The Actionaid Nigeria has urged the Kwara House of Assembly to expeditiously pass the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill before it to ensure maximum protection for individuals.
Mrs Nkechi Ilochi-Omokedo, Women Rights Programme Manager, Actionaid Nigeria made the call on Wednesday in Ilorin.
Ilochi-Omokedo had led a team of the Actionaid’s partner in the state, Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOHWOC) on courtesy calls on the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and the Ministry of Women Affairs.
The VAPP bill, she said, if passed into law, would give individuals, the opportunity to live without any fear or favour.
She explained that the bill, which has passed first and second reading at the plenary, “is at the committee stage awaiting a public hearing’’.
The programme manager explained that the Actionaid Nigeria had been in working partnership with many NGOs in the state over the last 12 years to ensure and protect the rights of women.
She presented a letter to the Speaker, commending him for working to ensure the safety of children and women in the state.
“Actionaid is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that works around governance and women rights and women rights is at the centre of it all.
Responding, Mallam Danladi Salihu, the Speaker of the Kwara House of Assembly, assured the team that the bill would be passed soonest.
Salihu said that the House Committee on Women Affairs would have conducted a public hearing of the bill “but for the ongoing recess at the state House of Assembly’’.
He advised the team to always keep in touch with the committee to make input during the hearing.
The speaker, who reiterated the role of women in home and national building, reiterated the need to protect the folks.
“If not for recess, the House of Assembly would have staged the public hearing.
“This assembly is ready to give desired legislative support to women and work on any bill to protect their rights.
He advised gender based NGOs to encourage women to vie for posts in the forthcoming local government election in the state.
Ilochi-Omokedo, who had earlier led the team on a similar call to the state Ministry for Women Affairs, commended the state government for exceeding the 35 per cent affirmative action in the appointment of women into the state executive council.
She urged other states to emulate Kwara on women-friendly initiatives and appointments.
In her speech, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Deborah Aremu, commended the Actionaid and the GLOHWOC for their various interventions in the state.
Aremu applauded the two partners for the rehabilitation of the ‘Shelter Home’, which she said, was to accommodate victims of gender based violence in the state.
She said that the state government was elated by this gesture, stressing the GLOHWOC had been wonderful and helping the ministry in achieving its core mandate through its supports for women.
The commissioner urged donor agencies to equip the place for skill acquisition programme for the inmates of the Shelter Home not to be idle during their stays.
Earlier, Mrs Christy Abayomi-Oluwole, Director, GLOHWOC said that the team was a thank-you-visit to the state for playing a major role on women empowerment.
The visit, she said, would avail the team the opportunity to interact with relevant stakeholders on quick passage and assent to the VAPP bill.
Abayomi-Oluwole said that the state had provided an enabling environment to the NGOs to function efficiently and effectively. (NAN)