FIDA seeks partnership with police to fight violence against women, children in Plateau

The International Federation of Female Lawyers, FIDA, says it is seeking partnership with the police, to fight child rape and infringement of women’s rights in Plateau.

The Chairperson of FIDA, Mary Izam, made this known when the association paid the state Commissioner of Police, Andie Undie, a courtesy visit on Thursday in Jos.

Mrs Izam decried the increase of rape cases in the country as well as the alleged systemic bureaucracy in denying justice to the victims.

According to her, the support of the police would strengthen FIDA’s efforts especially in the prosecutions of offences in the appropriate courts.

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“Some police officers frustrate our efforts towards getting justice by giving us false information and issuing bail to suspects of rape, especially of minors which is against the constitution.

“We want the police to take cases of rape of minor to the High Court for appropriate judgment instead of the lower court.

“Cases of rape on minor are capital offence in the Nigerian constitution, so such cases should be handled by the high court.

“We have cases of sexual violence on girls below 18 years under the disguise of forced marriage.

“FIDA adopts the Child Rights Act already gazetted in Plateau, where a child must be 18 before being labelled an adult.

“This means any sexual relations with someone below that age is a sexual offence.

“We also have disturbing cases of sexual violation of children of three months and five years by men as old as 50 to 70 years,“ she said.

Mrs Izam said the visit to the governor was also to advocate the adoption of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.

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The chairman noted that the law was established to address gaps in the existing laws and enforce justice especially to indigent women.

She said that the law protected suspects from inhumane treatment and torture, ensuring their rights to communicate with their families were not infringed.

In his response, Mr Undie expressed worry that defilement of minors had become a national embarrassment but reaffirmed the commitment of the police to fight the menace.

The commissioner, however, promised to support FIDA in discharging its duties and implored the members to also serve as watchdogs to the police.

He said: “we will appreciate FIDA to also report our lapses to us so that we can correct our mistakes as well.”