stakeholders in the administration of justice in Kaduna state met at the weekend to develop an implementation framework for the implementation of Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Law 2018 in the State.
A leading non-governmental organisation in the advocacy and campaign against violence against women (VAW), Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) had conveyed a one-day meeting with stakeholders to brainstorm on the creation of awareness and implementation of VAPP law in Kaduna State.
Project Officer, WRAPA, Kaduna, Barr Bukola Ajao sad though the law has been signed since December 1, 2018, many people are not aware let alone utilising it.
“That is why this strategic meeting where relevant stakeholders – the solicitor general, Director of Public Prosecution, Magistrate, lawyers, CSOs, police, civil defence and health workers coming together to look at those strategic things to be done.
“With this meeting, we will develop an implementation framework to push for the effective implementation of this law”, she said.
Director of Public Prosecution for Kaduna State, Bayero Dari said ignorance of the law was not an excuse, hence, the need to simplify the VAPP law and create awareness so citizens can appreciate and use it.
“People are not aware of some of the provisions of this law. But then, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. As soon as the law is passed, it binds on anyone and you cannot expect the court to say you are ignorant.
“We are the stakeholders. We are in the justice sector. With this meeting, we will be able to engage ourselves, engage the public by translating this law for people to understand.
“Beating your wife is no longer what elders will sit and say, wife, don’t be angry, go back to your husband. This will no longer happen. The court will compel you to take care of your wife. If you beat her, the court will punish you adequately.
“The law provides for gathering and documenting data by the implementing ministries. But, as we speak, nothing is on the ground. But then, the journey of a thousand mile starts with a step”, he said.
Speaking along this line, a contributor and Executive Director, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, Barr Rebecca Sako-John said, “there is a need for synergy among all the actors in the justice sector – the security, the bench, the bar, the judiciary and then the coordinating body that concern with this particular law.
“That synergy is not there and everyone seems to be working in silos. What I have seen in my own humble opinion is that all seem to be working very hard but they need to speak with one another to see how to deal with the identified gaps regularly. With synergy, the implementers will be able to provide services to citizens”, she hoped.
“The VAPP law prohibits assaults and violent acts both in public and private. It provides for rape, defilement, battery or physical violence among intimate partners, domestic violence in homes between parents and children, spouses. The law also provides for abandonment in the family.
“For example, if a breadwinner abandoned his family or throw out his/her partner, such is now seen as offences. Before the law, such are seen as domestic affairs. That old idea was imbalance because the victim or the survivor of such acts are affected psychologically, socially and economically.
“The law also provides for the right to earn a living especially for women who have educational qualifications to work and they are left at home without being taken care of. The law also gives responsibility to the state not just to prevent perpetrators against further acts but also compensate and rehabilitate recipient of violence which were not captured in the penal code”.