NAWJN: Women Judges Urge FG To Establish Fund For Child Witnesses
The National Association of Women Judges, Nigeria (NAWJN) has among other things, recommended that the “Executive arm of government should set up a witness fund to cater for child and vulnerable witnesses.”
NAWJN made this known in a Communique made available to THE WHISTLER, after its hybrid conference on Thursday, tagged ” Protection of Child and Vulnerable Witnesses in Nigeria”
The event featured contributions, speeches from stakeholders including the presidency, human rights groups, judiciary and the legislative.
They brainstormed on the global best practices associated with handling cases involving children and vulnerable witnesses in the country.
The association finally resolved that more needs to be done for proper adminstration of justice in that regard.
Below are their recommendations:
“That the Chief Judges of the Federal High Court and the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory should issue practice directions on the protection of children and vulnerable witnesses in Nigeria.
“That there should appointment of additional judges at the High Court and the Federal High Court to specifically sit on matters involving child and vulnerable witnesses in Nigeria.
“That there should be budgetary allocations for physical infrastructure and capacity building for judges and court officials.
“To liaise with other relevant stakeholders on the sensitization of parents/ care givers and guardians in assisting the court in giving evidence during trial of cases of sexual offences committed by family members and close relatives.
“To work with psychologists, pediatricians and other certified health professionals in eliciting evidence during trials.
“To periodically liaise with the Nigeria Bar Association on the need to assist the courts in the administration of justice and not to insist on technicalities all in a bid to protect their clients.
“The need to liaise with traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders in assisting in eliciting evidence and protection of child and vulnerable witnesses and carrying out an advocacy on the reasons behind the provisions of the Child Rights Act.
“Engage the Executive Arm of Government on gender responsive budgeting to ensure availability of funds for the protection and child and vulnerable witnesses.
“Engage the police on the need for proper investigation and not playing the role of the court in nor coerce victims of sexual violence on settlement.
“The Executive arm of government of the 36 states and FCT should establish criminal justice committee pursuant to the provisions of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
“The Attorney General of the Federation should make rules pursuant to the provisions of Section 255 of the Evidence Act, 2011 in respect of the protection of children and vuinerable witnesses in Nigeria.”