Women Affairs Minister canvasses supports for prohibition against violence
By; Evelyn Dadu, Abuja
Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Sen. Aisha Jummai Alhassan has identified violence against women as the most visible social challenge in Nigeria and called on well meaning Nigerians to accept, support and work towards total implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, across all states of the federation in order to stem out violence against persons in the Country.
The VAPP Act was signed into law by the National Assembly on 5th May, 2015 and was assented on the 25th May, 2015. VAPP protects all gender in Nigerian from all forms of human rights abuse, but for now, it is only implemented in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The Minister made the call in Abuja at the opening of a media parley on Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) and also pledged federal government’s total support in the entire implementation process in all states of Nigeria.
Senator Alhassan specifically called on the media, religious and traditional leaders to use the influence of their offices on the citizens to ensure that the veil of silence is lifted, thereby lending support to all vulnerable persons, especially women and girls, who before now, could not speak out against violence, even if they were personally affected.
She noted how violence against women has for long, been trivialized by the general public and policy makers in Nigeria, hence the prevalence of violence against women and girls in the Country. She said “Women and girls are generally looked down upon, trapped within cultural framework and molded by rigid perceptions of patriarchy. As a result, violence against women is viewed as a normal phenomenon even by the victims themselves”.
She lamented that, “Nigerian women suffer multiple forms of violence including domestic, rape, sexual harassment, suicide, forced marriage, trafficking and other psychological and financial oppression”. She said, “Violence against women has become one of the most visible social issues in the country.
On the theme; “Parleying to popularize the VAPP Act”; the Minister said it was a display of commitment of all stakeholders towards an all-inclusive response that will ensure adequate justice and protection of victims and perpetrators of violence in Nigeria henceforth”.
The Inspector General of Police, represented by DIG Chinua Amajor Onu pledged the total support of the Nigerian Police Force on VAPP. She said there is a gender desk established in all Police Stations across the nation and assured that the Police will fight all acts of human rights to the end.
Also, representative of the National Assembly’s Gender Technical Unit, Senior Facilitator Tordue Nyitse said amendment of the VAPP Act was ongoing in the National Assembly and all Nigerians have the right to make contributions that could be added to the legal document.
The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development initiated this bill about 13 years ago with other stakeholders that included; IPAS, the Federation of Women Lawyers and other Civil Society Organizations.
Also present at the meeting included the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, the Human Rights Commission, the Nigerian Prisons and the Federal Capital Territory Administration.