By Beauty John, LAFIA
ActionAid Nigeria on Thursday, commended the Nasarawa state House of Assembly for enthroning a legislation that will contribute to the safety and security of women, girls and boys in the state.
The Country Director, Mrs Ene Obi gave this commendation during a one-day public hearing on Gender-Based Violence (Prohibition) Bill 2020, Organized by the state House of Assembly in Lafia.
“We commend the Nasarawa State House of Assembly on taking steps toward joining other states to have enabling laws for safety of all persons, especially the vulnerable populations,” she said.
Mrs Obi, who was represented by her Executive Assistant, Barr. Adesuwa Ehinome Iluobe recommended that harmful traditional practices that are still in existence in some parts of the state, should be included in the bill.
“We suggest the inclusion on harmful widowhood practices, early marriage, female genital mutilation, infanticide, honour killing and every other harmful tradition in detail to be explicit,” she stated.
She also suggested that clearer definitions and examples should be included in each section of the bill to do away with ambiguity.
The Country Director of AAN assured of her continued, unalloyed support to the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, the Nasarawa State Government, and the Nigerian government, in the efforts to move the country forward.
Speaker of the Nasarawa state House of Assembly , Rt. Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi who is also the sponsor of the bill said that the purpose of the public hearing is to get inputs from critical stakeholders to put an end to gender based violence in the state.
“Today is a special day for us, special day set aside for women in Nasarawa State.
“What informed the sponsor of the bill, the Rt.Hon Speaker and the House is our desire to see what we can do to stop or reduce the act of gender- based violence to the barest minimum in the state.
“We called you to hear your sincere opinion on how to tackle the menace if not by 100 per cent but to reduce it to the barest minimum in the state.
Balarabe Abdullahi , who was represented by Hon Tanko Tunga, the Majority Leader of the House, explained that the bill is not about rape alone as it covers all forms of gender-based violence.
The speaker, while reiterating that perpetrators of such violent acts must not go unpunished to serve as deterrent to others, appreciated stakeholders for attending the hearing and assured them that their inputs will be critically analyzed and considered.
Earlier, Barr. Mohammed Ibrahim Alkali, the Chairman, Joint Committee on Judiciary and women affairs commended the Rt. Hon Speaker for sponsoring the bill.
He noted that the bill if finally passed and signed into law will address gender-based violence in the state.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Abdulkarim Kana suggested that a committee should be set up to look at related laws for harmonisation.
The commissioner reiterated his readiness to support the assembly in ways necessary that will lead to the success of the bill.
Hajiya Halima Jabiru, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development advocated for stiffer punishment for rapists.
Jabiru opined that castration is not punishment enough for perpetuators of such ungodly acts.
Present at the hearing were, Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN), The Civil Socieities of Nigeria, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the state Ministry of Education among other stakeholders.