Uzodimma signs Violence Against Persons Prohibition bill into law
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has signed the on Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill into law following its passage by the 27-member House of Assembly some months ago amid objections from some quarters.
The governor’s wife, Chioma; Speaker, House of Assembly, Kennedy Ibe; Deputy Speaker, Amara Iwuanyanwu; Majority Leader, Kanayo Dele Onyemechi; Chief Whip, Chigozie Nwaneri; Secretary to the State Government, Cosmas Iwu and Chief of Staff, Nnamdi Anyaehie, among other top government officials witnessed the signing ceremony at the Government House, Owerri.
However, a doctor of neurology, Dr. Philip Njemanze and Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Dr. Anthony Obinna, raised objections to some sections of the law, arguing that it will promote same sex marriage, violate cultural norms and encourage women to start contesting traditional stools, among others.
Njemanze had written a letter to the governor, before he (Uzodimma) signed the bill into law, giving reasons why he should have discarded the bill.
But Uzodimma’s wife commended her husband for the bold step in studying the bill over time before signing it into law, saying that it would restore sanity and dignity of the human life in the state.
“The protection of the girl child, women and even the male folk will be a priority of the government. Already, the state government has initiated a lot of activities through the Ministry of Gender and Vulnerable Group to alleviating the plight of victims by empowering them with skills, trade and education to better their lives,” she said.
On his part, Uzodimma described the occasion as “an auspicious one, coming at a time when the girl-child and women face a lot of sexual abuse and violent attacks.
The law is meant to protect the girl-child, the women and even men, as well as reduce gender-based violence to the lowest level.”
He commended the Speaker and members of the House of Assembly for their pro-activeness in making quality laws, especially on burning national issues, which he said, had made Imo State unique.
Responding, Ibe explained that the act is titled: A Law to Eliminate Violence in Private and Public Life, Prohibit All Forms of Violence Against Persons And Provide Maximum Protection And Effective Remedies For Victims And Punishment Of Offenders And Other Related Matters.
“The VAPP law covers various laws of violence but particularly emphasizes gender and sexual based violence. It also redefines rape and recognizes that rape can involve male victims.
“It focuses on globally acceptable deterrents in the form of punishment for offenders and provision of the financial compensation for victims and also categorises emotional, verbal and physiologically abuse as offenses,” he said.