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Bayelsa State House of Assembly restates commitment to make citizens friendly laws .Royal father cautions against shabby manner of enforcement of laws

 By Inegbagha Majesty

   As part of its statutory duty, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly has restated its commitment to make citizens friendly laws that would have direct bearing on the lives of the people to enhance peace and the good governance of the state. 
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Centtre is Hon (High Chief) Barr Macdonald Igbadiwei

   The Chairman House Committee on Justice and Judiciary, Hon (High Chief) Barr Macdonald Igbadiwei made the assertion in his opening remarks during a public hearing on violence against persons (prohibition) Bill, 2020, jointly organised by his committee and its Gender counterpart at the Assembly complex in Yenagoa.
  The lawmaker expressed the determination of the 6th Assembly to carry the people of the state along in the law making process of the house for the state.
  His words: “All of you are here for a single purpose. If you make laws and you don’t have the citizens input; then that law can be draconian because as an initiator you want to make laws that would suit your purpose.”
 I welcome all of you. Our business here today is very simple. Simple in the sense that the 6th Assembly has decided to bring a law to the society that will prohibit some violence actions against fellow human beings. That is why we are here.”
   He called on the various stakeholders to thoroughly examine the bill, make observations and objective contributions so that the bill when pass into law will be a good law for all.
  Hon Igbadiwei also urged the public to submit written memorandum concerning the bill to the House Committee’s Secretary for its consideration. 
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 Highlighting the bill, the sponsor and member representing Ekeremor Constituency I, Hon (Barr.) Tare Porri said the bill seeks to eliminate violence in private and public life, and provide maximum protection and effective remedies of victims as well as punishment of offenders.
   He added that it tend to prohibit and criminalize such acts like rape, physical injury, female genital mutilation, psychological abuse and political violence.
   According to him the bill also seeks to deal with issues of speedy dispensation of justice and to protect the society from crimes.
   The lawmaker further affirmed that the bill will as well deal with issues on forceful eviction from home, protection of husband and wife, harmful traditional practices and force separation of family amongst others.
   In his contribution, the state Chairman of Traditional Rulers Council, King Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, called for adequate punishment and fine for the perpetrators of rape, female genital mutilation, kidnapping and under age marriage in order to discourage the current trend.
  The Royal father who spoke through the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Clan, King Bubaraye Dakolo, Agada IV appealed to security agencies in the state particularly the Gender Section of the police force to embark on adequate enforcement of the laws devoid of corruption, self-enrichment, improper investigations and mutilation of evidence in order to allow justice to prevail.
  The Traditional Ruler lamented over the shabby manner of enforcement of laws in the state through bribe and mutilation of evidence which extremely frustrate judges to punish crime perpetrators.
  “A law is as good as having enforcement. If enforcement is sleeping you have no law,” he stated. 
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  Also in his comment on the bill, the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Chapter of the Civil Liberty organization, Alabo Nengi James called for proper review of section 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 18 of the bill with eagle eyes by assessing its consequences before passage to ensure fairness and justice.
  He suggested the need to provide the right of the offender and his or her right to legal services in the bill.
  James further called for provision for alternative dispute resolution by traditional rulers, adding that the bill should not be lopsided for males alone but for both gender.
  Alabo James urged the committee to also take cognizance of Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution as amended A, B and C, and section 17 of 3F of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended as well as international protocols and conventions which Nigeria is a signatory. 
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  Various stakeholders including the Chairman House Committee on Gender, Hon Naomi Benjamin Ogoli, Solitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, the representatives of the Bench and the Bar, FIDA and among others spoke at the event.

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