BAOBAB for Women’s Human Right, a leading rights advocacy group in Nigeria, is holding a two-day workshop for law enforcement agencies, CSOs and government agencies in Akure, Ondo State capital.
The objectives of the workshop which is organized from October 25 – 26, 2022 are to raise awareness and improve the knowledge of participants on the Ondo State Violence Against Person (Prohibition) Law, and to discuss the role of law enforcement agencies in the effective implementation Law.
The workshop which is organized in partnership with the Ondo State Agency against Gender-Based Violence (OSAA-GBV), with funding support from the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) is expected to enhance women’s access to justice and personal security.
BAOBAB’s Executive Director, Mrs Bunmi Dipo-Salami explained that the workshop is a response to the persistent violence against women and the girl child, even in the wake of existing laws prohibiting such acts.
According to her, freedom from violence for women and the girl child is an international standard which the Nigerian government followed by enacting the Violence Against Persons, Prohibition, (VAPP) Act in May 2015, aimed at ending violence against persons, particularly women and girls.
Dipo-Salami said that the Act aims to “prohibit all forms of violence against persons in private and public life and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims, and punishment of offenders.”
She stressed that the Act, which is an improvement on the Penal Code and Criminal Code in relation to violence, is the most comprehensive legislation to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and ensure the rights of survivors, but which has not enjoyed adequate enforcement.
For instance, in Ondo State where the VAPP Law was domesticated in 2021, through the commitment of the state government, BAOBAB said the need to enlighten law enforcement agencies and sensitise state and non-state actors to the workings of the law is critical in post COVID-19 Nigeria, to engender effective synergy between and among relevant stakeholders.
Although she said the prevailing strategies have resulted in gains for women and the society in general, Dipo-Salami, noted that there are still gaps in the enforcement of the law.
“Law enforcement agencies have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that the Ondo VAPP Law is used propitiously to protect and promote women and girls from gender-based violence in the State.
“There is the need to strengthen their capacity on the provisions of the law as the state intensifies efforts at reducing sexual and gender-based violence in the state,” she noted.
The workshop engages a broad range of stakeholders and partners including personnel of the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Amotekun Corps, Ministry of Women Affairs, OSAA- GBV, persons with disabilities (PWD) and other civil society organizations (CSOs).