In a bid to reduce violence against persons in Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria, members of Kaduna State House of Assembly (KSHA) and Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAAP) Advocacy Committee members are currently holding a two-day retreat aiming at dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s of the bill before it passes the second reading in the assembly.
The need for the passage of this important bill by the state assembly became necessary considering the increase in number of domestic violence against all groups of persons in the state and the country at large. For example, Kaduna state has well over 700 recorded cases of violence against persons within the first half of 2018 alone.
Declaring the retreat, organised by Gender Awareness Trust (GAT) with support from National Democratic Institute (NDI) open at a hotel in Kano on Friday, Speaker, KSHA, Dr. Abdullahi Shagali said, his leadership is committed to support any course that will promote good governance in the state.
The speaker, who spoke through Deputy Majority Leader in the house, Abdulwahab Idris told the participants that, the current assembly in the state has been working round the clock to pass bills synonymous to overall development of the state in tandem with the vision of All Progressives Congress (APC).
The lawmaker however enjoined the participants to pay attention to every details so they can collectively move the state to envy height, “I believe we are going to learn and put in our best to see to it that the bill scale through the second reading when the time comes”.
Charging the lawmakers on the need to see to the speedy passage of the bill in the state, District Head, Kaduna Central, Doka and holder of Bunun Zazzau tittle, Alhaji Bala Mohammed Tijjani, raised the alarm on the increase in number of cases of domestic violence in the state.
“Long before now, our parents can comfortably leave us in care of neighbours without fear. But that has changed now. We now see where our children as young as three years old are being violated on a daily basis.
“This is why as a traditional voice, I saw the need for our lawmakers to see to the passage of the bill. We are all vulnerable to violence whether as children, adults or old and we must put our efforts together to reduce the trend”, he urged.
In a goodwill message, Deputy Country Director, NDI, Raymond Esegbabon expressed optimism that, the bill will receive necessary attention from the lawmakers quickly added that, his organisation was pleased that the retreat took place as planned with impressive turn out.
“We are to support GAT to see that the objective for the meeting is achieved. This process started sometimes ago and we received proposal from GAT about the need to resolve an issue in the state. The success will be a milestone for you as lawmakers and the state as a whole.
“What we do in NDI is to support democracy and good governance in different ways. We work at national and state levels. We work to promote voter’s registration, conduct election observation, promote election debates and ensure we integrate everybody’s interest in our plannings.
“What GAT is doing is in tandem with our interest to ensure people in the state are adequately represented and their voices are heard.
“It appear issue of violent against persons is becoming rampant which may be reason the federal government signed the act in 2015. We are also doing this in Enugu and Bayelsa States as pilot phase.
“The implication of not addressing this issue is heavy. There are attacks within families. We are now living in danger in our history. The draft bill as we have seen it has addressed the issue of violence by way of political thuggery and other crime against anybody.
“Kaduna Assembly has a role to play in ensuring good governance that will allow the citizens to have their say in government.”
Earlier, Executive Director, GAT, Dr. Lydia Umar said, “the need for our state to have VAAP bill is very germane. Anyone in Nigeria and our state know that violence against all groups of persons are on the increase.
“Today is the milestone and the peak of what we are looking forward to. Having a retreat with our honourable members to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s. We also want to provide a platform to resolve contentious issue and seek for inclusion of mutual agreed language that will strengthen chances of the bill getting adopted, among others.”
SOLA OJO SENT IN THIS REPORT