The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF), has urged state governments in Nigeria that are yet to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act to do so in the of the society.
Rising from a two-day workshop on the VAPP Act in Abuja on Tuesday, NFF’s Focal Person, Chinonso Okechukwu, said the domestication of the law had become imperative in view of the endemic cases of gender and sexual based violence that was occasioned in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a communiqué issued on Tuesday, the NFF in conjunction with other feminist groups: CARA Development Foundation, Women and Girlchild capabilities, Gombe VAPP Alliance, Dofoundation International and State of Emergency GBV, among others, urged state governors across the country to domesticate and create awareness of the law, as a way of preventing SGBV in the society.
The group recalled that the Federal Government had passed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act on May 25th 2015 to eliminate violence in private and public life as well as prohibit all forms of violence against persons; provide maximum protection, effective remedies for victims, punishment for offenders and for related matters.
However, the NFF expressed concerns that despite the significance of this Act in the development and sustainability process of Nigeria as a whole, as of October 6, 2020, twenty one states were yet to domesticate the VAPP Act.
It listed the states to include: Imo, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Nasarawa, Cross River, Kogi, Borno, Yobe, Kebbi, Taraba, Gombe, Niger, Jigawa, Ondo, Kwara, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, katsina, Delta, Rivers.
According to the communiqué, “…We (the NFF) demand that states that are yet to domesticate the VAPP Act should do so immediately, in addition, commit resources in its annual budget for the effective implementation and enforcement;
“To develop State Road Maps for the implementation of the VAPP Act;
“Adopt a multi-sectoral approach to implement, monitor and evaluate implementation of the law by aligning the linkages between gender equality and each sector of government and ensuring the necessary budgetary allocations.
“Take all necessary actions to ensure that the provisions of the VAPP Act are mainstreamed in all national and state policy decisions, legislation, development plans, programs and activities in all spheres of life and meet the reporting requirements as agreed upon;
“Hold consultations widely with civil society organizations working on women’s rights issues, women’s groups, citizens’ groups and other strategic stakeholders when developing plans for implementation and review;
“Repeal all existing laws that are discriminatory against women and ensure the protection of the rights of all women and their human dignity in accordance with the VAPP Act and other international human rights instruments like the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Maputo Protocol;
“The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to lend support through state ministries of women affairs who have difficulties in planning, budgeting, implementation and reporting of their human rights and women rights responsibilities.”
Earlier, Mrs. Majorie Ezihe, Cordinator, Imo State Committee on Ending Against Women and Girls, noted that the VAPP act was not only about women but both males and females.