Oladotun F. Roy
One paramount objective of any nation is the provision of adequate security in ensuring peaceful co-existence of her citizens. And most times, this is achieved through the delivery of viable security services which prohibit violence of any sort. Across the globe, various legislative actions have been applied toward ensuring violence free societies particularly in the last few decades. The reason for this, has been adduced to fact that human beings have more propensity to engage in violent activities in achieving their objectives. It has been proven that application of violence in achieving a purpose, an objective or goal would not only be counterproductive, but causing irreparable damage either to the victim or the supposed noble cause.
Numerous scholars have defined the word ‘violence’ in diverse context. Nevertheless, violence could be described as involving great force or intensity; using excessive physical force. With this simple definition, it is quite evident that violence could inflict an undue pain, and agony resulting in a lifetime trauma particularly when it is against an individual or group of persons in any form. Various forms of violence has identified by various experts such as gender violence, domestic violence, industrial violence, violence against people with Disabilities (PWDs) as well as recently included election violence, which I would say is quite peculiar to sub-Saharan African countries.
It is quite evident that violence of any sort should never be encouraged in any society, which is why legislation against all forms of violence would be of great necessity in ensuring that none of the above mentioned violence is carried out in any form against any individual or group. In most developed nations, such as United Kingdom and United States, violence of any sort is prohibited even against your own immediate families which may include your wife and kids. Should any of them report your violent action or even an attempt, you are in for it. They do not just see violence as serious crime, they also do have viable legislative structure in place particularly against the prohibition of violence amongst their citizens.
In Nigeria, however, the story is quite different from what is obtainable in some other parts of the world. Here, violence is gradually becoming part of our daily routine. It happens everyday, everywhere around us at every minute and it is often done with impunity which makes it even more prevalent. Citizens’ lives are more endangered where violence activities are freely carried out.
To be candid, we have had our fair share of violence as a nation. One cannot measure the negative impacts of numerous perennial violent crisis in Nigeria’s economy since the advent of her democratic system of governance in 1999 till date. Millions of lives have been lost, properties worth billions of Naira damaged. The aftermath of these incessant violence, most of which have been traced to ethno-religious and political are untold pains, depravation and the worst of being increased number of Internally Displaced People. (IDPs). Latest reports has it that, 18,000 Nigerian IDPs currently live in Chad and 9,000 in Cameroon. This is quite disheartening.
Nigerian lawmakers need to as matter of necessity and urgency see how Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill (VAPPBILL) will be enacted just like every other Bill that had been forwarded to the National Assembly, reviewed and gained assent /approval of the Mr President in the past. Already, it has passed through its second reading last year.
I believe when this bill is passed into law would create an appropriate structure for change as regards to ending violence related cases in the country. To be candid, Nigeria is long over due for such Bill, considering the prominent roles we have played and still playing in African Union (AU) and in its decision making.
Furthermore, few NGOs and Civil Society Organisation have been championing this cause, through various campaigns and public lectures trying within their capacities to say ‘No’ to violence of any kind in the Nigerian society, however, if there is no legislative support bill to fight with these efforts may never yield any result, which means violence would persist.
Recently, as part of the efforts on the part of the Nigerian Youth to end all forms of violence most importantly during electioneering activities and election. Ahmed Adamu, a patriotic Nigerian, who is currently the Chairperson, Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) came up with the laudable project called ‘Youth Campaign Against Election Violence’ (Y-CAEV). This campaign was flagged off January 2014 with the sole aim of dissuading the involvement of the Nigerian youth in any sort of electoral violence.
The final step to the implementation of Y-CAEV was done in Feburary, where some CYC-YCEAV Marshals for the 36 states in Nigeria and Ambassadors for Nigeria were appointed. I was one of the CYC Ambassadors for Nigeria appointed on that day, In other words, i am duty-bound to promote peace in every way i deem fit.
All these efforts, I must say are quite commendable however, a lots still need to be done regarding violence against persons. Therefore enactment of VAPPBILL would be right step in the right direction for the Nigerians.
It would equally be expedient for compensation and rehabilitation mechanisms be included in the VAPPBill for the victims and survivors of any sort of violence. This could be in form of damages or fine paid to these people. The approval of VAPbill into the Nigeria polity would not only keep Nigeria, giant of Africa as we often refer to, in that position of setting good example for other Neighouring African Countries, it would also promote peaceful co-existence amongst her citizens.