Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has signed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill into law, exiting the club of 19 states long criticised for not domesticating the key human rights law.
Kwara was until now one of the 19 states that had not domesticated the law, which addresses domestic violence and other sociocultural and political issues such as genital mutilation, rape, unlawful restraint, spousal battery, attack with harmful substance, harmful widowhood practices, forced isolation or separation from family and friends, among others.
VAPP is cited as a law to eliminate violence in private and public life, promote maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders in the state and for other connected purposes.
The Governor appended his signature on Thursday night after he received the clean copy of the bill from the House of Assembly delegation led by Speaker Yakubu Danladi Salihu and House Leader Magaji Olawoyin.
The House had on September 28 held a public hearing on the bill.
Commissioner Women Affairs and Social Development Deborah Aremu and the Clerk of the House Hajia Jummai Kperogi also witnessed the signing of the bill.
AbdulRazaq said: “The signing of this Bill takes Kwara out of the former pariah status.
“We are happy to sign it.
“When we go to meetings and conferences, it used to be a stigma for not signing the VAPP Law.
“Now that we have signed it, we can gladly show our face and shout loud that we are one of responsible states that can be counted as responsible citizens (of the world).
“I thank the leadership and members of the ninth Assembly in the state for doing good jobs.
“With the rate you’re going, we are proud of you.
“We are proud of what you are doing and of the diligence of your work.
“The state appreciates you.”
Salihu said the passage and signing of the Bill would improve the rating of the state on its commitments on the protection of its citizens against violence.
“Around August 2020, the Bill on Violence Against Persons Prohibition was sent to the House for scrutiny and passage into law and by the grace of God the House has passed it,” he said.
He added: “House Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development has done a thorough job with the support of the whole house to pass this Bill.
“The Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development and Justice also contributed to the passage of the Bill as well as members of the public through public hearing.
“The First Lady, Mrs. Olufolake AbdulRazaq, also intervened as a mother to ensure the passage of the Bill.
“The law will change a narrative of being among 19 states blacklisted for not signing the VAPP.”