Paul Orude, Bauchi
A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations on violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) has commended the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Abubakar Suleiman, for presenting the VAPP bill on the floor of the House on Tuesday.
The Bauchi State Focal Person of the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Mrs Mary Ann Emmanuel, who gave the commendation on behalf of the coalition, described the step taken by the Speaker as groundbreaking and a watershed in entire North-East Nigeria.
‘We commend the Speaker and entire house for their commitment for accelerated hearing of the VAPP bill and we hope that in due course, Bauchi will join the league of states where the VAPP law has been passed and serve as a reference point for all other Northeast states,’ she said
Mrs Emmanuel who was flanked by Dr Abiola Akinyodi-Afolabi, Executive Director of WARDC, Hajiya Binta Adamu, Barrister Amina Garuba (E-Craft) and Audu Sheila Ibrahim (WARDC, Abuja), expressed hope that the bill if passed will further development that can promote free environment from any form of violence.
The WARDC Focal Person in the state said that the bill presented by Speaker Suleiman came on the heel of several advocacies of CSOs coalition on VAPP laws in Bauchi State which includes WARDC and her partners, African Women Development Fund(AWDF), Bauchi State Network for CSOs (BASNEC), IKRA Foundation, Siswashi Women and children among others.
‘The bill if passed into law proposes to proposes to support the Bauchi people in general, particularly the women and girls in the state, that constitute the large majority of the poor, marginalized and vulnerable, to take action to end violence against women and girls,’ she said.
‘The CSOs believe that the bill will strengthen the accountability mechanism that will further support gender justice and contribute to ending gender-based violence in Bauchi State
‘We are not unaware of the tragic death of Uwa Omozuwa and Barakat and a host of others who lost their lives to rape and other sexual violence in recent times. Thus, this step by the speaker is critical to preventing such an ugly occurrence in Bauchi State.
‘The incidence of rape in Nigeria has continued to increase over the years and graphic photos of victims and survivals continue to flood bout timelines and headline Nigerian Media daily. Sadly, many more go untold and unreported,’ she said.
The CSOs, according to Mrs Emmanuel, unanimously and emphatically condemned the murder of Omozuwa and called on all religious leaders and institutions to take up the podium and lead in fighting against sexual and gender abuse and the fight against senseless killings and rape of women and children.
It further called for radical reform of the Nigeria Police Force to end the impunity of sexual violence against women and girls
‘We urgently demand the consistent sentencing and enforcement of existing laws in other states that have passed the VAPP law, in particular, the minimum sentencing legislation in sexual and domestic violence cases outlined in VAPP.’