16th December, 2021
Governor Hope Uzodimma has signed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill into law.
It was presented to him on Wednesday by Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Kennedy Ibe, accompanied by Principal Officers of the Assembly.
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. It is meant to protect the girl child, the women and even men, it is meant to reduce gender violence to the barest minimum. An all-encompassing law as it covers the girl child, women and men.”
Drawing inference on the genuineness of the bill, 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 lawmen 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: “Nothing is 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.”
Meanwhile, 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 stand out.
While presenting the Bill, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ibe explained that 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 other Related Matters.”
Also, he said the 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.
“VAPP law focuses on globally acceptable deterrents in the form of punishment for offenders and also includes the provision of the financial compensation of the victims. It also categorizes emotional, verbal and physiologically abuses as offences.
“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 incidences of rape were recorded during the lockdown 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, when I was elected.
“But most importantly, the signing of the Bill concedes with the birthday celebration of Barr. (Mrs.) Chioma Uzodimma who has been anxious to see the Bill being signed into law as it is the case in some states.”