In many African countries, as in other countries around the world, women suffer violence on the basis of their gender. Unfortunately, many countries lack legislation that provide effective protections against gender-based violence. Evidence from Nigeria, including the passage of new legislation at federal and state levels, suggests some progress. How effective such laws will be is yet to be seen. This paper begins the process of investigating the potential for the effectiveness of these new laws by conducting an in-depth analysis of Nigeria’s recently enacted Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015. This examines the relevance of the Act and its significance for issues around violence against women. This critique investigates the provisions of the Act alongside internationally accepted best practices and standards on legislation against gender-based violence. From this analysis, the article identifies gaps within the provisions articulated in the Act. It also examines the place of the VAPP Act amongst the pantheon of extant laws addressing violence against women. It argues that, by itself, the law will have only a limited impact, in part because of its limited geographical reach. This impact can only be moderated by intensive advocacy to ensure that this legislation is adopted by all States in the federation. The paper suggests the next steps after enactment to ensure effective implementation. The article concludes that the enactment of the Act is a positive step, which has the potential to provide effective protections for women against gender-based violence. However, gaps exist in the legislation, which will need to be remedied. Finally, specific actions will need to be taken to move the law from words on paper to active implementation and protection of women from gender-based violence in Nigeria.
Legislating on Violence Against Women: A Critical Analysis of Nigeria's Recent Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015,
DePaul J. Women, Gender & L.
Available at: http://via.library.depaul.edu/jwgl/vol5/iss2/3