FIDA expresses concern over delayed signing of VAAP bill in Yobe

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Barrister Altine Ibrahim.

Story from Sa’adatu MAINA, Damaturu

The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) on Wednesday expressed concern over the unexplained delay by Governor Mai Mala-Buni of Yobe State to assent to the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAAP) bill earlier passed by the state House of Assembly.

FIDA’s Chairperson in Yobe, Barrister Hajiya Altine Ibrahim, who disclosed this in Damaturu at the opening of an advocacy campaign, noted that assenting to the bill by Governor Buni would go a long way in tackling the upsurge in gender-based violence in the state.

She noted that the bill which was passed by the House in December 2020 is yet to be signed into law by the Governor.

“When we had feminists meeting in Abuja in November, 2020, I remember the bill was at the third reading in the House.

“It was after we returned from the meeting that Gombe started their process. They now have a VAAP law already in force.

“But for our own in Yobe, we don’t know why the Governor is delaying the signing of the all-important law

“We are therefore calling on the governor to hasten signing of this bill to mitigate violence against persons,” Ibrahim said.

The chairperson said the VAAP bill captured rape definition in a more elaborate manner as against what was obtainable in the existing law.

“The VAAP Act is more elaborate as the instrument of committing rape is not just the genital of the man only, it can be other objects.

“The offence is not limited to penetration of a woman, it can be through oral sex or other means.

“It also recognizes that males too can be raped, something that is not available in our existing legal documents.

“There is also a provision for a register for sex offenders to serve as deterrence to anyone who may want to engage in the dastardly act,” she said.

The Yobe Police Commissioner, CP Yahaya Abubakar, said the bill was timely considering the unimaginable types of violence against persons in the state.

He said such crimes were difficult to prevent because they occurred domestically involving family members.

Abubakar, represented by DCP Victor Olaya, expressed optimism that the advocacy would enhance understanding of the bill and the benefits to be derived from it.

The advocacy with the theme: “increasing visibility and popularization of VAAP Act” was attended by government officials, community leaders and civil society organisations.

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