By Chesa Chesa
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday demanded that all States of the Federation domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPPA), 2015 to curb rising cases of rape and gender-based violence in the country.
The decision was taken at the online FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The VAPP is only applicable in the Federal Capital Territory, it does not apply in other States.
A similar law – the Child Rights Act (CRA) – provides that sex with a child is rape, and anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child is liable to imprisonment for life upon conviction.
The Council described the upsurge in rape cases across the country as embarrassing, and vowed to ensure the full weight of the law is applied on rapists and other perpetrators of violence against women and vulnerable persons.
This followed a memo presented during the meeting by the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, following the outrage that has greeted rising cases of rape and gender-based violence in the country.
Such incidents have increased within the period of the national lockdown necessitated by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
No fewer than 80 rape cases were recorded in various parts of Anambra State during the COVID-19 lockdown between last April and May, as against about 30 in the whole of last year.
Fourteen men in Jigawa State, were reported to have repeatedly raped a minor, while 18-year-old Barakat Bello, who was taking her bath, was raped and macheted to death in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Outrage had also trailed the death of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student, raped and killed in a church in Benin City.