By Folasade Akpan
Abuja, July 22, 2020 Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila says the house will provide funds for the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the 2021 budget to be presented to the National Assembly in September.
Gbajabiamila said this in response to a request by Ulla Mueller, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja
Mueller led a delegation of United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) Spotlight Initiative on a courtesy call to the speaker, a statement issued by Mr Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity said.
Gbajabiamila said that apart from budget funds, the house would also provide all necessary support and partner with relevant stakeholders for the fight against GBV to succeed.
According to the speaker, the issue of GBV in the country has become disturbing hence the need for all stakeholders to come together to nip it in the bud.
He, however, assured the delegation that the house would work on the Sexual Harassment Bill forwarded to it by the Senate as soon as members returned from their annual recess.
“You talked about the senate Bill, though we are going on a long vacation, I can assure you that as soon as we come back, the house will work on the bill.
“The Green Chamber would speedily concur with the senate.”
“On the issue of funding, like I said, its like a pandemic. There is no way you can confront a pandemic without funding.
“The budget is coming in September, and once it comes, we will make sure adequate funding is provided for this issue.
“On the issue of domestication of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) 2015 and the Child’s Rights Act, my office has done a lot.
“We had a conference with the Speakers of the State Assemblies. The Chairman of the Conference of Speakers promised that they would domesticate it in Bauchi, and I am glad to say that it has been done.
“We will continue to engage with others to see that they domesticate the laws. This is something we are championing, and we will continue to do that.
“For us in the House of Representatives, we’re giving this issue all the seriousness it deserves’” he said.
Gbajabiamila said that the issue of gender was prominently featured in the legislative agenda of the house, a new version of which would be launched on Saturday.
The speaker commended members of the delegation for the work they have been doing, saying he hoped there would be a sustained partnership between them and the house to end gender-based violence in Nigeria.
In her remark, Mueller said that everybody had the responsibility to say no to gender-based violence taking place in Nigeria and work toward ending it.
She said that they would advocate for a budget line to be committed to the fight against gender-based violence, adding that the house should also ensure that the funds were released accordingly when appropriated.
As part of their work, she said that they were working on a concept to organise engagements with different stakeholders, including speakers of state of houses of assembly.
While commending the Senate for passing the Sexual Harassment Bill, she called on the house to concur so that it would be assented to by the president.