By Caleb Ayansina
ABUJA—NIGERIAN Women have decried the poor attitude of Nigerian Parliamentarians towards addressing Gender Based Violence, GBV, in the country, describing it as ‘insensitive’. They said their attitudes were demonstrated through the lack of commitment exhibited in the passage of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill (VAPP-BILL) in to law.
The National President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, Barr. Hauwa Shekarau alleged that violence against women had no meaning to them (some lawmakers), adding that they were foot-dragging on the VAPPBILL, because they were not directly affected.
Shekarau was speaking at a one day sensitization workshop on Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill for 100 Women organised by the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) in conjunction with the IPAS, in Abuja.
The VAPPBILL is to address various forms of violence against persons particularly women.
She explained that section 55 (1), (d) of the Penal Code applicable in the Northern Nigeria provides a man to chastise his wife (s), adding that the law had Islamic under tones, but it was not being strictly followed as it was laid-down in Islam.
Shekarau, who is also the Senior Policy Advisor for the Interparty Advisory Council (IPAC),emphasized that “this type of law needs to be reviewed; it should not be allowed in a civilized society.”
FIDA Boss maintained that poor judicial response to perpetrators had even made the Gender Based Violence (GBV) goes worse, as the perpetrators glorify themselves, saying “it is just to pay small money for fine, that is if they do anything about it.” According to her, “Women are the victims of this violence; it affects the rich and the poor, the highly educated one and the illiterate. It is a global issue, and this necessitated the VAPP Bill.”
She expressed dismay that the bill passed by the House of Representatives on 14 March 2013 took up to a year before it was transmitted to the Senate for concurrence, adding that nothing had been done since the bill passed through the second reading on the floor of the Upper Chamber on 16 October 2014.
All these setbacks, according to her, depict the seriousness attached to the plights of women in the country.
“What does it takes to transmit a bill that it took a year for the Senate to take it up. Violence against women has no meaning to our lawmakers, because they are not directly affected. “The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on 14 March 2013 and transmitted to the Senate, as we were made to believe after the passage, it passed through the first reading on the floor of the Senate on 15 March 2014. The second reading was on 16 October 2014 and since then, nothing has happened.”
She urged women to demand from politicians, who were coming to seek for their votes, their commitment on the passage of the VAPP Bill.