Petty Offences are basically those offences that were created by colonial masters in attempt to have a strong hold on people and right to self-expression and determination. Petty offenses offend human rights particularly rights to movement, expression, liberty, and dignity of person. Petty Offences often times have no victims, for example, wandering/loitering, rogue/vagabond, hawking etc. As earlier captured, these offences do not only violate human rights but over the years, people have been sent to correctional custodial facility on this account. This is why there is a strong movement to decriminalize petty offence in Africa.
Often, Parliamentarians in efforts at decriminalizing offenses demand evidence of data to validate positions they take. This is where the gap exists. So, while we are all in agreement on the violations associated with petty offences, there is paucity or lack of data to validate this. This reason is why Lawyers Alert with the support of OSIWA is not only monitoring rights violations associated with Petty offences but also documenting this so as to have the evidence to support decriminalization of petty offenses in Nigeria, or provide for non-custodial sentences, where appropriate.
Our documentation process seats on our already existing structure of producing data in other spheres. Lawyers Alert has an online tool that automatically analyses data according to geographic locations (774 LGAs), age, sex, types, etc. This tool has given us the plank to produce data in Nigeria on several issues ranging from SRHR to sexual minorities. In producing the data on Petty Offences, the online tool was expanded to also capture violations associated with petty offenses. Violations report came from our six (6) focal persons in the six (6) geopolitical zones of Nigeria. This accounts for the national spread of the data produced, even though, this project is focused in the following States, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Lagos and the FCT.
The data offered is verifiable and the report as produced is scientific in regard to violations associated to petty offences in Nigeria. It is hoped that this report will be a resource for activists and other bodies working on documentation of petty offences in Nigeria with regard to advocacy and focused interventions including programming.
This report is broken into several parts like types of violations, its spread and locations, local government areas picture, ages most affected etc.