Lagos – Goodwill celebrity ambassadors have urged the Federal Government to put in place stiffer penalties for men who batter their wives.
The celebrities, who spoke in Lagos at an awareness campaign against domestic violence, also want men who batter their wives to be tagged criminals.
The campaign against violence directed at women and children, was organised by Project Alert, an NGO.
The campaign followed the death of one Titilayo Arowolo, a member of staff of Skye Bank who was allegedly killed by her husband during a quarrel.
Some of the ambassadors said some months after Titi’s death, no autopsy had yet to be carried out on her remains.
They said that the government was not treating the matter with the seriousness it deserved.
Ms Stella Damasus, said although there was a law against domestic violence in Lagos State, “it is one thing to make laws but it is another thing to enforce the law’’.
“The police have to help us, we take cases to the police and the police will tell us that “it is a domestic affair; it is the husband, we cannot interfere’’.
“The law is there but if we do not have the law enforcement agencies to work with you, there is nothing you can do.
“Project Alert cannot go to the house of a man and say we want to arrest you.
“`So, if they actually sensitise the police force and teach them on how to arrest people, I think the law will be meaningful.
“So it is not just enough for them to say they have passed a law, but without enforcing it.”
Damasus, however, called on the government to support Project Alert and other agencies that take care of women that had been battered and displaced, saying the people hurt the most are not just the women but their children.
Mr Ali Baba, a comedian and actor, also recommended the creation of a public awareness campaign on violence against women just like it was done for refuse disposal on the streets.
“There should be public campaign just like the campaign on throwing of dirt on the road and do not litter the streets, do not put refuse in the gutter, and others.
“There should also be a campaign by government towards that and the fine should be the type that the men will be named and tagged in the sense that if a man is found to be beating his wife, publish it like you publish the names of wanted criminals so that people in his office will know.
According to him, parents are 40 per cent guilty why some women get beaten up because when they find out that their daughters are beaten they tell her to go and endure.
Mr Nelson Eco, the deceased family’s lawyer, said that domestic violence was something that occurred every day.
He said it had to do with the country’s indoctrination and background where women were told to submit to their husbands.
According to him, some men have taken advantage of this to trample upon the rights of the woman to maltreat her.
“It is not just domestic violence against a man and his wife, it is also against the children because when a child is subjected to abuses, that child will become a monster.’’
He, however, called on the police to be proactive in protecting the rights of the woman.
He added that if a woman went to the police station to report that she had been beaten by her husband, the police should not send her away and consider the case a domestic affair. (NAN)