The Lagos State Government on Monday said at least 12,120 rape cases and other sexual violence offences in the last four years.
Out of this number, the names of 140 sex offenders were recorded in the Lagos State Sex Offenders Register, which the government opened six months ago.
The government also said that it has sentenced 5,834 offenders to community service since the introduction of the non-custodian sentences in its criminal justice system.
State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye, who disclosed this at the ongoing ministerial briefing said 3,083 offenders were asked to engage in community services as form of punishment between January 2014 and February 2015.
He said the community services was part of government’s strategy to decongest the prisons, adding, “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.”
He added that in the period under review, out of the 795 police investigation files sent to the DPP’s office for legal advice, the Unit has already completed work on 716 (90.1 per cent) while the rest are still being processed, adding that many requiring additional information or further investigation by the Police or other relevant agency.
“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 11respectively 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.
Ipaye further said the state government has opened a Crime Data Register (CDR), where records crimes and the perpetrators are 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.
According to him, the Office of Public Defender (OPD), had in the period handled over 15,000 matters on behalf of indigent Lagosians at no cost.
“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.
Daily Independent news – culled from: http://dailyindependentnig.com/2015/05/lagos-record-12120-rape-cases-four-years/