Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has signed the Violence Against Persons (VAP) Bill into law, to address all forms of violence and protect vulnerable members of the society.
Obaseki, who signed the bill in Government House, Benin City, yesterday, said he was aware that the bill touches on fundamental practices among the people, and assured that he did not only sign the bill as formality, but, will ensure it is implemented to the letter.
“We will not stop here by just signing the bill into law, but will commence the much difficult work of implementing it to the letter. This bill is to protect the most vulnerable and weak in our society. As a government, we have aligned with the Federation of Women Lawyer (FIDA)’s purpose and objective and therefore have no hesitation in signing the bill into law,” he said.
Addressing protesters on violence against women, the governor commended them and stressed that the time to change the way society responds to violence against the weak has come.
Obaseki added that his administration is not afraid of change and will embrace it to the fullest.
“I want to appreciate FIDA for their doggedness, leadership and commitment to this cause. I am not sure many other states in the nation has such bills. This bill goes to the core of some of the most pressing issues in society particularly violence against women and other persons.”
Speaker of the House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto, told the governor that the newly-signed VAP law will eliminate violence in private and public life.
“This bill prohibits violence against all persons and provides maximum protection and effective remedy for victims and punishment for offenders and other related matters,” he said. This bill was sent to the EDHA in the Fourth Assembly but suffered a setback. It also suffered a setback in the Fifth Assembly but it was passed in the Sixth Assembly.”
Adjoto commended Obaseki’s wife, Betsy, for her doggedness, dedication and commitment in ensuring that the bill was passed into law.
He said: “If a man beats his wife, he risks two years in prison; if the case is proven. It is now an offence for men to abandon their duties… Female genital mutilation now attracts life imprisonment; without an option of fine.”