BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
As the world marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Civil Society Organisation (CSO), SAGE (Supporting Advancement of Gender Equality) has called for the domestication of Violence Against Person’s Prohibition (VAPP) law of 2015 in all Nigerian states.
The organization made this call during a High-level CSO/Government Roundtable Discussion on Eliminating Violence Against Women In Nigeria, held on Wednesday.
This comes as about 20 states hold back on domesticating the VAPP act of 2015, which seeks to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders; and for related matters.
SAGE, supported by the Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), is a programme that seeks to remove barriers to women’s political participation by advocating for policy and legal reforms.
Gender and Advocacy manager of Kimpact Development Initiative, Amina Joy Jatau, noted that most cases of gender based violence are perpetrated against women and as such, there is need for states to domesticate the VAPP act in order to curtail the cases of violence, especially violence against women.
“We have the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) act that has been passed at the national level, and we have been trying to make sure this VAPP act is enacted at the state level and only less than half of the 36 states have domesticated the act. So we are adding our voice to see that the part of the VAPP act that seeks to handle violence especially against women is enacted in all states.”
Also, Country Director of National Democratic Institute, Dr. Stephen Snook represented by Francis Magudu, in his goodwill message, said: “Violence against women and girls is one of the most wide spread persistent and devastating human right violations. It remains widely unreported, due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it”.
“Violence against women is inevitable, prevention is possible and essential,” he said.
In a panel session moderated by Barr. Shekarau Hauwa, Chairperson, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), FCT branch, on challenges, opportunities and next step for enacting the VAPP act in all states, the group called for more funding, coalition and advocacy amongst Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and stakeholders, and public enlightenment. Also, cultural practices and belief systems were citied as some factors of hindrances in enacting the act.
On her part, 2015 presidential candidate of KOWA party, Prof. Remi Sonaiya said: “We are not helping ourselves as a country by relegation almost of our population to the background. Nigeria stands to gain alot if girls and women are allowed to contribute their quota to the development of the society.