As part of measures aimed at creating awareness on the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law otherwise known as VAAP, a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations have embarked on aggressive sensitization campaigns in Cross River State.
The public enlightenment exercise spearheaded by Safeguarding Against Violence Abuse and Exploitations of Women and Girls Initiative SAVE is intended to inform and educate the public on the provisions of the law which was assented to by Governor Ben Ayade last December.
Speaking at the flagged off, the State Coordinator of SAVE in Cross River Mrs Margaret Udo disclosed that the event is meant to acquaint the masses with the detailed provisions of the laws in order to curtail all manner of abuse and injustices prevalent in the society irrespective of gender.
She described the VAAP Law as a comprehensive package carefully tailored towards addressing diverse gender and sexual based violence through provisions for sex offenders registry, stiffer penalties for convicts as well as compensation for survivors
According to her, other high points of the new law includes protection of rights of a spouse to property acquired in the course of a legally contracted marriage in event of separation or outright divorce.
Mrs Udo who is also the Human Resource Manager of Girls Power Initiative, the implementing partners for SAVE programmes in Cross River State revealed that the event which is being replicated in Akwa Ibom Abuja, Imo and Lagos States involved special media programmes, interactions with major stakeholders across religious and traditional institutions, students as well market and transport unions for optimum impact
Speaking, the coordinator, Coalition for Gender Justice Promotion Mr Arikpo William said the public awareness option has become imperative since ignorance will not be accepted as an excuse for perpetuators.
He stated that the event was also designed to mark the International Women’s Day celebrated globally to acknowledge the immense contributions of women in building an egalitarian society.
In her remark, Comrade Ukeme Ekong of Onyx Foundation Africa opined that the rally was needed to intimate potential sex offenders of the bleak future awaiting convicts to serve as a deterrent.
In her remark, the chairperson of Limam Iwara Foundation Mrs Jane Iwara lauded the State House of Assembly for a thorough job noting that the law was carefully drafted to curtail the menace of gender and sexual based violence which has recently assumed phenomenal height.
Highpoints of the event featured presentation of copies of the law and interaction with traders at the popular Mbukpa Market in Calabar South Local Government of Cross River State.