Legal marriages block prosecution of violence against women – Police

By The Citizen

The Nigeria Police has complained that legal marriages remained a major barrier in prosecuting cases of domestic violence against women.

This was revealed by Police officers at a Training Workshop organised for Senior Police officers in Southwest, Nigeria held in Ado Ekiti, in Ekiti State on Thursday by at a training organised by a Non-Governmental Organisation, (NGO), known as New Initiative for Social Development, (NISD).

The Police explained that they are faced with what they described as very difficult challenges of prosecuting such domestic violence cases as a result of the fact that a husband who battered his wife cannot be charged to court because the law sees the two of them as one unless the couple are not legally married.

'Most of these cases are still pending in our office as most of the people affected were advised to go to ministry of women affairs to pursue their cases'.

Meanwhile, Executive Director, NISD, Mr Abiodun Oyeleye, told the gathering that there have been existence of Ekiti state equal opportunity law, Ekiti state Gender- based violence (prohibition) law, Ekiti state widowhood law, the copies of which were made available to the officers who attended the workshop free of charge.

Oyeleye, also listed the Lagos state report with a provision of a law to provide protection against Domestic Violence and for connected purposes, the Ondo state Harmful Traditional Practices affecting the health and welfare of women and children law, and Osun state protection Against Violence law.

The NISD boss who disclosed that, that of the Oyo state law is still pending, hence the reason why rape cases are higher than armed robbery in Oyo State, however called on relevance agencies and ministry in that state to join hands with the NGO to ensure that the needful is done in time.

Other Police officer who spoke at the workshop listed unwillingness of the victims or victim's family to prosecute their cases, failure to report cases at the right time, as well as a situation whereby victims are being coerced by lawyers to drop charges against accused persons.

The Police also frowned at media trial of cases of rape, inconsistences in the report of the victims, ignorant of the victims of their rights, defilement, procedure and unnecessary bureaucracy.

The Executive Director, NISD, Mr Abiodun Oyeleye, however tasked the police not to focus on prosecution of accused or offenders under the situation but they should duel more on protection, and prevention of violence against persons whether men or women rather than the prosecution. - Daily Times.