The Kogi State House of Assembly has passed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill, which proposes life imprisonment for rapists and their collaborators in the state.
The passage of the bill was sequel to the report of the House Joint Committee on Women Affairs, Poverty Alleviation and Judiciary in which the lawmakers formed a committee to look into the bill clause after clause.
It was gathered that the bill was sponsored by a non-governmental organisation, Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI). Speaking on the passage of the bill, Speaker of the House, Matthew Kolawole, described rape as a grievous offence that should be condemned in its entity.
“The passage of this bill and its assent by the governor will send a strong warning to any one who intends to perpetrate this ungodly act,” he stated.
Reacting to the development, ActionAid Nigeria’s Women’s Rights Manager, Nkechi Ilochi-Omekedo, said: “We are elated that Kogi has joined the league of states with the VAPP Act. We are hopeful that the passage of the bill will translate to real outcomes for the people of the state, especially women and other vulnerable populations.
“ActionAid Nigeria was part of this process by supporting the public hearing process through our partners. We will work with other state actors to ensure it’ implementation.”
Similarly, the Executive Director, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID), Halima Sadiq, described passage of the bill as a milestone achieved in Kogi.
Her words: “After waiting for so long, I thank the government of Kogi for this great achievement. This will serve as a deterrent to citizens and guide their behaviours. I appeal that the content of the bill should be implemented to the letter.”
On her part, the Executive Director of CPI, Eunice Agbogun, stated: “When we challenge the status quo and stereotypes, we achieve results. There couldn’t be a more appropriate theme for the 2021 International Women’s Day ‘I Choose To challenge’. We have chosen to challenge the Kogi State Government and members of the House of Assembly on the VAPP Bill, and we are happy that they’ve listened and have done the needful.”
Meanwhile, the House of Assembly has confirmed Justice Sunday Otu as the substantive Chief Judge of Kogi. His confirmation was done at the floor of the house on Monday where the lawmakers asked him to take a bow and go. However, Otu is expected to retire from service this week.
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