The Nigerian government has launched a national sex offenders register as part of its efforts to clamp down sex offenders in the country. The register forms a database of those convicted of sexual offences since 2015.

The register will be made available online to enable the public and police to conduct background checks for identifying serial offenders.

Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Julie Okah-Donli, says the move is aimed at making the country’s environments unsuitable for sex crimes and to destroy all safe havens for sex-related offences.

“You can access the register, you know those who raped, those who are paedophiles and all of that. What this does is that it promotes the name and shame policy, a lot of people don’t want the bad deeds they’ve done to be out there for the public to see, but this is going to name and shame you,” she added.

The United Nations children agency, UNICEF estimates that one in four Nigerian women are sexually abused before they turn 18, with a majority of the cases not reported and prosecuted. The launch of the new register, the first of its kind in Africa, is an important step in protecting women against sex exploitation.