…as Makinde, wife, speaker, lawmaker bag award
By Adeola Badru
Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) law has begun operation in Oyo State henceforth.
The law which stipulates sanctions for violators of all forms of Gender-Based Violence was presented to the members of the public on Wednesday.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to Governor Seyi Makinde; his wife, Mrs Tamunominini; Speaker Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin and the only female lawmaker in the Assembly, Mrs Olawunmi Oladeji, who sponsored the bill.
The dignitaries were honoured on account of the roles they played all through the processes of the law to ensure its enactment and final gazetting.
The public presentation and stakeholders engagement held at Bon Hotel, Ibadan was sponsored by Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) with funding by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
In her remarks, Mrs Makinde said the VAPP law was basically put in place to protect the right of women, children and all vulnerable people irrespective of gender.
She said the law was presented to the people of the state so that likely violators can be aware of its existence, content and punishment.
According to the wife of the Governor, the law can now be used to punish anyone who violates the right of another, warning that violators would be prosecuted accordingly.
Mrs Makinde maintained that Oyo, being a pacesetter is one of the first few states to have begun implementation of the law, saying that the format of the law in the state has been adopted by other states.
She said: “This law is made to address all forms of violence, I want to urge our people to always speak out and not be afraid against any form of violence.”
Also in his remarks, Speaker of the Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin said the law would eliminate violence in the private and public life of the people of the state as well as close up the gender parity gap in the law.
“The Oyo State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Law, 2021 is a Law to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of Violence Against Persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders and for related matters.”
“The purpose of the VAPP Law, 2021 (VAPP) is to reduce the equality gap between all genders as well as cut down the country’s very high incidence of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) which disproportionately affects women ad girls.”
“The Law also redefines rape and is the first Nigerian Law to recognise that rape can involve male victims. In addition the Oyo State VAPP Law, 2021 provides a legal framework that protects victims of Female Genital Mutilation, denial of inheritance and succession rights, forced marriage among others.”
“The VAPP Law, 2021 is very comprehensive and serves as a benchmark for offences such as rape. The Law is an improvement on the penal code in relation to violence is it makes provisions for compensation for victims as well as protection of their rights.”
The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, lamented that Gender-Based Violence has continued to undermine the right of women and girls across the country which Oyo State is not exceptional.
He said the minimum penalty for violators has been included in the VAPP law, commending efforts of the state governor and all stakeholders for making the law come into the limelight.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Mrs Kafilat Olayiwola, who was represented by Mrs Oluyemisi Olakayode, described the new law as a milestone achievement towards ensuring the right of women and girls are protected in the state.
She, however, said the ministry will create awareness and sensitise the people to know that their right to survival, protection and participation is guaranteed.
In his remarks, the Country Director, WFD, Mr Adebowale Olorunmola, traced the journey of the passage of the law commending the state government and all stakeholders for the cooperation at seeing through the process of the law.
He said the state has gotten to the last stage which is the public presentation and enforcement, noting that some states stopped at the point of passage and assent.
He added that the execution of the law would not have been possible in Oyo state without the law being gazetted, urging all the stakeholders to work together as a team for effectiveness.
The coordinator, Sexual and Gender-Based Response Team (SGBVRT), Mrs Dupe Awosemusi said that enactment of the new law shows another outstanding achievement of the administration of governor Seyi Makinde.
The SGBVRT Coordinator however said that the law would help to curb Gender-Based Violence for the purpose of well being of people in the state.