By: Ademola Orunbon
A sex offenders’ registry is a system in which various countries designed to allow government authorities to keep track of the activities of sex offenders, including those who have completed their criminal sentences. In some jurisdictions, where sex offender registration can, registration is accompanied by residential address notification requirements. In many jurisdictions also, registered sex offenders are subject to additional restrictions, including housing. Those on parole or probation may also be subjected to restrictions that do not apply to other parolees or probationers.
Sometimes, these include (or have been proposed to include) restrictions on being in the presence of underage persons (under the age of majority), living in proximity to a school or day care centres, owning toys or items targeted towards children, or using the internet. Sex offender registries exist in many English speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, South Africa, the United Kingdom, but the United States is the only country with a registry that is publicly accessible; all other countries in the English speaking world have sex offender registries only accessible by law enforcement.
In offence-based system, registration is required when a person is convicted (or, in some jurisdictions, adjudicated delinquent, found not guilty by reason of insanity, or found not criminal responsible), under one of the listed offences requiring registration. But, under normal circumstance, persons, registered are supposed to put into a tier programme based on their offense of conviction. Risk based system have been proposed but not implemented as of print.
The vast majority of sexual offense victims are known to the offenders – including friends, family or other trusted adults, such as teachers. This is also contrary to media depictions of stranger assaults or child molesters who kidnap children unknown to them. Thus, despite the public awareness of the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders, there has been little evidence to back the claim that mandatory registration has made society safer. In fact, only in the states/countries that utilize empirically derived risk assessment procedures and publicly identify only high risk offenders, has community notifications demonstrated some effectiveness. It must always show that residency restrictions increase offender’s recidivism rates by increasing offender homelessness and increasing instability in a sex offender’s life.
Although, sex offenders on parole or probation are generally subject to the same restriction as other parolees and probationers, even sex offenders who have completed probation or parole may also be subjected to restrictions above and beyond those of most felons. In some jurisdiction, they cannot live within a certain distance of places children or families gather. Such places are usually schools, worship centres and parks, but could also include public venue (stadiums), airports, apartments, malls, major retail stores, college campuses and certain neighbourhoods (unless for essential business). In some states/countries, they may also be barred from voting after a sentence has been completed and at the federal level, barred from owning firearms, like all felons.
Now, given how deeply rooted misogyny and rape culture in Nigeria, it comes as no surprise that there has never been an official sexual offenders’ list in Nigeria. Indeed, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that 1 in 4 Nigerian girls are victims of sexual violence before they turn 18, and according to a National Survey carried out in 2014, only 38 percent of those who experienced sexual violence as children told someone about it, and only about 50 percent sought help. Also, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in persons is the law enforcement agency charged with administering the provisions of the violence against persons (Prohibition) Act. Currently on the website, there are 7 incidents reported, 10 verified reported cases and 5 convicted cases. Although, this numbers do not represent the vast amount of underreported cases, it is a first step towards proper documentation and accountability.
Last summer, we all witnessed how young women in Nigeria took to social media to name and shame their abusers, with media personality, Busola Dakolo adopting the same approach when divulging her encounter with COZA Pastor, Biodun Fatoyinbo. Social media has always been a useful tool that that women can use to make their voices heard in a society where the police and the government have turned a deaf ear. The advent of the list, although long overdue, but is extremely important to ending silence culture in Nigeria, and it’s good that we are finally having a permanent list that can be used to hold perpetrator in our society accountable.
Precisely, on Monday, November 25, 2019, Nigerian launched its online National Sexual Offenders’ Register to help members of the public and security agencies conduct background checks and identify sex offenders. Though, this is the first of its kind in Nigeria, indeed, the Executive Secretary of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Beatrice Jedy-Agba said, that it will enable bodies such as school and hospitals to conduct background check and it will also deter sex offenders, because they will know their names will be published, affecting their employment and role in society.
In 2015, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that one in four girls and one in ten boys had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18, and an estimate of at least 2 million girls in Nigeria reportedly experience sexual abuse every year. Unfortunately, the majority of these cases go unreported as a result of social stigmatization and victim blaming. This results in an increasing numbers of sexual abusers and repeat offenders. The new database aims to name and shame them.
Before the National register was launched, only two states in Nigeria, Lagos and Ekiti, kept registers of sex offenders. The register in Lagos state was opened in 2014 while a “Black Book” for sexual offenders was opened in Ekiti state in 2013. Unfortunately, these registers are not updated regularly, defeating their purpose. Hence, the need for a national registry that will be monitored and updated frequently is required for the country.
