The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015 which has been domesticated in some Nigerian States including Kaduna and known as VAPP law was one protective law stakeholders have clamoured for, for many years.
Days after days, months after months and years after years, the yearning for justice with regards to violence against persons eventually scaled through tensed legislations and became a full-fleshed towards the tail end of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2015
The law, among others, was meant to address issues of abandonment by a spouse, ensure maintenance by a spouse, violence against persons, forcefully ejection of spouse and general gender-based violence.
But, as good as this law appears, awareness on the part of the masses and implementation on the part of critical stakeholders around the administration of criminal justice are of great concern to many.
It was against this background that, on Monday, July 27, 2020, Women Right Advancement Protection Alternative (WRAPA), held an inception meeting with stakeholders drawn from various organisations which included NGOs, CSOs, faith-based, lawmakers, women, law enforcement agents and the media, to see how the law could be well implemented to reduce the spate of violence in Kaduna State.
The former Chairperson, International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA) in Kaduna State, Bukola Ajao Esq. who coincidentally is serving as the State Coordinator of a Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDCA) funded project called Legal and Social Empowerment Program for Women Rights, said that, the project was aimed at amplifying and increasing the demand for the implementation of the VAPP Law of Kaduna State 2018.
According to her, “At that meeting, participants shared experiences on the slow implementation of the law and that the Court and police have not put the law into use”.
“The law is unique because of the various rights of survivors like rehabilitation for victims, health rights available for the survivors and protection order.
“Participants at that meeting identified lack of awareness of the content of the law by key players such as Judges, social workers, Police, Magistrates, NGO, CSO and NDLEA”, she said.
Placement of the simplified parts of the law at strategic locations like filling stations, worship centres, police stations, courtrooms, and other public places in addition to aggressive mass media sensitization by the State Government, were suggested as deliberate strategies to popularize the VAPP law.
It has been observed that, despite the existence of constitutional provisions and commitments to regional and international human right treaties and conventions, the right of women and girls are grossly violated and devalued in Nigeria and many African countries.
Nigeria is still grappling with gender equality, working on building a just society devoid of discrimination, equal opportunities regardless of sex, that can give both men and women equal voices in decision making and policy implementation.
In 2004, Nigeria ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (African Women’s Protocol), thereby taking the first step towards expanding the scope of protection for women’s human rights in Nigeria, and in particular violence against women.
The African Women’s Protocol is one of the several international instruments Nigeria ratified, which provides measures to be taken to improve the promotion and protection of women’s rights.
Earlier international statutes include the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Declaration on Violence Against Women.
Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) is a leading voice in the advocacy and campaign against Violence Against Women (VAW) in all its ramifications and will be working with key stakeholders in both Kaduna and Plateau States to support the effective implementation of the Gender Equal Opportunities Law, and the Violence Against Persons Act (VAPP) Act 2015, respectively.