By Fatima Muraina
The Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN) has called for the immediate domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2018 in all the states that are yet to key into giving women and girls sense of social justice and Security from violent and abusive tendencies.
The Network also expressed dissatisfaction at the Global Gag Rule (GGR) reinstated by President Donald Trump of United State of America in 2017, describing it as hurting the women.
These were contained in a Press Release issued at the weekend to commemorate the International Women’s Day and a copy made available to www.theprecisionng.com.
The release, which was jointly signed by the Network’s Chairman and Secretary, Mr Roland Ogbonnaya and Mrs Yinka Shokunbi charged all stakeholders to support the full implementation of VAPP Act in Nigeria through its adoption in all states, to guarantee progress of the women.
The spirit of the VAPP Act, the Network said covers wide range of issues, including spousal battery, forceful ejection from home, female genital mutilation/circumcision, financial dependence and economic abuse, harmful traditional practices, reproductive health rights, substance attacks, political violence and violence by state among others.
“VAPP law provides for comprehensive medical, psychological, sociological and legal assistance by accredited service providers and state agencies with the protection of identities of victims during court trials”.
The release said the chairman of the Association of Advanced Family Planning, Nigeria (AAFPN), Dr. Ejike Orji commended Governor Amosun and Ogun State for adopting the Act in the state.
Orji, according to the release noted that the law, if well enforced will promote the good health of the people especially women and girls who are often the receiving end.
The Executive Director of the Women Advocacy Research and Development Centre, Dr Abiola, Akinyode-Afolabi, in the release said: “Arguably, the tents of violence Against Persons (prohibition) Act, will indeed bring relief and effective remedies to millions of victims who have suffered in silence without recourse to Justice”.
She observed that though several states have similar version of the act passed with law, a total of 23 states are needed to pass the VAPP Act for it to become a national law in the country.
Addressing the consequences of the Global Gag Rule on Sexual and Reproductive health of Women, the Country Director, Ipas Nigeria, Hauwa Shekerau noted that more than 22 million women every year in developing countries will have an unsafe abortion because they lack access to safe, high-quality abortion care.
“It is worse in Nigeria where the law criminalises abortion and women’s access to reproductive health services such as family planning. Contraception is dependant more on donors fund, some of which have had their funds cut due to the GGR because of their involvement in providing abortion services in many countries around the world”, she noted.
According to Shekarau, “the Global Gag Rule will not only hurt abortion access or access to contraception but also other forms of health care.
The violence against persons (prohibition)-VAPP Act 2015 she opined is a law that was borne out of the desire to address the very alarming incidences of gender based violence which addresses the gaps in current laws on violence in private and public spaces, addressing old as well as new forms of violence; establishing institutional mechanisms to prohibit violence and a regulating body for administering the Act’s provisions.
The VAPP Act which was passed by the National Assembly and assented by President Goodluck Jonathan 2015 requires states to adopt the law to make it operational in the states.