Today, Wednesday, 22 July 2020, CEHRD organized a press briefing at CEHRD secretariat, Port Harcourt. The briefing was to kickstart a media campaign and asking the Governor of River State to assent the VAPP bill into law.
During the reading of the press statement, Mr Styvn Obodoekwe, Director of Programme of CEHRD explained that the VAPP Act provides for the prevention of all forms of violence against persons, especially women and girls. It also prohibits economic abuse, forced isolation and separation from family and friends, substance attack, depriving persons of their liberty, incest, among others. It intends to eliminate violence in private and public life and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims of violence, and also punishment for offenders.
He mentioned that the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act was passed into law by the National Assembly and assented by the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on May 25, 2015. But, after five years of the passage of the law, as at today 22 July 2020, 21 States, including Rivers State are yet to domesticate the VAPP Act.
He decried the increase in violence crimes especially during the lock down due to COVID-19, as the Country witnessed incessant increase in gender-based violence cases across the 36 States of the Country. The Inspector General of Police announced this during his broadcast on recorded gender-based violence in the country of 717 rape cases from January to May 2020.
He commended the Rivers State House of Assembly for the legislative rigours it went through to pass the VAPP Bill in Rivers State.
Concluding on the press release, he said that going forward, CEHRD will engage in sustained campaigns in this frame till the VAPP Bill is assented to in Rivers State and other states in the Niger Delta region. We call on the press, Civil Society Organizations, well-meaning Nigerians to join us in this campaign aimed at making the Governor of Rivers State assent to the VAPP Act, already passed by the State House of Assembly.
The press briefing has in attendance embers of the press, and civil society organisations.