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ADEFULIRE TASKS NASS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW

By NBF News
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By Emmanuel Elebeke
LAGOS - Deputy governor of Lagos State, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, has called on the National Assembly to expedite action  in passing the bill on domestic violence into law.

Adefulire made the call during a two-day discussion and training session on domestic violence law and implementation modalities organised by United Nations and Ministry of Women  Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for senior security officers in Lagos State.

The deputy governor, who was represented, by an assistant director in the  ministry, Adefunke Odutola, regretted that the bill, even after passing through the second reading on the floor of the National Assembly, was still being delayed by the lawmakers, while the incidence of domestic violence abounds.

She said the passage of the bill into law had become imperative, in view of the increasing rate of domestic violence in the country, which allows the perpetrators to go unpunished because of the absence of the enabling laws that could empower  law enforcement agents to prosecute offenders.

She also urged the Federal Government to emulate Lagos State in taking issues of domestic violence and abuse of human rights serious, which she said had since 2007 passed a law guiding such misconducts.

She reiterated the determination of the state government to partner with relevant stakeholders in ensuring smooth implementation of the law through capacity building, training, awareness creation, funding and establishment of counselling centres across the state.

In her presentation, a deputy director in the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender, Mrs. Yinka Adeyemi, described women and children as the most vulnerable group to domestic violence in Nigeria, adding that a lot of women and children are dying in silence of attacks emanating from domestic violence because of ignorance and fear of culture and intimidation, saying that it is only when enabling laws are in place that such victims  would be freed from further violations and maltreatment.

She blamed the police for not paying adequate attention to complains and cases brought to them by victims of DV and urged them to play their role in arresting and arraigning of offenders before the law court.

'In handling any situation on domestic violence, police is key  because it has a dual role of welcoming the victims and referring them to counseling centres. It is evidenced that most police are ignorant of the law in respect of domestic violence,'  she said.

According to her, the new Lagos state law is very relevant and does not assume the position of the nation's criminal law.

Mrs. Adeyemi also charged WAPA to be proactive in setting up counseling cetres around the state the plan by the courts to set up centres, where victims can be attended to.