Why lawmakers must champion fight against gender-based violence -Kalu

Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has called on legislators at all levels of government to intensify the crusade against gender-based violence.

He also called for the adoption and implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act by some states that were yet to do so to urgently bridge the legislative gap on issues of gender violence.

Kalu made the call in his remarks at the ongoing 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence themed: “Funding and Oversight for VAPP Implementation: A Parliamentary Response to Gender-Based Violence on Friday in Abuja.

The event was organized by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Phase 11) Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative.

Decrying the surge in violence against women, Kalu stated that the lockdown measures in 2020 and the concomitant of economic challenges made it even more difficult for survivors, resulting in an estimated 3,600 cases nationwide.

He however emphasized that all hands must be on deck to address the issue.

He said: “Parliamentarians have a crucial role to play in championing the cause of women and girls, advocating for comprehensive legislative frameworks that address the multifaceted challenges posed by gender-based violence. This summit aims to inspire parliamentarians to not only engage in insightful conversations but also to emerge as champions of change, driving legislative reforms that protect the rights and dignity of women and girls across the nation.

“As Parliamentarians, we have the unique role to legislate, allocate funds, and hold the executive branch accountable for the implementation of laws and policies that prevent and address gender-based violence. We must utilize this power to its fullest extent, ensuring that sufficient resources are allocated to support survivors, raise awareness, and provide the necessary training and capacity building for law enforcement agencies and judicial systems.”

Kalu further stated that parliamentary oversight was crucial in monitoring the implementation of existing laws, identifying gaps, and proposing necessary amendments to strengthening the legal framework.

“We must also prioritize the establishment of specialized committees or task forces dedicated to gender-based violence, ensuring that these issues are consistently on the parliamentary agenda and that progress is monitored on an ongoing basis”, he said.

The Deputy Speaker called for renewed commitment of parliamentarians to the effective implementation of the VAPP Act, emphasizing that it was one of the proactive ways of addressing the issue.

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