Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill Passes Second Reading in Kogi Assembly

The Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill has passed second reading in the Kogi State House of Assembly.

The VAPP bill was first introduced in the hallowed chamber on 3rd December, 2019 and subsequently read for the first time by the Clerk of the House, Alhaji Ibrahim Isah-Amoka.

The bill, which is a private member bill, was sponsored by the Member representing Adavi State Constituency, Hon. Ibrahim Usman on behalf of the Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI) with support from sister civil society organisations in Kogi State.

In his lead debate, Hon. Usman said the purpose of the bill is to eliminate violence in individual private and public lives, prohibit all forms of violence against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for the victims and punishment to the offenders.

Explaining why the bill should be given express hearing and passage by the lawmakers in the House, Hon. Usman noted that violence is a major catastrophe in our society today and that the need to eliminate such tragedy and protect the victims of violence.

“Violence takes away peace and safety from our homes and the society at large. Physical violence; sexual violence, intimidation, rape, riots, coercing, restraining, grabbing, stalking or cyber stalking are, on the one part, instances of physical attacks against the other or targeted person(s).

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“Psychological violence, on the other part, is used by the offenders as a means of instilling fears in the victims through threatening behaviours, such as damaging property, monitoring victim’s activities, et cetera.”

The proposed legislation, according to the lead debater, is a curbing instrument that would not only specify such behavioural offences constituting violence but providing commensurate punishment thereto as well as vesting Courts with jurisdictions to try cases relating to violence accordingly.

If considered and enacted, Hon. Usman is of the view that the Law will guarantee an improvement in both private and public lives, and will guarantee a decent society, free from violence and insecurity.

“On a lighter note, Mr Speaker, cases of wives beating up their husbands because of a side-chick would be eliminated as this Law will protect us.

“The Bill is structured into 9 parts and arranged in Sections from 1 to 46 and a schedule thereto. Part 1, Sections 1 to 26 of the Bill provide for the offences and punishments for the offenders having clearly and explicitly stated what constitute the offences which among others include: rape, cyber stalking, forceful ejection from home, political violence, riot, deprivation, destruction of property, forced financial dependence, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, spousal battery, harmful traditional practices, harmful widowhood practices, drug abuse and violence by state actors.

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“Part 2, Sections 27 to 38 detail the jurisdictions of the Courts, the administration of the violent cases, protection of victims and right of the victims. Violence against persons (prohibition) law, proposed for enactment by this august Assembly, is to domesticate similar law on violence against person enacted by the National Assembly but with specific reference to offences earlier mentioned.

“An interesting dimension to sexual offence, in this proposed law, is a successful attempt to address contemporary issues regarding sexual offences. While the Kogi State Penal Code, 2019, passed and assented to just last year, gives no possibility for a man to be raped, this bill has taken care of that lacuna in just simple and clear term, ‘a person commits the offence of rape if he or she intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with any other part of his or her body or anything else’. And so are other instances that my limited time would not permit me to cite.

“The Rt. Hon. Speaker and my distinguished honourable colleagues, violence begins at home and extends to the society at large. A child that experiences violence as daily occurrences at home would grow up being a violent person, and extends the violent character to the larger society. Violence has negative effects on the psychological health and mental life as well as the sexual disposition of the victims. It alienates the victims and makes them strangers in their own society.

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“Permit me, the Rt. Hon. Speaker and my distinguished honourable colleagues, to crave your indulgence in giving this Bill your kind consideration and accelerated passage, believing that the citizens of Kogi State would be protected from violence of any form, believing that standards and controls to govern the actions of people and groups in both the public and private spheres would be set by the government when this bill receives your blessings and is transmitted to His Excellency for assent.

“I believe that this bill, if passed into law, would become the most important instruments of government in organizing the society and protecting the good citizens of our dear State, the Kogi State,” Usman added.

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