A non-governmental organisation, New Initiative for Social Development( NISD) in collaboration with The Department for International Development(DFID) has task state governors who are yet to domesticate an act prohibiting violence against persons, particularly women to as a matter of urgency do so in order to protect the rights of women and vulnerable in the society.
The NGO during a workshop organised for journalists and representatives from various media houses, both print and electronics across the South-west encouraged media practitioners to ensure promotion of Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 as they serve as advocate of the masses.
Participants at this workshop were drawn from media organisations from Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti. The resource person was the head of DFID, Lagos office, Mr. David Ukagwu, who was accompanied by his assistant, Mrs. Margret Faboyo.
The Coordinator, NISD, Mr. Abiodun Oyeleye, advocated for mass production of copies of VAPP Act. He regretted the 31.1 per cent statistic evidence of Violence Against Women in South West in 2014, pointing out that “If there is violence women and children suffer most.”
Also the organisation used the workshop to assure its readiness to give technical policy direction and track impacts of whatever project that will improve the livelihood of the people especially women.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the two- day programme, participants observed that the level of importance of the media in the society as well as their role in shaping public perceptions about issues and policies of Government was considered a priority.
The participants further identified ignorance, stigmatisation, lack of family courts, religious concerns and incompetent/untrained public officers as some of the challenges confronting the promotion of violence against persons in Nigeria.
The communiqué stated that at a time like this when a critical component of our society (women) faces difficulties assessing their rights under the Law, the VAPP Act explicitly tells them how and more importantly how protection of victims or potential victims are enhanced through the protection order.
“VAPP Act is a tool for protection against infringements of rights of persons and women in particular which most states in the southwest, particularly, Ogun, Oyo and Ondo are yet to domesticate or have states versions of it.
“The statistics of violence against women in southwest is disturbing and this calls for urgent intervention less we all become victims of it.Therefore sustained Commitment from the media to promoting VAPP Act in their reportage and programming cannot be overemphasized.
“Investigative Journalism though challenging, is the way to go, to follow, report and inform the public on violence cases and related issues.Ignorance, Stigmatization, lack of family courts, religious concerns and incompetent/untrained public officers are among the many challenges confronting the promotion of violence against persons in Nigeria.”
The participants submitted that Synergy with the judiciary, police, civil societies and the media will certainly promote the VAPP Act.