By Gabriel Chy Alonta
Following the enactment and passage of Violence Against Persons Provision (VAPP) Act in Anambra state, the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC), has inaugurated the implementation committee to drive the VAPP law in the state.
The event, which took place at Awka, Wednesday, was also aimed at setting up a register for service providers that will provide support for victims of violence, Orient Weekend reports.
The committees inaugurated comprise agencies such as National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigeria Police, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MWCA), Ministries of Justice, and Ministry of Health. Others are Civil Society Organizatins (CSOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), Traditional rulers and other relevant groups.
In a remark, the State Coordinator of RoLAC Programme, Josephine Onah, recalled that RoLAC recently conducted an assessment on the extent of implementation of the VAPP Law in Anambra state and part of the recommendations from the assessment was to support the setting up of a VAPP Implementation Committee as a mechanism to drive the VAPP Law.
She mentioned other supports that RoLAC is giving geared at responding to the need of the VAPP Law as: Establishment of Sexual Assault and Referral Centre at Enugu Ukwu General Hospital, setting up of Sexual Gender Based Violence Response Team and building capacity of varied stakeholders on the knowledge and compliance of the law.
The state coordinator regretted that the knowledge of the law was very low in the state, while calling for massive awareness and use of the Law to address issues for the vulnerable group.
Onah, however, urged the committee to ensure that they work collaboratively with the relevant MDAs to achieve their mandate; adding that through collective efforts, the vulnerable people in the society would begin to reap the benefits of the law.
Speaking during the occasion, the facilitator and founder of Women Action Collective (WACOL), Prof. Joy Ezeilo, thanked RoLAC for their efforts in seeing that VAPP is effectively implemented in the state, while expressing optimism that Anmabra would overcome other states in terms of implementation of the law.
She said the VAPP Coordination Committee would monitor effective implementation of VAPP law and put in place guidelines that would standardise the operations of the service providers, as well as ensure that the services they provide to persons protected under the law are of good quality and in line with international best practice.
“The purpose of the committee is to advance and promote full implementation and enforcement of the VAPP law through undertaking policy development, public education, and registration of service provides, effective monitoring and provision of comprehensive assistance to victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, especially those protected under the VAPP Law of Anambra state”, she said.
Ezeilo, who is the Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, noted that part of the committee’s mandate would be to monitor, evaluate and supervise the implementation of VAPP Law.
According to her, the committee will build capacity and put in place appropriate infrastructure for effective implementation of the VAPP Law.
“They will manage and supervise the operation of the State Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC); Provide shelter (Safe House) or refuge for victims and vulnerable groups protected under the VAPP Law.
“They will also engage in advocacy, public enlightenment campaign and champion with stakeholders the dissemination of the VAPP Law; Registration of service providers and supervision of service providers; issuance and revocation of accreditation of service provider; among others.”
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Dr. Azuka Ofomata, assured that the committee would work in synergy to ensure that the envisaged objectives are achieved.
Some of the committee members, who spoke in a separate interview with this reporter, promised to work assiduously, first to raise the awareness of the VAPP law as well as its’ full implementation in the state.
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