Violence Against Women, Children: Lawyers Making Prosecution difficult for Us – Commissioner Laments
By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development, Hafsat Muhammed Baba, has expressed worries over the way some lawyers are handling cases in defense of perpetrators of Violence Against Persons, especially against women and children in the state, thereby making things difficult for their prosecution.
Hafsat, said the action of the lawyers most times gave the perpetrators leeway to evade justice and return home free at the end without serving any jail terms.
The Commissioner, made this known on Friday, when he received members of Women’s Rights Advancements and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), who were in her office on a strategic advocacy visit on the effective implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law in Kaduna State, led by the Project Officer, Barrister Bukola Ajao.
WRAPA, is a non-profit making charitable right based organization, advocating and mobilizing for the promotion, protection and realization of women’s human rights in Nigeria.
The NGO, is implementing a six months project titled: Legal and Social Empowerment Programme for Women’s Rights in Kaduna and Plateau States, a project being funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), coordinated by the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) which took effect in June 2020.
The overall goal of the SOAWR project is to increase and amplify the demand for the implementation of the Women’s Protocol using the instruments of the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law in Kaduna State.
Speaking further, Hafsat Baba, said “among some of the lawyers are parents and they have children. So how will you feel if that is done to your daughter? Some are doing that for their daily income but not at the expense of others, especially children.
She noted that with the dynamics of violence in the state, it has become imperative for the authority in the issue to begin to look at the reason for behind the perpetrators action.
“Why should a father sleep with his daughter? Why would an adult sleep with a three or four months old baby. These are reasonable questions that they have to put into consideration.
“Just like the case in Benue state that the husband beat up his wife that just gave birth four months ago. Normal people do not do that.
“We don’t study the mind of criminals here unlike other climes, they will study you to know what motivates you to violate that right. Another source of concern to us and a big challenge most times are parents.” She added.
The Commissioner, therefore thank WRAPA, for their effort at ensuring the VAP law is effectively implemented in the state, assuring the state government’s commitment to the full implementation.
Earlier in her address, Barrister Ajao, called on the Commissioner to use her position to ensure smooth and full implementation of the law and also use her powers to make a way for WRAPA to meet with the Governor of the State, to table the issue before him.
“We are here to advocate and engage you to push forward for proper implementation of the Law, which requires that an implementation committee is inaugurated.” She said.
She explained that despite signing the law since 2018, not much has been done for it’s implementation, a situation that called for concern for WRAPA, which led to the VAPP implementation campaign.
According to Her, “we have been having strategic meetings to define a critical path way for effective implementation of VAPP law, we had media engagements, we have met with the Director of Public Prosecution.
“The aim of all this is to amplify the existence of this law and other instruments which are not supposed to be meant for the table. We had a 2 day meeting consisting of 12 committee members the honorable commissioner was also there.
“The purpose of that meeting was to map out and also develop a frame work for the estimated budget require for the implementation of the law and we were able to come out with a thematic areas such as; sensitization and awareness on Gender Base Violence
“Capacity straightening the front line institution and personnel. Health, clinical and medical. Law Security and Legal Justice psycho social support for rehabilitation and reintegration.”