From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A non-governmental organisation, Center for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) has commended the Bayelsa State House of Assembly for the adaptation of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibitions) (VAPP) Act in Bayelsa State.
The VAPP Bill seeks to eliminate violence in private and public life; prohibit all forms of violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, domestic, harmful traditional practices; discrimination against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders.
In a statement signed by Head, Human Rights and Development, CEHRD, DR David Vareba, and issued to journalists in Port Harcourt, the group recalled that “in 2015, the Nigeria’s National Assembly passed the violence Against persons prohibition (VAPP) Bill into Law.
“The law is a very important piece of legislation as it surpasses other extant laws in addressing violence against persons. The law was only applicable in the Federal capital territory (FCT), Abuja due to the heterogeneity of the Nigerian State and the powers of the Nigerian State Assemblies to adapt such law to their peculiar context.
“Only few States have so far adapted the law. As at December 2020, only 19 States have adapted the VAPP Act, with the support of the Netherlands Embassy in Abuja, CEHRD had taken up rigorous campaigns and advocacies since 2018 in Bayelsa and Rivers States leading to the passage and assent of the VAPP Act in Rivers State in December 2019 and December 2020, respectively.
“Similarly, CEHRD has been working assiduously, with several concern stakeholders in Bayelsa, to facilitate the adoption of the VAPP Act in Bayelsa State. CEHRD,s multi stakeholder interactive summit on the Bayelsa state VAPP Bill held in Yenagoa on February 11, 2021 galvanized, and amplified citizens support for the VAPP BiIl that culminates to its passage by the Bayelsa state Assembly on February 17, 2020.”
However, the group called on the Bayelsa State Governor to speedily assent the bill to law.
“Specifically, CEHRD is calling on the Governor and the Executive arm of the Government of Bayelsa State to: Ensure swift assent of VAPP Bill, Mobilize and empower the coordinating Ministry to partner with the police, Primary Health Management Board, Hospital Management Board, the Ministry
of Health, Ministry of Justice, and the civil Society organisations for seamless implementation of the VAPP law, once it is assented by the governor.”
They also urged that the key Ministries and institutions, especially the Health sector and the Police, secure budget and infrastructures needed to adequately operationalize the VAPP Act.
Also, CEHRD commended the Bayelsa State Lawmakers for the passage of the VAPP Bill and for the cooperation with the group and others CSOs during the legislating process.
The group thanked Hon. Tare Porri, the House Membe representing Ekeremor Constituency I, who sponsored the CEHRD and remained resolute to advocating for mainstreaming the VAPP Act in Bayelsa to mitigating and reduce drastically the increasing cases of gender-based violence (GBV) in the state.