After a thirteen-year sojourn at the National Assembly, the Violence against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Bill was passed by the Senate on 5th May, 2015. It was earlier passed by the House of Representatives on 14th March, 2013. While the bill awaited legislative action, thousands of Nigerians fell victim to various forms of violence and many lost their lives. Now that the bill has been passed by both chambers of the national assembly, harmonized and transmitted to the president, we call on President Goodluck Jonathan to further pen his name in the history books by assenting to it immediately.
Troubled by the sufferings of these victims who hardly ever get justice or support, the #Choice4Life advocates, a group of young Nigerians from diverse ethno-religious and professional backgrounds joined the advocacy for the passage of VAPP bill into law. For the past 13 months that we led the #Choice4Life campaign via social media, television and radio, we observed a high acceptance of thebill by Nigerians.
We believe that it is a pleasant coincidence that the bill got passed at a time many girls and women who are victims of Boko Haram terror are being rescued from captivity in Sambisa Forest. They are victims of physical, emotional and sexual violence and will benefit greatly from the provisions of the bill when assented to.
The VAPP bill provides a robust legal framework needed for justice and rehabilitation of the rescued girls. It will also boost the confidence of the citizens in our country and will serve as a legal protection of citizens against all forms of violence regardless of sex, age, culture, tribe or religion.
We hereby salute the 7th National Assembly for passing this bill into law. We also commend well-meaning Nigerians, organizations and development partners who have championed the cause of this bill for the past 13 years.
By signing this historic bill, Mr President would have written his name in gold as one who gave life to a law that will protect millions of Nigerians particularly the women whom he cares so much about.
#PGEJSignVAPPbill to save lives! God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!
Dr Laz Ude Eze
Team Lead, #Choice4Life Advocates
#Choice4Life Advocates – a team of 54 young Nigerian professionals who promote Women Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights via Social Media.
You can join the conversation on social media by tweeting using the hashtag #PGEJVAPPBill. You can also follow us on Twitter via @StandtoEndRape.