Campaigners have hailed the launch of Nigeria’s first sex offender register as a vital step towards tackling reported cases of sexual abuse, which are rising across the country.
The publicly accessible onlineregister of people prosecuted for sexual violence since 2015 will allow public bodies and police authorities to conduct background checks and identify repeat offenders.
Oluwaseun Osowobi, the director of Stand To End Rape, a Nigerian non-government organisation that supports survivors of sexual violence, said: “If a case is reported anywhere in the country, the case is now on the register. It means that offenders have nowhere to hide.”
Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, along with 15 non-governmental organisations, supported by the British Council, will monitor reported cases of sexual abuse, providing monthly updates to the online register.
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria”, said Beatrice Jedy-Agba, the executive secretary of the agency. “It enables bodies such as schools [and] hospitals to conduct background checks and it will deter sex offenders because they will know their names will be published, affecting their employment and role in society.”