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Senate passes violence prohibition bill


SenateTHE Senate yesterday passed into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill, an effort the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at plenary, described as “an achievement,” because it would protect citizens from abuse.

“It is the primary responsibility of the Executive to protect the lives and property of citizens, especially against violence, while ours (Legislature) is to enact laws to support such responsibility,” he explained.

This development puts to rest agitations by civil society groups, including the Legislative Advocacy Coalition on Violence Against Women (LACVAW), Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and IPAS, among others, who have been pushing for the passage of the bill for over 10 years.

Also yesterday, the Senate approved for further legislative work a bill seeking to allow the effective control of desertification. Tagged, The National Agency for the Great Green Wall (Establishment) Bill 2015, bill made several provisions for sustainable control of drought.

Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, who sponsored the bill, explained that its passage is crucial in view of the fact that about 43 percent of Nigeria’s total land area is under the threat of desertification.

He said the development, if not immediately tackled, would have devastating effects on food security, sustainable livelihoods and social security of over 40 million people in the affected communities.

More so, he explained that Nigeria signed the Great Green Wall Convention in 2010 with the specific goal to address land degradation and desertification in the Sahara and Sahel region, involving 11 African countries.

According to Ndoma-Egba, “the thrust of the bill is to provide a Green Wall of trees or Shelter Belts from Kebbi to Borno state, a distance of 1,500km and 15km width to wedge the southward expansion of Sahara Desert and improve land productivity.

“It will enhance food production, reduce rural poverty, minimise social conflict between pastoralists and farmers, with attendant loss of lives and property, which has become quite pervasive in parts of Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states.”

He also raised alarm that desertification has become evident in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara and Yobe states, noting that it is a grave natural challenge.

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