By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The non-implementation of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) VAPP law, took a centre stage on Wednesday at a Round Table meeting in Kaduna by critical stakeholders, calling for awareness campaign among the citizens, especially at the grass root.
The Law was domesticated about 4 years ago in Kaduna State, but has not been put into use, hence the interactive meeting, organised by the Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), to find ways towards the full implementation of the law.
Participants at the meeting, drawn from the State Ministry of Justice, the Judiciary, Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, the Police, CSOs and the Media, identified a unified and holistic approach towards finding solutions to the menace of gender-based violence.
The stakeholders stressed the need for a strong synergy among the Ministry of Justice, the Judiciary, Ministry of Human Services and Social Development as well as the Police.
It was suggested that the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development should own the task by championing the sensitization campaign without delay.
Apart from translating the VAPP Law into local languages and the use of Radio, the involvement of traditional and religious leaders is also vital.
The stakeholders expressed the views that most people in the communities, where gender-based violence takes place, are not aware of the existence of the law.
They were informed that already, the police, have been fully kept abreast with the provisions of the law to start diligent prosecution of perpetrators, who sometimes hide under religion or culture to commit the heinous act against women and girls.
The Stakeholders were also told of the high rate of cases including rape involving Minors, but detention facility or remand home is currently not in existence in the State.
Earlier in an address of welcome, Executive Director of Africa Media Development Foundation, Mr. Iliya Kure, said the roundtable was convened to find ways towards, the full implementation of the VAPP law, which has been inactive.
Violence cases against women, he noted, were exponential with several ones even in isolation.
Mr. Kure then enjoined the participants to identify the shortcomings with possible solutions so that violence against women and girls would reduce.
On his part, Rise Up project Manager and Fellow, Mr. Benjamin Maigari gave the overview of the project, which is being carried out in 12 communities of Kaduna North and Kajuru Local Government Areas of the State.
“This is with the involvement of community members called Community-Based Action Volunteers (COMBAV), engaged in surveillance and sensitization.
He noted that lack of prosecution of the perpetrators was not helping matters to deter would be offenders.
The One-year project expected to elapse soon, is funded by Rise Up of the Public Health Institute of John Hopkins University, USA and implemented by the AMDF.