TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Centre for Environment and Human Rights Development (CEHRD) has urged personnel of Nigeria Police Force to enforce implementation of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act
CERHD has also called for the assent to the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, passed into law by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The group that if the state government assents the bill into law, it would address the challenges of harassment and sexual abuses on both male and female victims.
Head, Human Rights and Governance, CEHRD, David Veraba, who spoke in Port Harcourt, during the training of police officers on enforcement of VAPP Act, said the call arose due to repeated cases of rape and gender-based violence in the state.
Veraba said CEHRD had been working with the police and other critical stakeholders, including the health sector and civil societies for the past three years to ensure that attention was given to the Act.
He said “We want to intensify our strategic partnership with the police and the health sector. Yesterday, we trained the health sector on Health System Response to Gender Based Violence and today, we are training the police on Enforcement of Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act.
“The VAPP Act was made in law in 2015 at the National Assembly and thereafter domesticated at the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“The VAPP Act enlarges and emboldens what sexual harassment is. It explained that beyond the women experience, men can also be sexually harassed. It goes beyond physical harassment to emotional, to even psychological. So, when you abuse person verbally is also harassment”, he explained.
Speaking too, the programme facilitator, Koko Aluzu, expressed gratitude that the officers showed commitment to the training.
He said: “I appreciate the Nigeria Police for allowing their officers to attend the workshop today. At least it will give them first hand knowledge of the VAPP Act, once assent has been given by the Governor of Rivers State.
“This programme will really help them to enforce the law because as a law enforcement agency, when this law comes into force, they will know how to profile their charges in court, know how to advise victims and reinstate victims to their rightful state of mind”, Aluzu said.