By Hassana Yakubu
Kano – The District Head of Doka in Kaduna Central, Alhaji Bala Tijjani, has expressed concern over the increasing cases of domestic violence in the state.
The traditional ruler spoke in Kano on Saturday at a two-day retreat on Legislative Advocacy Campaign for the adoption of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill, (VAPP).
He advised lawmakers on the need for the speedy passage of the bill in the state considering the increase in the number of cases of domestic violence against all groups of persons in the country.
“Years ago, our parents could comfortably leave us in the care of neighbours without fear. But that has changed now. We now see where our children as young as three years old are being violated on a daily basis.
“This is why, as a traditional voice, I see the need for our lawmakers to ensure the passage of the bill, ” Tijjani, who is also Bunun Zazzau, said.
He said anyone could be vulnerable to violence whether as a child or an adult and urged all to put in efforts to reduce the trend.
Mr Nuhu Goro, the Chairman, Kaduna State House of Assembly Committee on Information and sponsor of the bill, said the retreat was aimed at ensuring that all issues on the matter were addressed before it would pass second reading.
He expressed delight over the turnout of the assembly members at the retreat, saying it showed the level of awareness and resolve to domesticate the Federal Government law in Kaduna State.
“I am happy with the resource persons, as the topics were discussed in such a way that we all understand the need for the law.
“The questions being asked by the members are the kind of sensitive things we want to bring out so that when we are dealing with the bill we will know how to handle issues contained in it.
“We can also consider alternative punitive measures in some instances,” he explained.
Mr Bello Gimi, the member representing Makarfi State Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Finance, described the bill as a necessity.
“The bill is very important looking at the issues raised therein, especially violence against persons irrespective of status.
“The House will look at the bill very well and definitely pass it in Kaduna State, so that it will help curtail domestic violence, which is now on the increase.
Mr Markus Yari, the Chairman, House Committee on Due Process and Sustainable Development Goals, reiterated the need to look at the bill from all angles and ensure its acceptability during the public hearing.
“We will look at it vis-à-vis other existing laws in the state and do the needful. It is not all about making the law but implementation is key,’’ he said.
In a goodwill message, Mr Desmond Esegbabon, Deputy Country Director, National Democratic Institute (NDI), expressed optimism that the bill would receive necessary attention from the lawmakers.
He said NDI was impressed that the retreat took place as planned with an impressive turnout.
“We are to support Gender Awareness Trust (GAT) to see that the objectives of the meeting are achieved.
“It appears issues of violence against persons is becoming rampant, which may be the reason the Federal Government signed the act in 2015.
“We are also supporting the passage of the same bill in Enugu and Bayelsa states as pilot phases,’’ Esegbabon said.
Earlier, Executive Director, GAT, Dr Lydia Umar, said “the need for the state to have VAAP bill was very germane.
“Anyone in Nigeria and our state knows that violence against all groups of persons is on the increase.
“Today is the milestone and the peak of what we are looking forward to. Having a retreat with our honourable members is to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s.’’
According to her, the group wants to provide a platform to resolve contentious issues and seek for inclusion of mutually agreed language that will strengthen chances of the bill getting adopted.”
The retreat was organised by GAT with the support of NDI.