Traditional, Faith Leaders to Promote VAPP in Communities

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Traditional and Faith based leaders in Kaduna State on Tuesday commit to promoting the Violence Against Person’s Prohibition (VAPP) law in their various communities through awareness creation and sensitization.

They made the commitment during an engagement meetings with 30 Leaders of Culture and Faith on the Model Laws, tagged: “Role of Leaders of Culture and Faith in the implementation of VAPP Law & GEO Bill”, organized by Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA).

They agreed to work together to push for an effective implementation of the VAPP law and also work to ensure that the Gender Equal Opportunity (GEO) bill is passed by the State Assembly.

The leaders equally pledged to engage other levels of community leaders in other to reach everyone, also women know about to law incase they are violated so can know exactly where to go and get help.

They promised to also distribute the law in the communities, organize advocacy visits to different interests groups to improve on their sensitization using different approaches.

Earlier, some women who were present at the meeting, had blamed some community leaders of covering up issues of abuses and even sometimes blame victims of being the cause of the abuses.

The said “most people do this things in the communities and run to the leaders in their community for cover up and the leaders would ensure they are not exposed. And most times they quickly marry the victims out to the rapists. And the men would divorce them after they have put to bed”

They called for synergy among the religious, traditional leader, CSOs, security agents and the media in tackling issues of violence against women.

WRAPA is implementing a two-year project titled “Legal and Social Empowerment Program on Women’s Rights in Kaduna and Plateau States”, with support from the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF).

This project seeks to achieve the effective implementation of the VAPP ACT and passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill in Kaduna State, which seeks to eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls and promote equal opportunities for beneficiaries of the project intervention, (women and girls).

Facilitator at the meeting, Professor Hawau’u Yusuf told the leaders that to save their communities, they have to go back and let them know of the existence of the law in the interest of the people.

“As community leaders you can actually implement this law, all you need to do is what the law says, when you hear of any issue of abuse in your community, invite everyone involved and let them know what they have done and refer them to the appropriate authority so the law can take it course.” She said.

She noted that laws emanates from religion and that they are dependent on each other and therefore religion and laws can not be separated from the culture.

She charged them to always ensure they involve the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), so as to help dissimilate the information appropriately.

According to the State Project Officer of WRAPA, Barrister Bukola Ajao, the meeting was aimed to “facilitate a community-led and empowered engagement demanding accountability for the implementation of both laws.

“Galvanize community adoption of the VAPP Law and GEO Bill. Enlist the support of leaders of culture and faith in the implementation of the model laws. Collective rational motivated consensus on the innovative roles of cultural and religious leaders in the grassroots implementation of model laws.”


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