September 23, 2013

Amend, don’t repeal VAPP law, say Imo women

Women groups in Imo State have called on the Lawmakers not to repeal the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, law signed by Governor Rochas Okorocha in May this year.

Making the call in Owerri  during a joint media chat, the women groups called for amendment of the controversial sections of the law rather than an outright repeal.

They agreed that the law protects women against violence and empowers them in the sense that it gives them the right and privileges they never enjoyed.

The groups include National Council for Women Societies, NCWS, International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, and the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigerian, FOMWAN. Others are Umuadaigbo, St. Priscillia Adventist Church of Nigeria, Joint National Association of Disabled Persons, JNADP, and Mothers’Union of the Anglican Communion.

Chairperson of the NCWS, Mrs. Lois Osueke described the VAPP law as one of the best things Imo State House of Assembly has achieved. “Imo women are saying they should not repeal the law but make amends where necessary so that our children and children’s children will enjoy it,’’ she said.

In the view of Hajia Rakiya Ahmed of FOMWAN, it would not be fair to throw away the whole law because of one clause which expanded the choices for abortion for women who got pregnant through incest, rape and sexual assault.

“Please leave the law the way it is. It is good for us . We know we will keep obeying our husbands till death but we need this law for our protection,” said the State Coordinator of Umuadaigbo Nigeria and in Diaspora, Mrs Mabel Anyiam.

A member of the Catholic Women Organization, Gertrude Iroeme who spoke at another meeting earlier, observed that attempts to repeal the law was an attempt to subject women to perpetual punishment adding that the section on bad widowhood practices should be sustained in order to give respite to women who go through horrors when their husbands die.