Aminu Kutama Reports
Monday, November 25 2019 was the day set by the North Normal Campaign to organise standstill demonstrations in various states across Northern Nigeria to encourage State Assemblies to domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP) Bill in their states. The Act, passed in 2015 was necessitated as a result of agitations for protection of persons against different forms of violence which have in recent times become a recurring decimal in Nigeria. Among other things, the Act has strengthened advocacy against rape, female genital mutilation, partner battery by state actors while prohibiting all forms of violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, domestic discrimination against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders.
The demonstrators, clad in orange and black shirts were warmly received by the Assembly. And the Speaker, who was represented by the Clerk to the House of Assembly, Abdullahi Alfa. Alfa, explained that the House is on recess and the Speaker is on official trip abroad but he was very much committed to receiving the demonstrators, “The Rt Honourable Speaker is on official trip abroad, last night I had a lengthy chat with him and he expressed his desire to receive you, but because he is yet to achieve his objective, he asked me to receive you as humanly possible.
The Clerk, who further stressed the House and State Government’s readiness to implementing the Act in Kano, also commended them for their civility, “He commends you for being civil and matured and that the cause for which you are fighting which prohibits violence against persons is not an advocacy that you are alone in, that the whole Assembly and State Government are behind the struggle. He also affirmed that “He also draws your attention to the fact that violence against persons is a cause that concerns everybody, because no one knows who the next victim will be, and because of that he ordered receipt of your message, and finally implores you to maintain the level of maturity you have exhibited, and I assure you that your proposal shall be looked into”.
Addressing Newsmen, the Coordinator North Normal Kano, Sani Muhammad, marked that they organised the demonstration to raise awareness about the VAPP Act, as it “is a bill that does not only raise awareness but also protect the victims, so this bill will provide for the creation of a rehabilitation system for the victims, and only four states have so far domesticated it, and we are out to break the silence and integrate the victims”. Also speaking, another member of the movement, Zainab Nasir Ahmad, pointed that the movement was established to ensure domestication of the Bill, “This is a movement established to ensure the domestication of the bill against Domestic Violence. Everyone sees how all people regardless of size and sex are threatened by this menace, and this bill has been in law since 2015 but has not been fully implemented by many states, so we are here to ask the legislators about the progress so far”.
It now remains to be seen what is the next line of action the Assembly will take regarding the Bill, and if the Honourable House would fulfil its promise of implementing the Bill.
DPH News reports that demonstrations were held simultaneously in Kano, Bauchi, Borno and other States in Northern Nigeria in commemoration with the days of activism normally observed in late November and early December.