Lead consultant, Westminister Foundation for Democracy, Mrs Bunmi Dipo-Salami presents the findings and recommendations on the policy brief for advancing the implementation of the VAPP Act in 12 states. Photo: Azizatu Sani
State governments have been advised to go beyond assenting to the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP ACT to gazetting the law to ensure its full implementation in the prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence cases.
The lead consultant of a non-governmental Organisation, Westminister Foundation for Democracy, Mrs Bunmi Dipo-Salami gave the advice in Abuja as part of recommendations from the research findings on the validation of policy Brief and Page Analysis for Advancing the Implementation of the VAPP Act in 12 Focal States.
Mrs Dipo-Salami further explained that the states government must also provide budget allocation and establish special courts to effectively implement the tenets of the VAPP Act in protecting the rights of women, girls and vulnerable groups as well as the punishment of perpetrators.
“Civil society Organisations should follow it up from passage to assent, to gazetting before they can start talking about implementation.” She said
According to Mrs Dipo Salami, “the states are at different levels, some have gone so far in the implementation, some are implementing their VAPP law effectively, whereas for some we don’t see the political will that is necessary for the effective implementation of such a very critical law that would help to end violence against persons.”
Mrs Dipo-Salami said high courts both at the states and federal levels were overburdened already “all manner of cases at the high court and the high courts are responsibly interpreting the VAPP Act so it is very important to have special courts.”
The Country Representative of Westminister Foundation for Democracy, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola represented by the Programme Manager, Mrs Shola Folayon advocated the creation of different sensitisation platforms to educate the people on the provision of the VAPP law and the implications of its violation in terms of punishments.
“The Citizens need to understand the provisions of the law. They need to know that when you rape someone for instance this is what the law in the state says concerning such issues. The people that are going to prosecute offenders also need to understand the provisions of the law.
Mr Adebowale Olorunmola also said there was the need to harmonise the different laws in the states as the VAPP Act was enacted to strengthen all the existing laws of sexual and gender-based violence laws in the states.
The validation of policy briefs and page analysis for advancing the implementation of the VAPP Act was conducted in two focal states in each of the six geo-political zones.
Reporting by Azizatu Sani; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino