The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, on Monday launched the sex offenders register to curb sexual violence in the country.
The register is a way of documenting names of sexual violence culprits after they have been prosecuted and found guilty of the offence.
Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said at the launch in Abuja that rape of women had been a great challenge in recent times.
She said that the crime was common in the Northern part of the country, adding that it had left several women and teenagers vulnerable.
The minister, commended NAPTIP and other partners for putting up the register, said it would go a long way in exposing perpetrators of the crime.
She noted that “several cases of violence, including gender-based, are exhibited by people and are not being reported nor investigated.
“Women and adolescents are being violated on many occasions at different places due to their helpless state and in many cases, the culprits are people known to the victims.”
In her keynote address, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, a 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate from Liberia, said that the launch of the register would mark the end of impunity against women in Nigeria.
Roberta called for the translation of the register into Nigerian local languages to ensure that the purpose for which it was initiated was achieved.
Dr Bob Arnot, Portfolio Manager of Justice for European Union, called for strong support toward adhering to the rules of the sexual offence register.
He added that the register would help in exposing perpetrators of sexual violence, most of whom were usually not brought to justice.
Ketil Kalson, Head of EU delegation to Nigeria, called for collaborative efforts to stem the tide, as the challenges were not exclusive to Nigeria alone.
Kalson said “we need to understand that this is a global phenomenon that requires collaborative effort of everyone.
“This is a great step because it will go a long way to help in curbing the menace, as no one would want his name to appear in the register.”