Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has charged the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Ministries of Women Affairs, Communication as well as the media to publicise the provisions of the new Violence Against Persons (VAP) Law, which includes life imprisonment, without an option of fine for perpetrators of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the state.
Obaseki, who gave the charge, yesterday, in Benin, the state capital, said after signing the VAP bill into law, there was urgent need to drive the awareness campaign to every nook and cranny of the state.
“This is one law that is dear to my heart and those of all stakeholders who supported it right from its conception, through its consideration in the House of Assembly.
“Having a law against female genital mutilation is a major step, but, ensuring people are aware of its existence is very important in our new resolve to rid Edo State of the practice,” the governor said.
He added: “I urge all relevant government agencies, with the mandate of publicising government activities, policies and programmes as well as members of civil sociey organisations (CSOs), to take the message to the grassroots, so we can achieve the desired impact.”
Governor Obaseki, on Tuesday, signed the VAP bill into law, to address all forms of violence and protect vulnerable members of the society.
Signing the bill at the Government House, Benin, he said he was aware the bill touches on fundamental practices among the people and assured he was not only signing the bill as a formality, but, will ensure it is implemented to the letter.
“We’ll not stop here by just signing the bill into law, but will commence the much difficult work of implementing it to the letter. It must be noted that this bill has been in consideration for over six to eight years, but, the time has come for us to have a law like this VAP law, to protect the most vulnerable and weak in our society.
“As a government, we’ve aligned with the Federation of Women Lawyers’ (FIDA) purpose and objective, and, therefore, have no hesitation in signing the bill into law.
“I want to appreciate FIDA for its doggedness, leadership and commitment to this cause. I’m not sure many other states in the nation has such bills. This bill goes to the core of some of the most pressing issues in society, particularly violence against women and other persons,” he said.
The Assembly Speaker (EDHA), Kabiru Adjoto, told the governor that the newly signed VAP law would eliminate violence in private and public life.
“This bill prohibits violence against all persons and provides maximum protection and effective remedy for victims, and punishment for offenders and other related matters.
“This bill was sent to the EDHA in the Fourth Assembly, but suffered a setback. It also suffered a setback in the Fifth Assembly, but it scaled through in the Sixth Assembly.”