By Godwin Edeh
A Non-governmental Organisation, Lawyers Alert, has appealed to the Benue State Government, the state House of Assembly, Civil Society Organisations and other relevant stakeholders on the need for review, sensitisation and subsequent implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law, 2021.
This was made known by the Senior Legal Officer of the NGO, Miss Ozobulu Tochukwu, during a press briefing at the conference hall of the Lawyers Alert.
Miss Tochukwu stated that, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law 2021, which was passed into law alongside Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) could not enjoy the same acceptance and implementation due to lack of awareness and flaws noticed in the law which hampers the effective implementation of the law in the state and appeals for urgent review of the law.
She expressed concern over the incessant violation against persons, especially women, children and the vulnerable in the state despite the presence of the law in the state as they continue to be victims of physical and sexual assaults which is so prevalent in the rural communities and as survivors and victims hardly have access to justice due to limitations and gaps in the implementation of the legislation on VAPP, SARC and SOGP.
According to Miss Tochukwu, issues to be considered for review in the VAPP 2021 include: the operational guidelines for the victims of VAPP, provision of Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), a stand-by committee for the monitoring and effective implementation and establishment of a trust fund for effective prosecution of cases of offenders and treatment of victims.
The NGO also stated the various collaborations, capacity buildings for magistrates and other relevant stakeholders and appealed to the private sector actors to take advantage of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to save the lives of women and the vulnerable in the state.
Lawyers Alert commended Governor Hyacinth Alia for amplifying the relevance of the initiative and signing the Benue State SOGP and SARC.
It would be recalled that, the 8th Benue State Assembly passed into law VAPP 2021 which criminalised all forms of violence against persons and sought to protect the vulnerable in the society which requires review and sensitisation.