On 20 December 2020, Yobe State became the 19th state in the Nigerian federation to adopt the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act. This followed the passage of the bill through the Yobe State House of Assembly. Once assented by the Executive Governor, the bill will become law.
Since the passage of the legislation by the Nigerian National Assembly in 2015, states in the federation have been slow to domesticate the law, which is aimed at tackling sexual and gender-based violence as well as other forms of violence against persons. The non-domestication of the VAPP has hindered the prosecution and conviction of sexual offenders, creating an environment of impunity and reinforcing the culture of silence.
The absence of this law in the state was a major concern of stakeholders who participated in a policy dialogue on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) organised by the Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) Programme in Damaturu in January 2020. Against this background, MCN supported advocacy by the Yobe State Steering Committee of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) to engage with the legislators on the domestication of the VAPP.
Following the interest of the state legislature, MCN supported a stakeholder workshop, which reviewed the VAPP Bill and adapted it to the Yobe context. The programme provided technical assistance to the relevant committee of the House of Assembly and supported the participation of civil society and interested community members in the public hearing organised by the House of Assembly.
The passage of the VAPP Act is a clear demonstration of the commitment of the leadership of the state to address SGBV. Yobe State is the second in the North East region and sixth state in Northern Nigeria to domesticate the VAPP.
“Rape is becoming rampant not just in Yobe and Nigeria, but the entire world. We in Yobe feel it is necessary to do all we can to curtail the menace.”
Hon. Buba Kalallawa, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, Yobe State House of Assembly