HRAN celebrates signing of legislation against Violence

The Human Rights Agenda Network (HRAN) has celebrated with its over 330 members across Nigeria over the signing of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill (VAPP Bill) by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The passage of the Bill, which was first presented to the National Assembly in 2002 but failed to be passed in the 5th and 6th Legislative Assemblies, marks yet another milestone in the fight to ensure human security and development in Nigeria.

Most of the recommendations of the VAPP bill addresses prevailing gender based violence including rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), harmful widowhood practices and other threats to human security with particular focus on women and the girls.

It also ensures legal redress and penalties for perpetrators in a more accessible form than existing legislations.

The VAPP bill which was described as a landmark achievement by the former administration of Goodluck Jonathan, seeks to protect all persons from violence as depicted by the definition of rape which has been extended to include the rape of men and boys, in line with current international standards.

HRAN recalled comments of Mrs Hauwa Shekarau of FIDA during a public hearing of the VAPP Bill on 2nd March 2015, which emphasized on the historic importance of enacting the bill as the first in Africa and the need for the legislators to leave a legacy that demonstrated their will to stem violence in the society.

HRAN therefore, commended the legislators who have supported the bill in the National Assembly, particularly Senator Ndoma Egba who, according to the human right groups, sponsored the Bill at the Senate and personally demonstrated commitment to its passage.

The civil society organization also took the opportunity to congratulate Hajia Saudatu Mahdi of WRAPA and HRAN Steering Committee, Mrs Hauwa Shekarau of FIDA and HRAN Thematic Lead on Women’s Rights and its fellow civil society networks.

Others include, Legislative Advocacy Coalition on Violence Against Women (LACVAW) and the Gender Technical Unit (GTU) for their tireless efforts towards ensuring the passage of the Bill throughout the years.
HRAN therefore called on the new administration and civil society to take steps to ensure the immediate effective implementation of the Act.

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