South Saharan Social Development Organization has called for domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in Enugu state to end violence against women in the state. The Executive Director made the call during a workshop organized for members of the ‘Sister Guardian Initiative’ and Community Police Committee in Enugu. The Sister Guardian Initiative is a platform where women groups come together and oversee the affairs of other women to overcome incidences of violence. She highlighted how sad it was that violence against women was still rampant in the state despite efforts made to curb it.
However, she expressed optimism that legislation would add impetus to the campaign aimed to end violence against women in the society saying: “The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law was passed last year by the National Assembly but it is yet to be domesticated by some states, including Enugu state. visits were made to the House of Assembly in 2015 to harped on the need but nothing has been done. We used the opportunity to urge the House to do something in order to save women and society. She said that South Saharan was in the forefront of the campaign to end violence against women and girls adding that the NGO would work hard to achieve the goal.
She added, “A battered woman or one constantly under the threat of violence or abuse cannot think effectively for the economic well being of her family, this has massive effects on the state and nation.
“By not speaking out, there would be dearth of data to determine the extent of the problem among us. “Such data will provide the platform for more inclusive and strategic solutions to be pursued toward ending violence against women and girls.” Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Douglas Agbonleni, said that violent against women could be resolved in the state through improved gender equality in all aspects of life.
Agbonleni, who was represented by the officer in-charge of Community Policing in the state, Sgt. Philip Anyiam, warned that the police would deal decisively with perpetrators of the act. Anyiam said: “There is no place for gender inequality, abuse or domestic violence against women in progressive society anywhere in the world. “Even in marriages, some of these abuses are still there. We are urging women to speak out and report these abuses to the police for immediate action.
“The only thing you need to do when it happens is to leave the scene of the incident to a safe place while waiting for help. “Do not clean up or dispose anything that could serve as evidence,” the commissioner of police.” He said that the police command had centres and units that specialised in handling all forms of abuse. He said: “We have the Juvenile and Women Centre and Family Support Units charged with the responsibility of handling these abuses.
“We appeal to victims to come out and make use of these centres to address the issues properly.” The Gender Programme Officer of the South Saharan Social Development Organization, Chinasa Edeh, said that the workshop was meant to strengthen the collaboration with the police to reduce domestic violence in the society.