Men with widespread allegations of Domestic Violence should be barred from Public Offices – Dr. Akpabio

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Men with widespread allegations of Domestic Violence should be barred from Public Offices – Dr. Akpabio

Dr. Amanim Akpabio of the Faculty of Law, University of Uyo has averred that men with widespread allegations of domestic violence should be barred from holding and contesting public offices.

He said this on Monday, November 6, 2021, during the official flag-off of the Akwa Ibom State Branch of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) week, held at the Judiciary Multipurpose Hall in Uyo.

Dr. Akpabio who was speaking on “Institutional Complacency: The Role of Government, Security Agencies, Religion, Family and Communities in eliminating violence against persons”, was of the opinion that the institutions mentioned were not doing enough to combat domestic violence in the society.

He identified educational and religious institutions; families, communities and the Government as stakeholders in the advocacy against domestic violence, while challenging the government to be more proactive in its measures. “A girl or woman does not need to die before a State of emergency is declared on domestic violence”, he said.

Lamenting the involvement of these stakeholders and security operatives in the dastard act, Dr. Akpabio furthered that those saddled with the responsibility of protecting women and children were the ones violating them, while complacency on all fronts was rapidly increasing.

“It’s high time we stopped feeling calm and satisfied about this norm, and rather speak up for our loved ones”, he said.

Earlier, the State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Ekaette Obot had lauded FIDA for being resolute in its duty of shielding victims of domestic violence. She urged the female lawyers to continue in their duties which she described as a worthy cause, while charging victims of domestic violence to speak up and get help before it becomes too late.

Particularly, she applauded the efforts and resilience of the outgoing FIDA executive officers and appealed for their continuous support for the incoming executive officers.

According to the State Secretary of the body, Arit Udokang Esq, FIDA Akwa Ibom is the first branch of FIDA Nigeria to have established a shelter for women and girls who suffer domestic violence and sexual abuse. The Federation have so far leased and furnished a five bedroom apartment and given shelter to 52 victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence; out of whom two have completed their secondary school and four are still in secondary school.

The organization has also been able to acquire a land to build a shelter and secretariat, as well as a bus for school runs, acquired through the benevolence of Dr. Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel.

Amonsgt other things, FIDA has carried out paralegal training in the three senatorial districts of Akwa Ibom State in partnership with FHI360, Child Protection Network and FIDA, Nigeria.

Notable amongst its achievements is that FIDA has advocated for the passage of the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Law 2020 and has produced 10, 000 copies of the simplified VAPP Law , and translated it into Annang and Ibibio languages.

Moreso, FIDA Akwa Ibom has continued to offer free legal services to her target group, giving pro-bono legal representation, counseling, and mediation in respect of child custody, maintenance and inheritance. The branch also handled widows and women’s disinheritance, domestic violence cases, child molestation and rape.

“In the 3 years of this administration, 1058 cases were received of which 106 were rape cases, 214 domestic violence cases, 78 obnoxious widowhood practices, 35 child molestation/ defilement cases,  47 female child disinheritance, 578 child custody/maintenance cases”, she informed.

“FIDA saw to 22 convictions for rape, 2 landmark cases on female children inheritance, 420 child maintenance and custody judgments, 3 major widowhood obnoxious cases and others which are at various stages in court”, Mrs. Udokang stated.

Earlier while acknowledging the support of their partners in the victories recorded so far, FIDA Chairperson, Mrs. Emem Ette appreciated the rapid responses of public-spirited individuals, organizations and the government towards the success of their aims and objectives. She however appealed for more support from more persons and organizations, noting that much was still left to be done.

The event featured a plenary session with panelists recommending the involvement of more men in the advocacy against Gender-based violence and the media’s access to information on convictions.

At the event was Dr. Glory Essien, the immediate past President of the Medical Women Association (MWAN), Akwa Ibom State Branch who presented a paper on: “Caught in the Crossfire: How Children are affected by Domestic Violence. 

Other attendees were: Hon. Justice Eno Isangedighi, Lady Gloria Etekamba, Dr. Nsekpong Udoh, the keynote Speaker; Commissioner for women Affairs, Dr. Ini Adiakpan amongst others.