Barr. Sa’adatu Mahmoud is the Financial Secretary of FIDA, Kano and also the Secretary of CARAV Legal Support Group.
In this interview with DPH NEWS, Sa’adatu speaks on Domestic Violence and the status of the Nigerian law in fighting it.
Can you give a definition to domestic violence?
Domestic violence is any form of abuse which can be emotional, physical or economic abuse against a person . It can happen in so many other forms.
Domestic violence can also occur where a parent abandons a child or fails to properly take care of it. Domestic violence has been part of our society. Recently, in modern times we have economic violence which is prevalent.
It is believed by many that domestic violence exists between husband and wife alone. How true is this?
Domestic violence goes beyond the Married people, it can exists between an employer and employee, among students in school, among peers, step mother/father and Step child, among friends and so many other situations.
Who is the major victim of domestic violence and why is it so?
Women and Children are the major victims of domestic violence because they are more vulnerable.
Men take advantage of their physical strength too, but with the recent sensitization of so many women and children, also the awareness on the Laws too is gradually making a positive impact on the vulnerability of women and children to domestic violence.
What’s the status of the Nigerian law in the fight against domestic violence?
We have the Violence Against Persons Protection Act which has been domesticated in some states. The Penal Code in the North also provides for punishment against some forms of violence like Rape, gross indecency, battery and assault. The Constitution also under Chapter Four has enshrined fundamental human rights of all Nigerians protecting amongst other right to life, dignity of human person, right to association, personal liberty and so much more.
How effective have these laws been considering the rate of domestic violence in our society?
To some extent they have been effective especially against Rape and Unnatural Offences.
Lack of Awareness has been a challenge but this has been improving overtime via media reports and sensitizations by several NGOs but they have not been been that effective towards other forms of domestic violence like abandonment, economic abuse, intimate partner violence and other forms of violence.
What are the ways by which domestic violence could be curbed?
In my opinion it goes beyond having laws, change they say begins with oneself so we should collectively mend our relationships with each other be it with a child/woman/man.
Creating awareness is also a means to curb domestic violence.
Men should be against sexism.
People also need to understand that violence can occur verbally through words.