BAOBAB for Women’s Human Right, a leading rights advocacy group in Nigeria, will hold a two-day workshop for law enforcement agencies in Akure, Ondo State capital, Tuesday, in a bid to educate them to always ensure women gain full access to justice when deprived.
BAOBAB holds the training programme in partnership with the Ondo State Agency against Gender-Based Violence (OSAAGBV), with support from the African Women Development Fund (AWDF).
The aim of the two-day event is to enhance the capacity of participants to understanding the provisions, principles and usage of the law, to protect survivors in their role as first responders in cases of sexual violence.
BAOBAB’s Executive Director, Mrs. Bunmi Dipo-Salami explained that the workshop is a response to the persistent violence on women and the girl child, even in the wake of existing laws prohibiting such acts.
freedom from violence for women and the girl child is an international standard which the Nigerian government followed by enacting the Violence Against Persons, Prohibition, (VAPP) Act in May 2015, aimed to ending violence against persons, particularly women and girls.
Dipo-Salami said that the law aims to “prohibit all forms of violence against persons in private and public life and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims, and punishment of offenders.”
She stressed that the law, which is an improvement on the Penal Code and Criminal Code in relation to violence, is the most comprehensive legislation to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and ensure the rights of survivors, but which has not enjoyed adequate enforcement.
For instance, in Ondo State where the VAPP Law was domesticated in 2021, through the commitment of the state government, BAOBAB said the need to enlighten the enforcement agencies and sensitise women to the workings of the law is germane, to earn effective synergy between them and government.
Although she said the prevailing strategies have resulted in gains for women and the society in general, Dipo-Salami, noted that there are still gaps in the enforcement of the law.
Law enforcement agencies have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that the Ondo VAPP Law is used propitiously to protect and promote women and girls from gender-based violence in the State.
“There is the need to strengthen their capacity on the provisions of the law as the state intensifies efforts at reducing sexual and gender-based violence in the state,” she noted.
The workshop is expected to engage a broad range of stakeholders and partners including personnel of the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Amotekun Corps, Ministry of Women Affairs, OSAA- GBV, persons with disabilities (PWD) and members of the Civil Society Organisations.