20 Things you need to know about #VAPPBill
20 Things You Need to Know about History
By Laz Ude Eze
The rising incidents of rape, killings and various forms of violence against persons in Nigeria have led to an increased advocacy for the speedy passage of Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill () by the National Assembly. I’m so proud to be a leading member Advocates - a group of young Nigerians who are advocating strongly for the passage of this bill and a reform of abortion laws to allow for informed choices in pregnancy cases arising from violent situations such as rape or incest.
First introduced in National Assembly 12 years ago, VAPP Bill has had a chequered history. Here are some bits you may need to know.
1. was 1st presented to NASS as the Violence Against Women (Prohibition) Bill on May 28, 2002.
2. It was sponsored by the then Chair of the House Committee on Women Affairs, Hon. Florence Aya
3. was published in the Legislative Gazette in May 2003, at the tail end of the tenure of the Legislature
4. In 2003, legislative process o was commenced afresh.
5. In commemoration of the 2004 International Women’s Day, a Legislative Consultation on the Bill was held o.
6. The sponsorship base of was also expanded with the support of the then Speaker, Hon. Aminu Bello-Masari and over 45 others
7. In May 2005, Tech Committee on legislative matters and other stakeholders deliberated the modalities for the passage of the
8. It was agreed that the Bill needed to be harmonized with other related Bills on Gender Based Violence and modifications made.
9. In 2006/2007, was however stalled in the face of the turmoil of tenure extension in NASS.
10. In 2008, returned to NASS, the “Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill 2008” was presented to the Senate.
11. The Harmonized was formally presented to the House of Representatives again on 9th December 2009.
12. On 30th June 2010, passed through its first reading in the House of Representatives.
13. The equally passed through its 2nd reading in Feb 2011 but yet again failed to be passed as NASS tenure ended.
14. On the 16th November, 2011, the was re-introduced to the 7th NASS, House of Reps under the lead sponsorship of Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
15. Hon. @abikedabiri had emerged by consensus as new sponsor of on 9th November, 2011; Bill sent for gazette 21st November 2011.
16. was gazetted on the 7th February, 2012; 1st reading on the 8th February 2012; 2nd reading on 21st June, 2012.
17. Third and final reading of the was done in HoR on 14/3/2013 & was then transmitted to the senate for concurrence.
18. has undergone the 1st reading at the senate and the leadership of the senate has assured of speedy consideration.
19. has undergone the 1st reading at the senate in March 2014 and the leadership of the senate through the Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndome-Egba has assured of speedy consideration.
20. has been listed for second Reading multiple times but yet to be read for the second time in the Senate.
If you are bothered by the spate of violence in Nigeria and wants a policy that may help to mitigate it, please lend your voice to the quick passage of and provision for informed choices of women in cases of unwanted pregnancies arising from sexual violence. Pro-Choice is Pro-Life!
Laz Ude Eze is a public health physician, global health ambassador and the Team lead of Advocates. He tweets @donlaz4u
Re: Purported Ban on All Protests on the Chibok
Girls in FCT by Police Commissioner
We are members of the Abuja
Family, a citizens movement advocating for the speedy rescue of the over 200
girls abducted from Chibok Secondary School, Borno state. Ours has been a
single-issue campaign for the safe return of the abducted girls. In the last 34
days we have done so through peaceful daily sit-outs, and some marches to key
governmental actors urging them to act swiftly to rescue the girls from the
Earlier today we received with shock the statement
credited to the FCT Commissioner of Police Joseph Mbu that “…All Protests on
the Chibok Girls is hereby banned with immediate effect…”
We wish to remind the Commissioner of Police Mbu
that he cannot take any action that violates our Constitutionally guaranteed
rights as citizens, particularly our rights to freedom of expression, peaceful
assembly and association, amongst others as enshrined in Chapter Four (Section 40)
of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
We are puzzled about the inconsistencies in the
communication emanating from the Nigerian Police. We recall that on 12th May,
2014, the Nigeria Police Force on its website published a news item with the
title: “Police Not Against Peaceful Assemblies” in which the
Inspector-General of Police, M.D. Abubakar restated the commitment of the
Nigeria Police Force to the protection and enforcement of the fundamental
rights of citizens.
Over the last 34 days, we have been widely
acknowledged, including by the Police and the Federal Government delegation,
which represented President Jonathan at one of our meetings for the peaceful,
disciplined, and decorous manner we have always conducted the activities of our
movement. In consonance with our approach, we shalltomorrow be in court with our
lawyers, Femi Falana SAN to file a suit challenging this purported ban by
In the interim, we shall not hold our sit-out tomorrow 3rdJune,
because we shall be accompanying our lawyers to the Court where we hope to
obtain an immediate restraint on this unconstitutional, undemocratic and
repressive act. Our Movement is legitimate and lawful and cannot be arrested by
the police whose responsibility is to enforce, not betray the law.
We, the members of the Abuja
Family, remain resolute and will persist in using all lawful means
to sustain our peaceful advocacy for the safe rescue of the Chibok Girls. We
therefore encourage all those in Nigeria and other Nations that have similarly
taken a stand for the cause of the girls to continue to do so with the clarion
call: BRING BACK OUR GIRLS, NOW AND ALIVE!!!
Oby Ezekwesili and Hadiza Bala Usman
For the Abuja Family
Note: I’m a member of the Abuja Family; I endorse the
statement above and will continue to stand with the traumatized Chibok
Girls and families.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter - Martin Luther King.
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil but by those who watch them without doing anything - Albert Einstein.