With the growth on the raping of minors which not scarcely to one state or the others but censored across the country, the Ogun state reckoned with federal government in opening the sex offenders’ register so as to bring the culprit to the book and stand as deterrent to others in society, that is why the Chief Judge of Ogun state, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu hinted that the state will take a cue and open a sex offenders’ register, not just for fun but will stand as part of efforts to curtail the prevalence of sexual violence in the state.
She stated further that the names of sex offenders will be written in ‘black book’ upon conviction by the court and will be circulated on all Ogun state owned media, by making sure that the name and conviction of the convict is known to the general public, though in doing this it will not only promotes the safety of the general public, but also instill courage in victims and their family to come forward and access justice. Because, most of the victims shame of being stigmatized and felt that it was obvious disgrace to be raped, and also nobody is ready to fight for their course in the society but with the new trend in adoption of sex offenders register, it will abate the raping of minors in our society.
The number one judge in Ogun state made this submission at the public presentation and launch of a book, titled “The Law At Your Fingertips”, the book which aimed to be transcribed into Yoruba language and Pidgin language, so as to make it more understandable to common man, part was selected from the state laws which to be made possible and accessible to general public, which includes the State Child Rights Law 2003, that would address the rights of children in the state, though she promised to make transcription in Hausa and Igbo languages for other tribe living in the state. Then, nobody will be left unacquainted by the submission of the Chief Judge, everybody will have his/her ethnic copy of the book and study it well, in order to stand as a guide and direction for their children. This will also guide against ignorance of the breaking the laws which proliferating among the common man, that claims that they are not aware of the stipulated and certain laws of the state.
She added that the decision to simplify and transcribe the state violence against person (prohibition) law 2018, was informed by the high rates of violent rape and offence, spousal violence, murders and even sexual abuse of underage children. Indeed, it is rather frightening and pathetic to constantly wake up to the news of spousal murder; and society where spouses kill each other with impunity. It is even more frightening that our society does not raise an eyebrow at female circumcision or genital mutilation, or the practice of husbands forcefully ejecting wives out of matrimonial homes at the slightest provocation, or even denying spouses access to the home and children; when our laws clearly make such action an offence.
Though, the objective of the Child Rights Law 2003 is to ensure that the rights of children in Ogun state are protected. However, majority of the victims in this category are the downtrodden like housemaids, wards, orphans and the weak. But, the state is confident that the simplified and transcribed version of the Child Rights Law can easily be understood by any child with the exception of those who cannot read and write at all. The Law exposes the child at a young age, to his/her and responsibilities. It also exposes the parents to the issues relating to possession and custody of children.
So, as we all know that ignorance of the law is not an excuse of breaking it and as good citizens, we all have a collective responsibility to obey and abide by the rules of the law.
Orunbon, a journalist and public affairs analyst, wrote from Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria
Can be reached via; email@example.com, or 08034493944 and 08029301122.
Christmas, MFM and the “Where is it in the Bible?” Christians
I have just read the position of the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries, Dr Daniel Olukoya, on Christmas, followed by an official statement from the church’s Public Relations Officer, one Mr Collins Edomaruse, strengthening that position, and wish to state that it is sad, painful and unfortunate that such a man held in otherwise high esteem among his followers as a “preacher” could exhibit such level of ignorance and hypocrisy.
But before I continue, let me reproduce the response of another Christian leader, Fada Chinenye Oluoma, concerning the issue as posted on his Facebook page:
“I wanted to pretend I didn’t read about the G. O who said ‘Christmas’ is not in the Bible and so shouldn’t be celebrated. It’s the same funny mentality of those who confuse terminology with theology. Easter as a term is not in the Bible but we celebrate Easter because it’s an event and a mystery recorded in Scripture. (It is the) same with Christmas, it’s not the term or calendar date we celebrate but the event and mystery. One day, someone will wake up tipsy on ‘anointing’ and tell me to tell him why I call myself a Catholic since that term doesn’t exist in the Bible. (The) same folly can be extended to all churches because no church has a name that’s used for a group of church members in the Bible. A Pentecostal church that says it doesn’t celebrate Christmas because the term doesn’t exist in the Bible but calls itself a Pentecostal church is just a comic contradiction. Pentecost means 50th day, it was an agricultural feast that had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit until that particular year that the Holy Spirit fell on the Apostles in Acts 2. Even after that there is no record in Scripture that the Holy Spirit fell on other people on Pentecost Day. If I wanted to be ‘an anointed idiot’ I would have been going round condemning Christians who identify (themselves) as Pentecostals, quizzing them to show me where it’s in the Bible that a group of believers were referred to as Pentecostals or to prove to me where any group of Christians celebrated Pentecost in the Bible. Yet, common sense dictates that it’s neither terminology nor semantics we identify as Pentecostal but the reality and mystery of the Holy Spirit.
