Worried by congestion of holding facilities, a judge of the Enugu State High Court, Justice Chinyere Ani yesterday called on the state government to establish functional Remand Homes for rehabilitation and training of underage convicts, lamenting absence of such facility in the state. Speaking at a one-day training of Police Investigators in Enugu State Police Command on implementation of Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) by Women Aid Collective (WACOL), Justice Ani expressed the need for mass enlightenment on the provisions of law. She said: “There is need for government to establish functional Remand Homes where underage offenders can upon conviction be remanded for their rehabilitation, education and training as provided under this law as well as under the Child Rights Law. “It is also of great importance for the government to establish Safe Shelter Homes for victims of violence as provided under sections 28 and 36 of this law. The government is urged to urgently constitute the regulatory body as provided by section 40 of this law that is the Agency of Violence Against Persons, who will in turn appoint Protection Officers in each of the local government councils as provided under section 37 of this law. “This law should be inculcated into the curriculum of Police training at the Police College as well as made part of curriculum for continuous training of the Police.
Various roles have been assigned to the government through the Commissioner, the Court as well as nongovernmental organisations and the police. “For instance, the victim has a right under this law to receive necessary materials, medical, psychological, social and legal assistance, rehabilitation and reiteration programme etc. Founding Director of WACOL, Prof. Joy Ezeilo said the objective was to train the police on the said law and to sensitize them on existing laws on violence against women (VAWG) and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). She said it was also to strengthen the capacity of the police to provide effective response to victims of VAWG and SGBV with a view to educating frontline law enforcement officers on how to effectively work with other agencies, including NGOs in dealing with cases of VAWG and SGBV.