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Kogi Assembly passes VAPP Bill, prescribes life sentence for offenders

Kogi State House of Assembly has passed the state’s Violence Against Persons Prohibitions (VAPP) Bill to provide for the elimination of violence in private and public life, as well as life imprisonment for rapists.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the passage followed the adoption of the report of the joint Committees on Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Judiciary and Justice, on the bill presented at plenary on Monday, in Lokoja.

The report was presented by the Committee on Women Affairs, chairman, Abubakar Tanko Mohammed (APC-Kogi/Koto) and was followed by Clause-by-Clause consideration of the bill by the legislators at the Committee of the Whole.

The Bill provides for the elimination of Violence in Private and Public Life, Prohibition of all Forms of Violence Against Persons, Protection of Victims and Punishment for Offenders in Kogi State and Other Matters Connected therewith 2021.

The Bill also provided for life imprisonment for aiding and abetting  same for the actual offender, upon conviction.

The private bill sponsored by Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI), with support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), was first introduced to the House in 2019, to serve as a legal tool for protection, especially of women and girls, from all forms of violence.

In the lead debate on the bill, Mohammed said it was no longer news that violence and other forms of offences against persons, in public and private life, were at their peak, making life unsafe in the state.

“The purpose of the VAPP Bill is to eliminate violence in our private and public lives, to prohibit all forms of violence against persons and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for the victims and punishment to the offenders.”

He said that towards the off-cycle gubernatorial election in the state, the CPI implemented a project funded by the NDI called Get Out The Vote/Stop Violence Against Women in Politics (GOTV/Stop-VAWIP).

According to him, data collated and analysed by the CPI revealed that 85.7 per cent of the voters fell victim of violence during the governorship election.

“It was further revealed that existing laws in the state did not cover all forms of the offence. That is why perpetrators of violence were not prosecuted and many individuals could not access justice,” he said.

In his ruling, the Speaker, Prince Matthew Kolawole, said the House at the Committee of the Whole considered sections 1-48 of the bill, as well as the Schedule thereto bring to an end, the consideration of the bill.

The Third and Final Reading was read by the Clerk, Alhaji Ibrahim Anika, and was pronounced passed by the Speaker.

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