Nigeria and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill: #Choice4life Advocates Call For Presidential Assent

After a thirteen-year sojourn at the National Assembly, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill was passed by the Senate on 5th May, 2015. It was earlier passed by the House of Representatives on 14th March, 2013.  While the bill awaited legislative action, thousands of Nigerians fell victim to various forms of violence and many lost their lives.

Sexual violence, a crime the VAPP bill seeks to address appears to be on the rise in recent times. Adolescents and youths, particularly young girls are the main victims of this form of violence. Unfortunately, 52% of victims do nothing about it (National Demographic Health Survey 2013) due to minimal support structure on ground. Domestic violence, female genital cutting, electoral violence, and many others have also caused tremendous damages in our national polity.

Troubled by the sufferings of these victims who hardly ever get justice or support, the #Choice4Life advocates, a group of young Nigerians from diverse ethno-religious and professional backgrounds joined the advocacy for the passage of VAPP bill into law. For the past 13 months the #Choice4Life advocates led campaign via social media, television and radio and observed a high acceptance of the bill by Nigerians.

#Choice4Life Advocates believe that it is a pleasant coincidence that the bill got passed at a time many girls and women who are victims of Boko Haram terror are being rescued from captivity in Sambisa Forest. They are victims of physical, emotional and sexual violence and will benefit greatly from the provisions of the bill when assented to.

The VAPP bill provides a robust legal framework needed for justice and rehabilitation of the rescued girls. It will also boost the confidence of the citizens in our country and will serve as a legal protection of citizens against all forms of violence regardless of sex, age, culture, tribe or religion.

#Choice4Life Advocates hereby salute the 7th National Assembly for passing this bill into law. They also commend well -meaning Nigerians, organisations and development partners who have championed the cause of this bill for the past 13 years.

By signing this historic bill, Mr President would have written his name in gold as one who gave life to a law that will protect millions of Nigerians particularly the women whom he cares so much about.

 

#Choice4Life Advocates is a team of 54 young Nigerian professionals who promote Women Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights via Social Media.

 

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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