…Imo State First Lady excited
Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has signed into law the Bill on Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) presented to him Wednesday by Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kennedy Ibe, accompanied by Principal Officers of the Assembly.
It was an exercise that got the Imo State First Lady and wife of the Governor, Barr. (Mrs) Chioma Uzodimma excited hence she full of appreciation to the Imo State House of Assembly for facilitating the processes that led to the eventual assent.
Governor Uzodimma who assented to the Bill in the presence of the First Lady, 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.”
Giving an insight into the content of the bill, the Governor said “it is meant to protect the girl child, the women and even men, it is meant to reduce gender violence to the barest minimum.”
He added: ‘’It is an all encompassing law as it covers the girl child, women and men.”
Drawing inference on the genuineness of the bill Governor Uzodimma highlighted the fact that although women are wont to shout loudest on issues of violence, “at times women equally batter their husbands and with this law men can now open up and reference the law.”
He assuaged the fears of people who don’t have first hand information of the law, noting that: “There is nothing supporting same sex marriage, or abortion. Again nothing in the law violates our tradition, culture and Christian faith. Therefore, those who have such at the back of their mind should drop it and face the reality.”
Governor Uzodimma further informed that the law provides for a data base for all forms of sexual offences either against the girl child, the women or the men and called on all well meaning Nigerians and Imo citizens in particular to make efforts and procure a copy of the law, emphasizing that his administration is determined to provide peaceful environment for everyone.
In emphasizing the importance of the law, Governor Uzodimma explained that “even the Correctional Centre Facilities in their wisdom have developed physiological, emotional and skills acquisition to rehabilitate their inmates and integrate them into the society.”
He thanked the Speaker and members of the State House of Assembly for always being proactive in making quality laws on burning national issues that make Imo State to stand out.
He reiterated the resolve of the executive arm of government to work in synergy with the Legislature and Judiciary to provide Imo people the needed dividends of democracy.
Speaking to newsmen on the assented VAPP Bill, an excited First Lady of Imo State expressed gratitude to the State House of Assembly for bringing it up for the Governor’s assent.
She said she is optimistic that “the protection of the girl child, women and even the male folk will be a priority of the government.”
On government’s plans to rehabilitate and reintegrate victims of violence into the society, the First Lady said “already a lot of activities are ongoing by the State government through the Ministry of Gender and Vulnerable Group to alleviate the problems of victims by empowering them with skills, trade and education to better their lives.”
Earlier while presenting the Bill for assent by the Governor, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ibe explained that the full name of the bill is “a law to eliminate Violence in Private and Public Life, Prohibit all forms of Violence against Persons, and to provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and Punishment of offenders and for other Related Matters.”
Also, he said Violence against Persons Prohibition Bill is in 74 sections and (also known as the VAPP Bill) is a very important legal tool that can help make the State safer for everyone, especially women and girls.
His words: “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.
“The VAPP law focuses on globally acceptable deterrents in the form of punishment for offenders and also includes provision of the financial compensation of the victims. It also categorizes emotional, verbal and physiologically abuse as offenses.
“The bill is timely as the covid-19 pandemic costs a spike in gender and sexual based violence in the State, Nigeria and the world at large. Many incidence of rape were recorded during the lock down therefore, the efforts expended therein to curtail such offences in the future.
“This occasion is very significant as it marks my first official outing as the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly since November 8, 2021 that I was elected.
“But most importantly, the signing of the Bill concedes with the birthday celebration of the wife of the Governor Barr. (Mrs.) Chioma Uzodimma who was present and has been anxious to see the Bill being signed into law as it is the case in some States of the Federation.”
The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Amara Iwuanyanwu, Majority Leader, Rt. Hon. Kanayo Dele Onyemechi, the Chief Whip, Barr. Chigozie Nwaneri, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, the Chief of Staff, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie and other top government functionaries witnessed the signing session.