By Danjuma Joseph Lafia
The Nasarawa State House of Assembly on organised a one day public hearing on Gender-Based Violence (Prohibition) Bill 2020, to get inputs from critical stakeholders to put to an end to gender based violence in the state.
Speaker of the House Rt. Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, while declaring the event open in Lafia said that the bill if finally passed into law would tackle the rate of gender-based violence crimes in the state.
Abdullahi, who was represented by Hon Tanko Tunga, the Majority Leader of the House appreciated stakeholders for attending the workshop while assuring them that their inputs would be critically analysed and use accordingly.
“Today is a special day for us, special day set aside for women in Nasarawa State.
“What informed the sponsor of the bill, the Rt.Hon Speaker and the House is our desire to see what we can do to stop or reduce the act of gender- based violence to the barest minimum in the state.
“We called you to hear your sincere opinion on how to tackle the menace if not by 100 per cent but to reduce it to the barest minimum in the state.
“It is not about rape alone but it is about gender-based violence as those that are perpetrating this act must not go unpunished to serve as deterrent to others, ” he said.
The speaker has restated the continued determination of the House to pass resolutions and bills that would tackle rape and gender based violence for the overall development of the state.
Earlier, Barr. Mohammed Ibrahim Alkali, the Chairman, Joint Committee on Judiciary and Women Affairs said that the public hearing would also give the House direction in order to ensure the success of the bill.
He also assured of collaboration with the state ministry of Justice and other stakeholders in ensuring that the bill become a reality.
“We are commending the Rt. Hon Speaker for sponsoring this bill as the bill if finally passed and signed into law would address gender-based violence in the state.
Dr. Abdulkarim Kana, Hajiya Halima Jabiru, the State Commissioner for Justice and Women Affairs respectively while making their presentations assured of their readiness to support the assembly with inputs in order to ensure the success of the bill.
Kana suggested for the setting up of technical committee to look at related laws for harmonisation so as to tackle the menace.
Dr Zainab Ahmed, the Chairman, Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Dr Nawani Aboki of the Civil Socieities of Nigeria, representative of the Ministry of Education among other stakeholders also commended the House for the initiative.
They said that the bill if passed would tackle the menace of gender- based violence in the state, stressing the need for stiffer penalties against the perpetrators of the act.
Ene Obi, the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) said that it has started operation in 2000 as a regional national Non-Governmental Organisation, non-partisan, non-religious and civil society organisation.
Obi, who was represented by Barr. Adesuwa Iluobe, Executive Assistant to the Country Director said that the organisation works with people living in poverty and exclusion to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication.
Obi commended the House in enthroning legislation that will contribute to women, girls, boys and girls living lives of dignity and enjoyment of their right in the state.
” AAN wishes to make the following recommendations, Gender-Based violence shall include threats to commit or acts liable to result in physical abuse which includes slapping, beating, arm twisting, stabbing, strangling, burning, kicking among others,” she said.