Seye Joseph & Mayowa Adeniran
Violence all around the world has become a daily occurrence that has continued to serve as point of concern to all stakeholders that involve in the amelioration of the effects of violence in the society. Violence and other forms of abuse are most commonly understood as a pattern of behaviour intended to establish and maintain control over family, household members, intimate partners, colleagues, individuals or groups.
According to Gender Index Gap of World Economic Forum, an initiative that capture the magnitude and scope of gender based disparities around the world, Nigeria was ranked 110 out of about 135 countries which means that the country is highly involved in gender based violence.
The National Demographic and Health Survey in 2008 mentioned that violence cuts across all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds which means 28 per cent of women have experienced physical violence – a significant number in a country of almost 170 million, almost half of which are women.
Violence and abuse involve various tactics of subtle manipulation that includes physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, psychological violence, spiritual violence, cultural violence, and verbal abuse, financial abuse which occur frequently and escalate over a period of months or years. In any form, violence and abuse profoundly affect individual health and well-being. The roots of all forms of violence are founded in the many types of inequality which continue to exist and grow in society.
New Initiative for Social Development, (NISD) based in Ekiti with the support of Department for International Development, has called on government of Ogun, Ondo and Oyo state to pass an Act prohibiting violence against persons into law to protect the rights of women and defenseless in the society.
This was made known at a workshop where media officials from media houses both print and electronics across the southwest region were urged to ensure promotion of Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 as they serve as advocates for the masses.
Speaking during the program, the Head and Regional Coordinator of DFID, South West, Lagos office, David Ukagwu said that DFID is interested in supporting the increase in awareness of the Violence against Person Prohibition (VAPP) in South West.
“This is a good law that will help citizens to understand the issue of violence and some of the challenges violence create across the south west and avoid the things that can lead to violence in the society.”
Ukagwu who was optimistic about the whole project said that when the law is domesticated, it will help to reduce violence, the impact of violence, conflict and numerous other challenges that associated with violence in the society.
“It is only two states that have not domesticated the law, so it is essential that all other states in the south west also do the same.”
He also identified the roles of journalists and other stakeholders involved in the proper implementation of the project as what cannot be over emphasized.
“We must get journalists to be engaged in the process to create the awareness, civil society, donors and government to help the passage of the law in the different states assemblies to create awareness for citizens in the South West that there is a law that protects them”, he said.
Also speaking on the importance of the act, the Executive Director of New Initiative for Social Development, Abiodun Oyeleye said that the issue of violence against women across the state in terms of statistical evidence is very high.
He cited the example of South West where there are over 37.1% of women that had been physically abused which has made National Assembly to give the act support after 13 years of advocacy on Violence against Person and Prohibition.
Oyeleye said that the law is a new law that needs to be promoted to protect, defend women and young women in Nigeria.
According to him, “the importance of the workshop is to inform media and to let government know the trends and dimension of violence against women and to put in place a policy and legal frame work to combat the issue of violence against women.
“DFID gave us this support and we are printing over one thousand of the copies of the law. The copies of the law have been distributed to media, federal high court, magistrate court, national library and others”, he stated.
He also mentioned that they want to increase the awareness of the law, bring response to the issue of domestic violence that will bring response from key government institutions to allow the police to work effectively on their job, civil society advocates for the full implementation of the law, media can create awareness, and judiciary can help to implement the law.
Consultant with New Initiative for Social Development, Michael Olaniyan said that the act is an instructive law that protects, prevents and helps the victims to get justice.
“It helps to bring the perpetrators to face the punishment for their offense and also protect potential victims. Protection order of it is high instructive and very useful that we all should take advantage of it”, Olaniyan said.
For the law to be effectively active, Olaniyan said that there will be partnership with police officers from the top to the bottom to ensure that the act is implemented.
“Beyond the legal duty that the police are saddled with, they are also encumbered with the responsibility to ensure moral and social duty in the society. People expect from them that they must protect them. We will engage them, motivate them to ensure that this law is implemented.”