From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As a part of its continuous collaboration efforts with stakeholders, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) has engaged with traditional and religious leaders on the implementation of the Kaduna State Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law and Gender and Equal Opportunity (GEO) bill.
This engagement is under the legal and social empowerment programme on women’s rights projects in Kaduna and Plateau states funded by African Women Development Fund.
Programme Officer, WRAPA in Kaduna State, Barr Bukola Ajao restated that this project seeks to achieve the effective implementation of the VAPP Act and passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill in Kaduna State, which seeks to eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls and promote equal opportunities for beneficiaries of the project intervention, (women and girls).
Taking the participant through a presentation titled: “The role of religion and community leaders in implementation and adherence to law”, a Professor of Criminology with Kaduna State University (KASU), Hauwa’u Evelyn Yusuf harped on the need for the custodians of culture and faith to be abreast of latest laws in the state so they can apply such to promote peace and harmony among their subjects.
The Varsity don who is the Director of Gender Studies unit in KASU also called on civil society groups and the media to create aggressive awareness of the VAPP law so people can be adequately informed that they can now get justice when their rights are being infringed upon based on the provisions contained in the law.
“As custodians of tradition and faith in your respective communities, we want you to ensure that violence against women is not swept under the carpet. This you can do by reporting to the appropriate quarters starting with the police.
“We also expect you to encourage women and children to speak out when there is violence against them,” she said.
In an interview at the end of the one-day engagement held at a hotel in Kaduna, A participant who is the District Head, Kaduna Doka, Alhaji Bala Muhammed Tijjani promised to continue to sensitise his colleagues, especially as one of the members of the committee that saw to the domestication of the VAPP Act in Kaduna State between 2017 and 2018.
“I would have to confess that I was extremely delighted to see that my past is catching up with me in a good time in my life because I participated in the promotion of the VAPP bill up to when it became a law.
“So, coming from the traditional angle, I’ve done my best to ensure most of my colleagues are being sensitised in terms of momentum and tempo around the law.
“Basically, from the meeting, there is still more to be done in terms of sensitising traditional leaders because we have an important role to play as the first contacts when issues captured in the VAPP law come up,” he said.