A bill to amend the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 has scaled second reading before the House of Representatives.
The bill is aimed at prohibiting the discrimination against widows and all forms of repressive and degrading widowhood practices in the country.
Leading the debate on the bill, the sponsor, Sergius Ogun from Edo State expressed concern that in several parts of Nigeria, widows are made to pay heavy penalties for the painful departure of their husbands.
“They are stigmatized, criminalized, denied access to properties and in some cases denied access to their own children for reasons that have no place under any Nigerian law.
” Ogun added.
This bill, when passed according to the lawmaker would be recorded in history as one of the most important legislation passed by this 9th assembly as it would have succeeded in metaphorically giving to the widows in our nation what could be described as the “widows mite.
Passing the second reading of the bill, the House referred it to the Committee on Women Affairs for more legislative action.
The amendment(s) sought are geared towards achieving the following:
Define what constitutes harmful and degrading widowhood practices.
Define what constitutes the rights of widows under the Act.
Prescribe penalties for infractions against the Act.
Reserving the 23rd day of May of every year as a National Day for the prohibition of discrimination against widows, women and girls.
This is to bring the problem of discrimination against widows to National attention.
Saddle the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) with the responsibility of administering the provisions of this bill and organizing events to commemorate the National Day for the Prohibition of discrimination against widows, women and girls as established under section 12 of this Bill.
Reps adopt bill to prohibit repressive Widowhood Practices