobile Initiative to draft a model policy for tertiary institutions, and the Federal Ministry of Education approved the policies for primary and tertiary institutions.

“It is a notorious fact that Nigeria has so many laws and policies, but many of them are not being correctly implemented.”

“Therefore, proper implementation of the model policies cannot be over-emphasised. The success of this initiative largely depends on the active participation and commitment of stakeholders,’’ he said.

The founder and executive director of Gender Mobile Initiative, Omowumi Ogunrotimi, urged stakeholders to consider prevention rather than a response framework.