The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called on its members to domesticate the Child Rights Act, updated Penal Code, and Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act.
The charge was contained in a communique issued at the end of the 10th COVID-19 teleconference of members of the Forum which held on Wednesday.
According to the communiqué the governors resolved to declare a state of emergency on sexual and gender-based violence.
The read communiqué in part:
‘‘ Governors strongly condemned all forms of violence against women and children and committed to ensuring that offenders face the maximum weight of the law; call on State Governors that have not already domesticated relevant gender-based protection laws to domesticate the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, the Child Rights Act, and the updated Penal Code to increase protection for women and children and ensure speedy investigation and prosecution of perpetrators in addition to creating a ‘sex offenders register’ in each State to name and shame.’’
‘‘Invite the Commissioners of Police to provide a detailed report on the actions taken to strengthen their response to sexual and gender-based violence through the Family Support Units and Force Gender Units at the State and Local Government levels. Governors will commit additional funding for the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence through appropriate Ministries, Departments, and Agencies’’
The NGF in the communiqué also reiterate the position of members that the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 takes into account the crucial role of State Governments within Nigeria’s federal system in responding to pandemics in the country.
It read further:
‘‘Specifically, State Governors should be conferred with the powers, among others to, declare any place within their State an infected area; make regulations and directives towards prevention and further spread of an infectious disease within the State; establish States’ Centres for Disease Control; the discretionary powers of Mr. President and the Director-General as contained in the proposed Bill should be reviewed; Finally, while cautioning on certain human rights violations in the proposed Bill, Governors also highlighted potential contraventions with the Nigerian Constitution.’’
It also charges members to agree with the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) to prioritise government’s response in hotspots across the country urged each State government to develop a strategy for opening its economy based on the guidelines agreed to by the PTF and the NGF.