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GBV: State govts urged to enforce child’s right, VAPP acts

The government at the state level has been urged to see to the full implementation of the Child’s Rights Act (CRA) and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) in order to curb any form of violence, especially gender-based violence, in society.

The CRA (2003) is the law that guarantees the rights of all children in Nigeria, and so far, 24 out of 36 states in Nigeria have adopted it as a state law.

On the other hand, the VAPP Act (2015) aims to eliminate violence in private and public life, prohibit all forms of violence against persons, and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment of offenders.

The Executive Director of the FAME Foundation, Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello, called for the implementation of the CRA and VAPP Acts at a sensitization programme tagged “Uniting Boys and Men to Invest Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV)” as part of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international movement to eliminate violence against women and girls marked worldwide between November 25th and December 10th.

Speaking at the programme, which was held on Tuesday at the LEA Primary School in Jabi, Kpadna, Abuja, and Ogunleye-Bello, while calling for the review of the Acts, he called on state governors to see to the full implementation of the law to punish offenders and reduce any form of abuse to the barest minimum.

She stated that children, irrespective of their gender, must be protected from any form of abuse and should be encouraged to report those who take undue advantage of them to concerned authorities for necessary actions.

“There is a Child Rights Act 2003 that is due for review. There is a whole lot that needs to be done for children under the age of 18 in Nigeria. Can we revisit this act and review it? Can we adjust it? Technology has improved so much that we can actually fight for the rights of children. The government can start by revisiting, reviewing, and modifying the existing Child’s Rights Act 2003 in Nigeria.

“There is also the VAPP Act that has also been passed in some states as well. Can we start implementing it? By the time the VAPP Act is implemented and offenders are punished, GBV will be drastically reduced in our society. I call on governors who are yet to sign the VAPP Act in their states to please do so. It will go a long way towards curbing gender-based violence.

“We are in this school today to empower the boy-child. We all listened to what these boys had to say. We have been able to establish that boys too are abused, and they rarely talk about it. We have been able to tell the boys to speak out whenever they are abused by telling their parents, and if the parents are not responsive, they should talk to their teachers and head teachers,” Ogunleye-Bello stated.

The resource persons at the event, Messrs. Tolulope Oguntimehin, Mustapha Mudbiyu, and Usman Mikail, advised the boys to be free with their parents by reporting any form of abuse to them and speaking out whenever they are abused.

The Cooperation Attache, Embassy of France in Nigeria, Mrs. Ketty Regis, and the Head Teacher of the school, Hajia Hauwa Abdulrahman, in their admonitions, said no one must be left behind, saying all hands must be on deck to see to the eradication of GBV as it affects millions of children, families, and communities in every country and transcends cultural, geographic, and economic differences in societies.

More than 50 primary school boys participated in the event.

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