Gov. Lalong signs VAPP bill into law

Gov. Simon Bako Lalong

Governor of Plateau State Simon Lalong

By Martha Agas

Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has signed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill into law in the state.

The governor, who signed the bill at Government House, Jos, said that the VAPP bill, now a law, would address the issue of violence against persons in Plateau.

He reiterated the commitment of the state government to protection of vulnerable groups, especially women, children and people living with disabilities.

He tasked the Ministry of Information and relevant organisations to conduct grassroots sensitisation on the VAPP law to ensure its smooth implementation.

The Commissioner of Justice, Mr Chrysanthus Ahmadu, described the law as a specialised one, saying “all offences under the VAPP Act will be brought into one legislation.”

He explained that the law has 60 clauses, which are divided into five sections, explaining that offences such as rape will be given life imprisonment.

He further explained that convicts of harmful traditional practices will get a term not less than four years or a fine of not less than N200,000 or both.

He said “the law provides punitive measures for offences such as Forceful Ejection from Home; Forced Financial Dependent and Economic Abuse; Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse; Spousal/Partner battery and Political Violence, among others.

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Lalong had earlier inaugurated members of the Plateau State Judicial Service Commission and described their responsibilities as crucial in ensuring smooth operations of the state judicial system.

He said “this is the body that is saddled with the duty of advising the National Judicial Council on appointments and discipline of judicial officers, including the Chief Judge; Grand Khadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal.

“The commission will also advise the council on the appointment of the President of Customary Court of Appeal; judges of the State High Court, as well as Khadis and judges of Sharia and customary courts of appeal.

“They are to also appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the Registrars, Deputy Registrars of the Courts mentioned above, as well as Magistrates, Judges and members of Area and Customary Courts.

“All other members of staff of the Judicial Service of Plateau State are expected to be supervised by this commission,” he said.

He congratulated the state’s Chief Judge, Mr David Mann, who is also the Chairman of the commission and members on the appointment, saying it was on merit and in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

He urged them to discharge their duties diligently, adding that “you must be independent and treat every matter brought before you with utmost care and honesty.

“Accountability and transparency will also be demanded from you by the society that you have been appointed to serve,” he said.

The governor also inaugurated local government liaison officers of the 17 local government areas of the state.

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