“Whoever adjectivised SENSE with COMMON hasn’t experienced this generation of WHERE IS IT IN THE BIBLE intoxicated Christians. Common sense is very rare. The Bible is not a dictionary or history book, it’s more of a theology than terminology. When you want to use the Bible to validate or invalidate any religious practice, you look for the biblical theology about it, not the terminology. Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Children’s Day, etc are not in the Bible, but the Bible doesn’t have anything against their celebration. It’s only a religious ignoramus that will condemn those celebrations and get pious zombies to follow suit. If you care to know, there are many things we do in life that are not in the Bible and God isn’t angry (about them) at all. Traditional marriage, village meetings, Cross Over vigils (these ‘Show Me Where It’s In The Bible’ folks who are addicted to 31st December Cross over vigil don’t even know ‘it’s not in the Bible’ in their sense), birthday parties, wedding anniversaries etc are not in the Bible.
Finally, someone needs to tell Dr Olukoya that MFM has a football club, I’ve been searching for it in the Bible and couldn’t find it, abi no be MFM get that football club? Some nonsense must stop this 2019 o, let me come and be going”, he concluded in pidgin.
Need I add more?
But for the purpose of emphasis, and to break every heart of stone standing against the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ because they cannot find it in the Bible “in their own sense” as Fada Oluoma puts it, Dr Daniel Olukoya made that statement against the celebration of Christmas during his weekly “Manna Water” service. Excuse me Sir, where is it in the Bible that we should hold a weekly “Manna Water” service, whatever that means? O, so, Dr Olukoya finds it convenient to attempt to replace the celebration of Christmas with his Manna Water service or with whatever programme he chose just to prevent his members from partaking in what he termed “idolatory” celebration (Christmas) whose origin he traced to ancient Rome but sees no sense in replacing the same idolatory festival with Christmas so as to diminish that festival and make the lessons of Jesus’ birth more popular thereby spreading the Gospel through that means?
Does Dr Daniel Olukoya reckon that but for the celebration of Christmas on the symbolic date of 25th of December, that idolatory festival he said Christmas was replaced with could probably have been as popular as Christmas itself today, thereby restricting the knowledge about Jesus Christ compared to what it is now? The fact is that, if the Olukoyas or the MFMs are not trying to be clever by half, or even crusading against evangelization, they would have known that there is no other event in world history that has helped to spread the awareness about Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth like Christmas. From Communist China to Saudi Arabia, from North Korea to India, from Iran to Russia, from United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Pakistan, nearly everyone in the world has come to know one thing or the other about Jesus because of Christmas Day. No matter how Antichrist a nation is, it can never do business with the USA, for example, on Christmas Day, because such a nation would be told in no uncertain terms about the holidays declared to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is the same with other nations where Christmas holidays are declared, and that is a plus for Christianity worldwide. But the Olukoyas are futilely attempting to diminish that mileage!
Lastly, where is it in the Bible that Jesus Christ asked us to pray that our enemies should die? Nowhere! But that is a cardinal prayer point of Olukoya’s MFM.
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!
—firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @StJudeNdukwe
SANWO-OLU MARKS BOXING DAY WITH PATIENTS AT LAGOS GENERAL HOSPITAL
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday visited the Paediatric, emergency and orthopaedic wards of the Lagos Island General Hospital, Broad Street, to celebrate Christmas and boxing days with the in-patients battling various health conditions.
The Governor while at the hospital, chatted with the patients, cheering them up, encouraging them and also prayed for their recovery.
Sanwo-Olu also toured facilities of the oldest General Hospital in Nigeria to ascertain level of work done on the renovation of the Accident and Emergency ward building.
The Governor said his visit, which has been a tradition even before he came into political office was to share memorable moments with those in the hospital at a time when every other person is in joyous mood at home.
He said: “Christmas offers us an opportunity to spare a thought for the infirm. We need to share moments like this with them so that they also can feel the greatness of the season even though they are not entirely fit.”
“We must also remember that this season teaches us love, compassion and selflessness. While majority of us have our relatives and friends with us to mark the Christmas day, we need to understand that several families are in pain because their loved ones are battling various ailments at the hospital. So, it’s no Christmas for these people because they need to be with their ailing family members.
“On a day like this, I thought it necessary to identify with these families and celebrate with them. I believe this gesture will cheer them up and give them reasons to be happy. We hope that the little we have come to share with them today will strengthen them to get out of the sickbed quicker and better,”
The patients, who were excited to see the Governor, prayed for him and wellbeing of his family.
