By Wandoo Sombo
Abuja, Oct.5, 2020 Stakeholders from the 36 states of the federation converged on Abuja on Monday to advocate for the domestication of the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in the states.
Nigeria signed the VAPP act in 2015 but not all the states have so far domesticated it.
Speaking to journalists Mrs Majorie Ezihe said that the VAPP act was not only about women but both males and females.
She said that the workshop was aimed at deepening the dialogue on the need to raise the level of advocacy and awareness of the act.
She decried the lack of awareness of the act particularly at the local communities which she said had led to a spike in gender based violence especially incest.
“Imagine a father raping his four-year-old daughter or an uncle defiling his three-month-old niece; One begins to wonder what could lead a man to committing such a crime.
“It is so sad that in the communities, the community leaders will advocate Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which is very wrong.
“Sometimes, poverty too is a factor and these are the type of things VAPP intends to address as it has a penalty for anyone who tries to advocate ADR for such a heinous crime as rape.”
Also speaking to NAN, Mrs Halima Abdulrahman, the President of Federation of International Women Lawyers, (FIDA) Adamawa, said that the VAPP act was an important act as it was a simplified version of other acts.
She said that although Adamawa had yet to domesticate the act, there was strong advocacy ongoing to ensure it was domesticated.
“It is a simple bill that doesn’t need too much work to be domesticated and states yet to start work on it should do so as it protects both females and males.
“ In Adawama, the governor is in full support of it, it is currently in the House of Assembly and within the next three months, it will be domesticated.”
Also speaking to NAN, Mrs Chinonso Okechukwu Focal Person, Nigeria Feminist Forum Secretariat said that at the end of the meeting, an NFF activism commitment engagement strategic plan would be developed for participants to take back to their states.
She said the strategic plan would enable states yet to domesticate the act to identity gaps in the act that need review while states that had already domesticated it could also make amendments were necessary.
Okechukwu also said the meeting was to help participants view VAPP from a feminist lens for better protection against sexual gender based violence for women and girls in the country.
The VAPP Act stipulates life imprisonment for rape offenders, it also provides 14 years imprisonment for offenders aged 14 and below.