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Violence Against Women: Ondo Assembly Seeks Law To Punish Offenders

By Rachael Olokungboye

AKURE – The Ondo State House of Assembly held a-day public hearing on Monday, 8th March 2021, on a bill for a law to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence against persons, and provide for maximum and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders and other related matters in the State.

The Speaker, Mr. Bamidele Oleyelogun while declaring open the public hearing urged the committee members to do justice to the bill for the overall interest of the people of the State especially the women folks.

He stated that it was a very important matter which is always against women. The law of the state will put a stop to this crime against women. The passage of the law will surely assist the tightening of the ugly discipline of rape, domestic violence, and harmful traditional practices, and other related matters within our state. He advised those engaging in these activities to vacate Ondo State.

In the opening speech delivered by the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the bill, Mr. Toluwani Borokini said;

Violence against persons is an everyday reality which requires urgent Government attention to curb the spread of this menace which has quietly eaten deep into our societal values, norms, and cultural values. Violence against persons is the most shameful human rights violation, and perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture, or wealth. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards development and peace.

The recent rampage in cases of violence against persons in the society has stirred the concern of many stakeholders in the society thus bringing to fore the need to domesticate the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.

“Before now, this bill has been passed by the Senate but with few states domesticating it but in recent time, some of our neighboring states such as Ekiti has domesticated the law thus repealing their earlier Gender-Based Violence (Prohibition) Law of 2011, Female Circumcision (Prohibition) Law of 2002 and Widows Right to accommodate latest trends of offenses and punishments.”

“The new VAPP Law passed by Ekiti state caters for the fundamental rights of persons in its entirety to include some barbaric cultural norms which impose an undue burden on person in the society i.e widowhood, female circumcision.”

“Also, the Act provides punishment for slightest offenses like stalking which many would want to overlook or never count as an offense.”

We are replicating this process in Ondo state to show our zero tolerance for crime and this Act is one of the stringent measures in achieving a saner clime. Special thanks to Her Excellency, Wife of the state Governor, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu who has been on her feet fighting for the rights of the Female Child in the state and who has also with keen interest been monitoring the quick passage of the VAAP Act in the state.

With the proper evaluation of the provisions of the law by the House Committee set up for this Bill, concerned Stakeholders in the state and with the general input of the society which will be garnered in this public hearing I can assure of a crime-free society after the passage of this bill.

I want to again appreciate the leadership of the House, the Firstlady, members of the Ad-hoc Committee and other stakeholders whom through their cooperation and inputs we’ve been able to come this far on the VAPP Law.

Meanwhile, Chairman House Committee on Information, Gbenga Omole said, the House was working on another bill on anti-grazing aimed at putting an end to incessant farmers/herders clashes, kidnapping, and other forms of violent attacks on the people of the State.
He added that the House has begun legislative activities with a public hearing on violence against persons and gender-related matters. He also invited the public to an anti-grazing in the state which followed the earlier pronouncement of the Governor to ban miscreant using government forest reserves to perpetrate evil acts that allow for public participation.

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