Mindshift Advocacy Unveils Powerful Initiative to Create a New Nigeria
In its determination and resolve to foster a new mindset among Nigerians, the Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative has unveiled a new blue print to get Nigerians to think differently, believe differently and to act differently, so as to generate a mindset geared towards development. The event which was attended by dignitaries and the media held Thursday, October 17, 2019, at the prestigious Benue Hall of the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
In his address Mr. Joko Okupe, the Founder and Board of Trustee member of the Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative said that “the bane of Nigeria and by extension Africa’s problems is the mindset of Africans as individuals, communities and nations, about themselves and the mindset of the rest of the world about Africa. The wrong mindset of Nigerians and Africans in general which influences the way we do things, has created problems such as lack of visionary and purposeful leadership, bad governance standards, erosion and loss of good value systems, corruption, poor understanding of global issues and how it impacts their lives; unprecedented never-ending poverty, heavy debt burdens, over dependence on international aids, endless conflicts, inadequate education etc.” According to him, the Initiative was incorporated on November 28, 2016 as a non-partisan, non-governmental organization aimed at re-directing citizens’ mindsets from negative mindsets in private lives, societies and nations to positive mindsets that foster meaningful holistic personal, social and national development. The initiative also seeks to activate a radical and positive change in the mindset of the Nigerian youth – and by extension, African youth.
According to Mr. Okupe, the Mindshift Advocacy is actually focused on shifting mindsets from negative to positive. The movement is focused on redirecting the mindset of Nigerians from negative, unproductive and unprogressive mindsets to positive, productive and progressive mindsets. A destructive person has a destructive mindset and a destructive thinking pattern. There is so much capacity in the power of the mind that the way and manner that the mind is directed, determines the outcome of a man’s action. When you look at the great nations of the world, you will discover that their people have mindsets of greatness. The average Nigerian’s mindset is anti-progress and anti-development. How can we have progress and development when majority of our citizens have the wrong mindset? We cannot achieve any meaningful transformation without a re-orientation of the citizens’ mindsets. Even when Government decides to run a campaign on changing attitudes, the success will depend on whether the mindsets of the citizens have changed or not. We cannot but pay attention to how people think. We must have that clear understanding. That essentially is the crux of the Mindshift Advocacy.
He stressed that every effort geared at re-orientating the citizens with a view to making them develop positive and progressive mindsets as individuals, society and at national levels, would put us on the road to meaningful and effective transformation of the continent for sustainable growth and development. This is why: “The changes we wish to make have more to do with how we think than what we actually do, because thinking patterns ultimately influence actions. We need to get our citizens to embrace positive mindsets that can impact thought and action for our progress and development. We must also lead by example by thinking and acting differently.”
He cited Mr. Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, who once said that Africa’s transformational change will first happen at the level of mindsets before it is translated into concrete actions. Okupe firmly believes that Africa’s journey of transformation starts with changing how people think. “It is vital for citizens of all ages and social classes to have the right mindset because they are the ones who would be actively involved in the day-to-day actions that bring about sustainable transformation.”
In order to achieve these, the initiative has in place well-articulated key focus areas toward its agenda. These areas are: family and society, government and politics, education, business and economy, media, arts and entertainment, innovation and technology, religion, culture, and health and wellness. Additionally, it will approach this systematically through social research, targeted issues campaigns, action-oriented initiatives, knowledge sharing, events, and public discourse platforms.
Fielding questions to reporters at the launch event on what methods Mindshift Advocacy will deploy to achieve its goal, Joko responded, “It is all a matter of approach and method. Our initiatives would be determined by research and insight. There is a reason or rationale behind every mindset. How much have we researched into why we behave the way we do? Why do we think the way we do? We will make efforts to dig into the foundation to understand the issues and gain necessary insights before we develop initiatives. A man whose mind is conditioned to darkness tends to acclimatise to the situation and live in it. People’s eyes can only be opened through enlightenment which will serve as an illumination to the thick, engulfing darkness and ignorance around us. Adequate exposure to realities will compel them to see and think differently. If we continue at the current pace, we are definitely on a suicide mission as a nation, though we may be fully aware of this”.
Earlier in her welcome address Mrs. Debo Onabowale, a core member of the Mindshift Advocacy for development Initiative said that “Mindshift Advocacy for Development Initiative is set to do a new thing in Nigeria by approaching the Nigerian problem from a different perspective. We believe that Nigerians, both leaders and followers, rich and poor, young and old need a different orientation to be able to chart a new direction and behaviour to propel peace and development.”
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