21st November, 2011
The LagosÂ State government has declared war on men battering their wives, saying it would, henceforth, prosecute culprits.
To show its seriousness on the matter, the government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, WAPA, in collaboration with the United Nations Funds for Population Activities, UNFPA, held a two-day sensitisation workshop for police, immigration and customs officers on Domestic Violence Law at the Chartered Institute for Personnel Management, CPIM, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
The Deputy Director, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Yinka Adeyemi, who analysed and simplified the contents of the law said domestic violence was not limited to physical injury, but also included marital rape, physical, psychological and economic abuse and hazardous attacks, among others.
According to her, by virtue of the current Domestic Violence Law in Lagos State, it is now an offence to commit the act of violence against anyone and whoever is caught should be reported to the police.
She explained that because of long judicial process, Sections 5 and 6 of the Law provide for protective order for the victims, while the case is being prosecuted in the law court.
The protective order prohibits the respondent from committing further act of violence by entering complainantâ€™s residence, place of work or enlisting the help of other persons to commit domestic violence.
She said that it was regrettable that in spite of the seriousness and criminal nature of domestic violence, cultural beliefs had played down the law and made it less serious, as law enforcement agents often view it as a family affair.
Adeyemi explained that the workshop was organised to sensitise participants on the law and its implementation, as well as the need to treat it with all seriousness.
On the arrest of perpetrators, she explained that the provisions of the law were explicit and that police should arrest with, or without warrant when the offence is committed.
She informed participants that the state government had put necessary legal instruments in place and would not relent until domestic violence is drasticallyÂ reduced in the state.