Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have resolves to domesticate the Child Rights Act, updated Penal Code, and Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act.
This is even as they has agreed with the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) to prioritise government’s response in hotspots across the country that account for the largest share of COVID-19 cases.
This was part of the resolutions reached at the 10th COVID-19 teleconference of members of the Forum which held on Wednesday.
In the communique signed by Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, the governors resolved to declare a state of emergency on sexual and gender-based violence.
According to them, this was important to tackle the alarming rate of rape and other forms of sexual violence in various parts of the country.
They condemned violence against women and children and warned that offenders would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The NGF members added that the domestication of relevant gender-based protection laws would increase protection for women and children.
They noted that such step would ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of perpetrators, in addition to creating a sex offenders’ register to name and shame the culprits.
The governors who also deliberated on the public hearing on the proposed Control of Infectious Disease Bill, 2020 at the House of Representatives, and maintained that states should be conferred with the powers to declare any place within their territory an infected area.
They also sought to make regulations and directives towards prevention and further spread of an infectious disease within the state, in addition to having the powers to establish Centres for Disease Control.
The governors, therefore, called for a review of the discretionary powers of the President and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as contained in the proposed bill.
They condemned some portions of the bill which they said violated the human rights of the people and highlighted the potential contraventions with the nation’s Constitution.
The governors commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the decision to postpone the formal publication of Executive Order 10 of 2020 in the Official Gazette to enable further consultations among all stakeholders.
They resolved to continue meeting with the delegation of the Conference of Speakers and other stakeholders to work out modalities for resolving all concerns regarding Executive Order 10 amicably.
The governors endorsed the work of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s Committee to consolidate measures to gradually open the formal and informal sectors of the economy, especially agricultural activities in rural areas, manufacturing (including the distribution of goods across States), markets, construction, hotels, and restaurants (takeaways only), and worship centres based on existing COVID-19 protocols.
They also passed a vote of confidence on the newly appointed Chairman of the Police Trust Fund to steer a responsive and responsible Police Force and called on him to ensure that the composition of the PTF Board is representative of the country’s diversity.
They also advised the Chairman of the Police Trust Fund to seek legal advice on the funding sources of the organisation as the current arrangement in its Act which amongst others, sources its funding from 0.5% of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account violates the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.