Bayelsa Assembly passes VAPP Act, endorses life jail for rapists
Bayelsa State House of Assembly, yesterday, passed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill into law after its third reading at plenary.
The passage of the bill will enable the state to domesticate the 2015 VAPP Act of the National Assembly at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and stipulated holistic measures to protect the rights of persons with specific provisions for compensations.
Moving the motion for its third reading and passage, representative of Ekeremor Constituency I, Hon. Tare Porri, said the bill would prohibit violence against persons and provide maximum protection and effective remedies for victims.
Among other provisions, it stipulated that rapists above 14 years of age would get life imprisonment to serve as a deterrent to others.
Speaker of the House, Abraham Ngobere, who presided over plenary, commended members, civil society groups and non-governmental organisations for their contributions to the success of the bill
He blamed the delay in passing the bill on the COVID-19 pandemic, saying: “If signed into, the bill will address the issue of violence against persons in the state.”
The bill provided that offenders below 14 years of age would be liable to a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.
Depriving a person of his right(s), except through a court order, is an offence in law and a court may also award compensation to a victim as may be necessary in the circumstance.
“A person who willfully causes or inflicts physical injury on another person with weapon, substance or object commits an offence and is liable to a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not exceeding seven years or a fine not less than N300, 000,” it stated.
Speaking, Porri expressed satisfaction with the passage of the bill, noting that sexual violence had been a menace in society.
“We are aware that rape is a terrible issue that is affecting our environment. The VAPP law will not only bring an end to rape, but an end to electoral violence. It will bring an end to wife battering and bring succour for victims of sexual violence.
“I assure Bayelsa people that the law, when signed by Governor Douye Diri, will address sexual violence in Bayelsa State,” he said.
Also reacting to the development, the Gender Response Initiative (GRI) commended the lawmakers for passing the bill.
Chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Maria Olodi-Osuma, President of the Do Foundation, Dise Sheila Ogbise, Executive Director, Face Initiative, Inatimi Odio and Chairperson, Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Berezi Perekebina Kimia, applauded the passage of the bill.