This much was enunciated by Barr. Olivia Nwachukwu, General Secretary, Federation of International Lawyers, FIDA recently at an event organised to flag-off 16 Days Activism in Lagos by NOPRIN Foundation and Project Alert.
Responding to a comment by one of the participants that the judgment on that case could discourage other victims who may be willing to come out, Nwachukwu said, “Our laws, especially the laws that we practise in Nigeria are laws of evidence and because Busola Dakolo’s case is sort of time-bound – from what we heard, the incident happened 20 years – to that extent the evidence would have been dissipated.
“Being that our laws are laws of evidence, she has to prosecute that matter to a logical conclusion; she has to produce evidence. Don’t forget it’s her words against the accused person and she’s supposed to have provided the evidence of the incident like semen, or probably that she screamed and somebody heard her. So, to that extent, the matter was slack.” She said, stressing that she was deliberately avoiding the use of the word, ‘thrown away’.
Nwanchukwu however said there is no way that judgment was going to discourage victims from coming out in the future. “I think it’s now left for us to encourage them through activities such as ‘International Day on Violence Against Women’ and others.”
Another participant, Unobe Ene Sarah, Executive Director, International Centre for Human Rights, Non-violence and Safety awareness, also a lawyer advised victims to always guard their evidence and present them on time.
“Immediately it happened to you, go and report yourself immediately, because if you allege and there is no evidence, the accused can sue you,” she said.