By Ibrahim Bello
Birnin Kebbi, Oct. 2, 2020 The Kebbi State House of Assembly, on Friday, commenced public hearing on Child Rights Act to provide and protect the rights of children, as well as domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) (VAPP) Act in the state.
The Speaker of the house, Alhaji Abdulmumeen Kamba, said that the hearing was an opportunity for stakeholders to be involved because of the sensitivity of the issues at stake and their impact on religion, culture and tradition of the people.
Naija247news reports that stakeholders at the hearing included Dr Zainab Shinkafi- Bagudu, Wife of the state Governor, who was represented by the Wife of the Secretary to the State Government, Hajiya Hurraira Babale-Umar, the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammed Bashar, represented by the ‘Wazirin Gwandu’, Alhaji Abdullahi Umar and former Clerk to the Assembly, Alhaji Muhammad Dan- Malam.
Others were: Dr Usman Damana, Leader of the state’s Council of Ulamas delegation, Dr Alkali Birnin Kebbi, representative of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs); UNICEF officials and Medicaid Cancer Foundation officials, among others.
The speaker explained that the VAPP Act advocated stiffer punishment for rapists to ďeter others
from committing the heinous offence.
He said “the aim of the acts are to guarantee the safety and well-being of children and women in Kebbi in particular and Nigeria in general.
“There is need to have public hearing on the acts so that wider perspectives can be incorporated and considered.”
He applauded the stakeholders and urged them to encourage the house to pursue the process to its logical conclusion and make history of not only giving the state the protection laws, but acceptable and enforceable.
Shinkafi- Bagudu appreciated the honour granted her by the house to present a statement on the two important rights protection acts.
She commended both the state governor and the house of assembly for organising the public hearing and prayed that the efforts would climax into domestication of the two laws in the state.
The emir of Gwandu said “the traditional institutions are part of the works that produced the position of both CSOs and Ulamas, therefore, the submissions of both stand as that of the traditional institutions.”
Dr Damana, who spoke on behalf of the Ulamas, suggested that the definition of rape should be expanded to include all forms of penetrations into sexual organs.
In his presentation, Dr Akali recommended that CSOs should change the title of the bill from Child Rights to Child Protection.
“This is because about 90 per cent of the presentations seek to protect the child, while the setback suffered in the past efforts at domesticating the act hinged on perceptions about child rights, inclining to religion and culture.
“The marriage issue should be expunged from the bill since the bill is about the child, so that age of child can be conveniently defined at 18,” he said.
Also, the representative of NOA, Malam Nasir Karofi, applauded the house for giving stakeholders an opportunity to discuss the bill and own it.
He said “NOA notes that VAPP contain clauses about rape, spouse battery, financial and economic dependence, as well as spouse abandonment, among others.
“These are issues that constitute abuse of women, especially both as wives and single mothers and should be addressed properly,” he suggested.
In his closing remark, the Deputy Speaker of the house, Alhaji Buhari Aliero, thanked the participants and assured the public that both oral submissions and written memoranda would be duly considered to guide the house in considering the bills.