Activist state

Activist Praises Gombe State Legislative Assembly – Voice of Nigeria

Women’s rights activist, Ms. Martha Daniels, has commended the Gombe State Assembly for passing the long-awaited Prohibition of Violence Against Persons Act.

Ms. Daniels, executive director of Advocacy for Children’s Rights Initiative, says that with the passage of the law, there will be justice for the oppressed as well as for children who are raped or abused in the state.

She said rape victims and those who have suffered any form of abuse or violence against them now have hope for justice.

“The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act is not just a law that protects women, it protects every human being. And that’s why when you go to the definition of rape in the law prohibiting violence against persons, it’s expanded, unlike what you find in the penal code or any other law, it’s expanded to even welcome men and children, even boys. because boys are abused these days. So it gives us a glimmer of hope, real hope to see this law domesticated in the state,” Mrs. Daniels said.

Summary of the law
Summarizing the VAPP Act, Ms. Daniels said; “The law is unique because it has expanded the scope of offenses, which now covers areas other than rape, such as forced isolation from friends, forced financial dependence or economic abuse, intimidation, harassment, political offenses as well as emotional, verbal and psychological abuse and abandonment.

“He deals with abandonment, which is very common with us in the North. You know, some men get married and the next time they leave their families for years, and the wife is there to take care of the family and the children. It’s quite huge. It used to be that bullying wasn’t an offence, but now when you bully someone and that person feels hurt or threatened or insecure, that’s also an offence. Marital battery, substance attack, we’ve had cases of acid being poured on women, or women pouring acid or boiling water permitting,” Mrs. Daniels said.

According to her, the law provides for a protection order for victims of abuse and allows the victim to be taken out of the center of violence and to be protected.

Incest and administration of substances with intent to cause harm are other areas covered by the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, which will give more powers to the judiciary, lawyers and competent authorities to seek justice for victims of abuse.

“It will arm the Ministry of State for Women’s Affairs, it will arm activists like us because I can move forward now based on these and I can even reach out, I can report a case of forced eviction and frustrating investigation, which is very common because of the culture of silence we have in the North,” Mrs. Daniels said.

She says; “The VAPP Act protects children subjected to child labor, which falls under the section on abandonment, where young children are sent to work for others as servants and paid a meager sum for their work. It’ is a form of violence on a general remark. So if the communities are doing this, they are violating the rights of the children and we can come to them with this law. This law can hunt them to stop what they are doing. The law does not does not provide that children must work. This discourages child labor. So this law has also armed, even journalists.

She called on the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, to step up monitoring, raising their voices, and profiling of children in the state.

Ms. Daniels said; “I had a case, I think, a year ago at Federal Low Cost, where I saw a child wandering around, and when you ask, she’ll say, I’m from south of Gombe, around the axis by Filia. And these underage children, NAPTIP has a lot of profiling to do. I advise them to do a lot of investigations like we did in the case of Barema, that they go underground to do investigations like this and that they keep their eyes open for problems.

She commended the Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya, for his efforts to ensure that the bill was passed, calling on the governor to endorse the law.

Ms Daniels also called on the public in Gombe State to support the government and ensure that perpetrators of gender-based violence are not protected but face the wrath of the law.

The activist said the bill had a few setbacks, where state stakeholders perceived the law as importing a foreign way of life onto them, but that with advocacy and enlightenment , they were able to understand the law and its benefits to society. and given their support for its enactment.

She says; “They think it’s an imported law, and we’re trying to impose something foreign on the people. Again they believe the punishment is beyond human we are tampering with the nature and act of God such as the original castration law for rape and tube cutting where the woman is found in lack. Most of our traditional and religious leaders did not have access to the law. They didn’t know the content of the law, so they thought it was something foreign that we were imposing on the people. However, after the intervention of Ipas, and following what has been done in the past and by UNFPA and EVA supported to undertake the project.