By Our Reporter
A Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), has urged state governors to expedite the process of passing the VAPP Acts into law in their respective states.
The coalition made the call on Thursday in Abuja during a press conference on pertinent issues concerning gender-based violence (GBV) and the required urgency for the passage of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act across 18 states yet to pass the law, among other demands.
They recalled that previously they reminded the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) to “walk the talk” and fulfil the commitment they made on the 12th of June 2020, when they declared a state of emergency against sexual and gender-based violence.
They however noted that it is rather discouraging that since the NGF gave this assurance, only four states out of the 21 — Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, and very recently, Abia, Delta and Kwara states — have passed this law.
The Coalition also noted that consequently, the #StateOfEmergencyGBV Movement sent individually signed letters to the 527 members of State Houses of Assembly and the 18 Governors in the remaining 18 states to remind them of the need to take action now.
The group pointed out that the global community concluded the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence recently, while equally stressing that the passage of this very important law in these 18 states will enable a nationally coordinated implementation strategy against GBV.
“Again, we commend Abia and Kwara states for finally passing the VAPP Act, as well as Katsina State for passing the Child Rights Act.
“Violence against women and girls in Nigeria has increased and worsened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic with rising economic inequality setting the stage for even more damage in our communities. We appeal to the remaining states to take action as well,” they said.
According to the UN Women report in May 2020, the rise of gender-based violence in Nigeria during the COVID-19 crisis will have life-threatening consequences for women and girls and a profound impact on their opportunities and life trajectory. This, the report says, will have ripple consequences across communities and the whole country as Nigeria begins to recover from the detrimental economic and health impacts of the pandemic.
The group maintained that the VAPP Act (2015) and the Child Rights Act (2003) remain the two pieces of legislation that adequately protects women, girls, children and indeed, everyone from sexual and gender-based violence.