Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
To end this year’s 16 days activism on gender based violence, Neighbourhood Care-Well Foundation, a Christian based nongovernmental organization has concluded a two-day training on gender based violence for media personnel in Calabar, the Cross Rivers state capital.
The training which had different media personnel present, dissected the Violence Against People Prohibition Act, VAPP, an Act which seeks to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders; and for related matters.
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It was also revealed that since 2015, when the National Assembly passed it into law, only thirteen states and the FCT have adopted the VAPP Act out of Nigeria’s 36 States, hence the importance of domesticating the act in Cross River State, pointing out that Sexual gender based violence cases which stood at 91 %, with one fatality recorded in the institution from February to December, has 56% of rape cases between the ages of 5 to 20 years.
Some media personnel who participated in the training expressed delight and urged Cross River state legislature to domesticate the VAPP law to enable victims get justice.
A psychologist, Nyema Dommi who spoke at the training said, “women who go through gender based violence loose their self esteem and their emotional health affected”. She urged them to get help in other not to misplace their aggressions on innocent people who know nothing about their predicament.
Also speaking, Managing Director of Neighbourhood Care-well Foundation said “there is little or nothing the organisation can do without the violence against persons prohibition act been domesticated in the state until then, the penal code and other laws empowers the violation of the right of women”. She however urged for the immediate accent to this law by the state house of assembly.
She said having a safe shelter for victims of gender based violence is a major setback the institution is facing and urged the government to provide a safe place for them in the state. “Our institutions need shelter, all things being equal the state is supposed to provide these a safe place to stay”, she added.
She further said the VAPP law has passed second reading by the 8th Assembly but was faulted by the 9th assembly. “The 8th assembly has passed the VAPP act into law in Cross River, it was awaiting the governor’s executive accent only for the 9th assembly to say that they were not part of the process, but most of them were there, they don’t want to bring history to the future.
“The media as the fourth estate of government has a key role to play in projecting victims of gender based violence by so doing, the different paramilitary parastatal involved steps up their game to stop these menace from escalating”, she highlighted.