Kogi State House of Assembly on Monday passed the state Violence Against Persons Prohibitions Bill to provide for the elimination of violence in private and public life with life imprisonment for rapists.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the passage followed the adoption of report of the joint Committees of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and Judiciary and Justice on the bill presented at plenary on Monday in Lokoja.
The report was presented by the Committee on Women Affairs, chairman, Abubakar Tanko Mohammed (APC-Kogi/Koto) and was followed by Clause-by-Clause consideration of the bill by the legislators at the Committee of the Whole.
The Bill is to provide for the Elimination of Violence in Private and Public Life, Prohibition of all Forms of Violence Against Persons Protection of Victims and Punishment for Offenders in Kogi State and Other Matters Connected therewith 2021.
The Bill among others section 4(4) provided that aiding and abetting should carry same punishment of life imprisonment as the actual offender upon conviction.
The private bill sponsored by Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI) with support from National Democratic Institute (NDI) and ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) was introduced to the House in 2019 to serve as a legal tool for protection (especially the female gender) from all forms of violence.
In the lead debate on the bill, the chairman, Committee on Women said it was no longer news that violence and other forms of offence against persons, in public and private life, were at their peak making life unsafe in the state.
“The purpose of the VAPP Bill is to eliminate violence in our private and public lives, to prohibit all forms of violence against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for the victims and punishment to the offenders.”
He said that towards the off-cycle gubernatorial election in the state, the CPI implemented a project funded by National Democratic Institute (NDI) called Get Out The Vote/Stop Violence Against Women in Politics (GOTV/Stop-VAWIP).
According to him, data collated and analysed by the CPI revealed that 85.7 per cent of the voters fell victim of violence in the governoship election.
“It was further revealed that existing laws in the state did not cover all forms of offences. That is why perpetrators of violence were not prosecuted and many individuals could not access justice.”
In his ruling, the Speaker, Prince Matthew Kolawole said House at the Committee of the Whole considered sections 1-48 of the bill as well as the schedule thereto bring to an end, the consideration of the bill.
The Third and Final Reading was read by the Clerk, Alhaji Ibtahim Anika and was pronounced, passed by the Speaker. (NAN)
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