From Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Following the widespread of domestic violence and violence against vulnerable sections in the country, a Bill prohibiting violence and discrimination against vulnerable individuals in the state has passed the first reading at the Taraba State House of Assembly.
Speaker of the House and sponsor of the Bill, Dr Joseph Albasu Kunini, who disclosed this on Monday in Jalingo at a dinner he organized for journalists in the state said that when passed into law, offenders will face sanctions of up to fourteen years in prison without an option of fine.
According to Kunini, “the heinous crimes against these vulnerable individuals in our society have become worrisome and assuming a very dangerous and alarming dimensions. In some cases, the ugly trend remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it. Therefore violence of whatever nature against the vulnerable individuals in the society must be condemned in all its ramifications.
“I have sponsored the Taraba State Violence and Discrimination Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill 2020 which has undergone first reading and I am passionate to see it passed into law soonest. Part of the synopsis of the acts of violence and discrimination contained in the Bill include: Circumcision of a girl or woman, domestic violence, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, forced isolation from family and friends, harmful traditional practices, incest, indecent exposure, intimidation, sexual harassment, spousal/partner battery, trafficking and others.
“The Bill also seeks to prohibit indecency since any person who intentionally exposes his or her genital organs or a substantial part thereof, with the intention of causing distress to the other party or that another person seeing it may be tempted or induced to commit an offence under this law, commits an offence of indecent exposure”.
The Speaker who commended the journalists in the state for working hard to project the state in positive and true light, said the society generally and democracy specifically can not function properly without the pivotal role of the press. He urged them to carry out their responsibilities with regards to the set standards.
“While carrying out your constitutional role as the watchdog or mirror of the society, you should endeavor at all times to be decorous and dispassionate, by observing the code of ethics for the Nigerian journalists. You should shun all forms of yellow journalism which emphasizes sensationalism over facts but embellish such with exaggerated facts and peddling rumours on personalities and knotty national issues”.
Kunini further said that “the Executive- Legislative relations in a system like ours have attracted wide variety of viewpoints and vituperations about the conflict and cooperation. Frosty relationship or antagonism between the two arms of government is not only injurious to democratic consolidation, but also treacherous to political development. Cordial relationship however does not mean executive domination and meddlesomeness. It does not also result into subordination of the Legislature under the Executive. Rather, it is about synergy and symbiotic relationship that will ensure good governance and delivery of the dividends of democracy to the people”.
Daily Sun reports that the second edition of the Speaker’s Dinner with journalists which was initiated last year a fortnight after his election as the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, provided an avenue for broad interaction between the legislature and the journalists in the state under a less formal setting and the unveiling of The Gavel, an in-house publication of the state Assembly.