The Bauchi state House of Assembly has reviewed the state’s Administration of the Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) to empower the Magistrate Court of the First Grade with the jurisdiction to try rape cases. This was following the intervention of the SGBV Justice Network advocacy cluster led by Lawyers Alert, with support from the USAID-funded Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local engagement (SCALE) project. Before now, rape cases were only adjudicated by the High Courts and could take anywhere between three to eight years to be redressed.
Leveraging a political economy analysis led by the SCALE team, the SGBV Justice Network was able to identify the high volume of cases before the high courts as one of the reasons for the delay in resolving rape cases. So, when the Bauchi state House of Assembly constituted a committee to review the state’s current 2018 Administration of Criminal Justice Law to correct errors that have impeded its effective implementation, the group saw it as a window of opportunity to demand the ACJL to expand the jurisdiction of Chief Magistrates to try rape cases.
It is said that Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. With the reviewed ACJL providing for quick dispensation of justice, survivors of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence have a better chance at justice when it matters and can feel safe in their communities again sooner.
The SGBV Justice Network will further engage relevant stakeholders to fast-track the assent of the Executive Governor and monitor implementation through the activities of the ACJL monitoring committee of the State.
The SCALE project is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded five-year project (2021-2025) designed to strengthen the financial, management, and advocacy capacity of CSOs in Nigeria to create a more accountable, transparent, peaceful, and democratic Nigeria with more effective and efficient public service delivery.