Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan has called for the popularisation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, Act to enhance its enlightenment and implementation.
Alhassan, who spoke at a Media Parley to Popularise the Violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, Act, held in Abuja yesterday, said the issue of violence against women has for long been trivialised in Nigeria by both the public and policy makers to the extent that the magnitude of violence is underestimated.
She noted that though the estimate of violence against women derived from small scale research work, case management and monitoring of newspaper reports by various nongovernmental organisations, they are widely considered to be an estimation of the magnitude of violence against the womenfolk.
The Minister expressed optimism that the meeting of stakeholders in strengthening partnership to improve understanding of the magnitude, scale, prevalence and pattern of gender based violence in Nigeria, will enable comprehensive and inclusive response strategy and ensure adequate justice and protection for victims and perpetrators.
“Nigerian women suffer multiple forms of violence including domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, suicide, forced marriage, trafficking and other psychological and financial oppression”.
She therefore commended successful passage of VAPP Act in May, 2015 after 13 years of struggle, and the resilience and participatory posture of coalition actors led by the ministry.
Alhassan then urged religious and traditional rulers as well as the media and CSOs, good willing Nigerians and stakeholders to join in the fight towards ensuring that the VAPP Act is passed, adopted and implemented across all the states of the federation.
Speaking earlier, permanent secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Binta Adamu Bello said the media interaction was in fulfillment of the aspirations of stakeholders to mobilise appropriate response to the VAPP Act signed by the last administration in addressing the various forms of violence against persons and to protect victims in the country.
Represented by Director Women and Gender Affairs, Mrs. Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia, the permanent secretary said the media is expected to set in motion, coordinated engagements and institutional mechanisms to drive coherent implementation of the VAPP Act and thereby increase access of women and girls to its benefits.
The parley was also attended by Secondary School students, representatives of organisations and security agencies including the Police, Prisons, Customs as well as the Judiciary.

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