The Ondo State government has been urged to immediately work with active Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and relevant stakeholders to ensure the domestication of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) VAPP Act.
A public policy forum, The Nigerian Feminist Forum, (NFF) called on the state government to ensure that the domestication VAPP bill was all encompassing, capturing in totality the needs of women and girls, as they are the most Vulnerable.
VAPP is known as the Violence Against persons (prohibition) Act and was passed into law in May 2015 following agitations for protection of persons against the different forms of violence, violence both at the home front and the larger society which is now fast becoming a trend in the recent day Nigeria.
The Focal Person of NFF, Chinonso Okechukwu made the call in Akure, the state capital at a consultative meeting with stakeholders and members of various CSOs held yesterday.
The consultative meeting was organised in partnership with Action Aid Nigeria and funding from Global Affairs Canada to discuss and formulate strategic action plan towards ensuring better protection of women and girls against violence in Ondo State.
Addressing the stakeholders, Okechukwu pointed out that “ the Nigerian Feminist Forum in the past three months have actively engaged in strategic action plans to ensure the domestication of the VAPP ACT in states yet to for better protection of women and girls against sexual and gender based violence.
“Daily, we hear of someone killing or maiming their spouse, spousal battery, a scorned lover pouring acid on an ex lover; or someone being forcefully taken away from their family and loved ones, cases of rape and defilement and so on.
It was the need to protect citizens from violence such as these that led to the enactment of the VAPP Act, 2015.
The Violence Against persons (Prohibition) Act is an improvement on the penal and criminal code in relation to violence; it also makes provision for compensation to victims as well as the protection of their rights.
The main thrust of the law is 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 other related matters.
“It is believed that this Act will bring succor and effective remedies to millions of victims who have suffered violence, in one form or the other in silence without recourse to justice or rehabilitative, psychological or social support for their recovery and reintegration back into the society.
The Act does not only ensure that the violators are brought to justice, but also that the victims are adequately compensated, re- integrated into the society and given the necessary support and protection.
The NFF strategies have included collaborating with key women led and feminist organizations as well as strategic key stakeholders who are key players towards the domestication of the VAPP ACT.
For us collaboration is key and we have actively partnered with organizations who are also championing this cause to ensure that the needs of women and girls as well as their areas of concern are properly captured in the bill as we critically look at the bill through a Feminist lens.
Our aim is to collaborate with active partners to identify the state level in the VAPP Bill Domestication process as well as identify the gaps and ways of possible intervention and the way forward.
To share as a guiding tool the ‘NFF ACE DOCUMENT’ which stands for Activism, Commitment, and Engagement to strategic partners to create an overview of the practical steps towards pathways to strategic delivery of a comprehensive VAPP BILL as well as an implementation plan.
The well being of all Ondo Citizens matter, more so the well being of all women and Girls living in Ondo State.
Domesticating the VAPP act in Ondo State and sensitizing the public on the existence of a law aimed at protecting them whilst protecting their safety will not only help curb Violence against Women and Girls, but will also hold perpetrators accountable.
We therefore call on the Ondo State Government to without further delay work with active CSO’s and relevant ministries to ensure that the VAPP BILL is domesticated in the State, as well as ensuring that the VAPP BILL is robust enough and all encompassing, capturing in totality the needs of women and girls, as they are the most Vulnerable. ”