As Nigeria joins the world to mark another day to commemorate INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, it is imperative to raise awareness for implementation of the Violence Against Persons Act 2015, signed into law by former president Goodluck Jonathan in May this year.
Sponsor of the Bill and former member of the House of Representatives Hon Abike Dabiri Erewa noted that the law deals extensively with issues relating to all forms of violence with adequate penalties provided for those found guilty, and stressed the need for the act to be domesticated by all 36 states in Nigeria.
Rape for instance now carries a penalty of life imprisonment with no option of fine. Where it is a case of gang rape, a convicted person shall be liable jointly and severally to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
The court shall also award appropriate compensation to the victim, as it may deem fit in the circumstance.
All forms of domestic, physical violence, female genital mutilation , forceful ejection from home, willful damage to properties ,emotional, verbal, psychological abuse, harmful widowhood practices, abandonment of spouses, children and other dependants without sustenance , spousal or partner battery , substance attack, political violence , incest etc are all covered by this law.
Hon Abike Dabiri Erewa called on NGOs, Civil Society groups and the Media to raise awareness about the law so that victims can be aware that they can seek redress and get justice.
Noting that though a law is now passed, it is important for all Nigerians to speak out against all forms of violence especially rape and domestic violence.
She also called for states to domesticate the Act and ensure full implementation of the Law.