Expedite action on speedy passage of VAPP Bill – Stop VAWIP tells Ondo Assembly

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Stop Violence against Women in Politics (Stop-VAWIP) has called on the lawmakers at the Ondo State House of Assembly to expedite action on the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) bill before the Assembly.

The group who stated this during a press conference in Akure, Ondo State capital, expressed concern that the state remains the only state in the South-west region that is yet to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP), saying about 25 states have also passed the bill into law across the country.

Addressing journalists in Akure, Programme Manager, Stop-VAWIP in Ondo State, Mrs Oluwatobi Olaifa said quick passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill of Ondo State 2020 into law would reduce the increasing cases of gender-based violence in the state.

She said “The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill of Ondo State 2020 is a bill for a law to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence against persons, and provide for maximum and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders and other related matters in the State. The bill was first read on the floor of the Assembly on the l7th December 2020.

“Thereafter, an ad-hoc committee was set up under the leadership of Hon. Simeon Borokini to review the bill. The committee took steps to review the bill and organized a public hearing on March 8, 2021.

“Considering, the impact of this bill on the people of the State by reducing the rising trend of gender-based violence in the public and private sphere, it is important to put all hands on deck to ensure the passage of the bill into law.

“However, we want to call on the Ondo State House of Assembly to expedite action to pass the bill into law”

Olaifa however said “As we await the passage of the VAPP bill of Ondo State, we wish to reiterate here that the provision of this bill frowns against all forms of gender-based violence, harmful traditional practices, discrimination against persons, and it provides maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders; and other related matters.

“Furthermore, the bill aims to protect citizens from all forms of violence and harmful practices that endanger the lives and properties of citizens. It also upholds the dignity and rights of men and women equally.

“It is at this juncture that we urge every individual, NGO, CBOS, the legislature, judiciary, and the executive not to disperse or hinder the pursuit of justice and the advocacy for the fundamental rights of citizens or kick against measures that have the sole goal of protecting men and women from acts of violence and other harmful practices.

She said “The VAPP bill which is a mirror of the VAPP Act at the National level defines evil as evil and evildoers as evildoers. It proscribes necessary punishment for violators or usurpers of human rights and the safety of all persons, without bias.

“It is thus necessary for the good people of Ondo State to be their brother’s keeper by reporting all forms of violence.”

The group however rated the Ondo state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu as the most gender-sensitive governor in the country by picking a woman as the Secretary to the State Government.

The group noted that Akeredolu gave priority to women development and remains one of the best in gender mainstreaming and said “We also wish to acknowledge the appointment of Princess Oladuni Odu as the Secretary to the Ondo State Government by Arakunrin Odunayo Akeredolu which is a step forward for women’s inclusion in governance.

“However, we humbly call on the Ondo State government to take more affirmative action by appointing more women in his cabinet to at least one-third of the cabinet to be women with reputable leadership qualities.”

The Stop-VAWIP Response Committee is committed to awareness-raising, advocating for behavioural change, sensitizing citizens on gender-based violence (GBV), tracking and responding to cases of GBV, and improving women’s political participation in the state. The Committee will also continue to encourage women’s participation in electoral and 000 processes.

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