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Gov. Bala moves against gender-based violence, regrets granting pardon to rapist

BAUCHI, Nigeria – The State governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, has read the Riot Act to perpetrators of gender-based violence and rapists in the state, warning that anyone found guilty of the acts will be punished accordingly. He also apologised to Bauchi women for mistakenly granting pardon to a rapist.

The governor read the Act on Tuesday evening when he received members of the Bauchi State Action Committee on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, led by the governor’s wife, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed, who paid him an advocacy visit at the Government House, Bauchi.

According to the governor, with the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act operational in the state, anyone caught perpetrating gender violence or rape will be subjected to the provisions of the law.

He added that his administration will not grant pardon to those found guilty of gender-based violence and rape. This, he said, will serve as deterrent to others.

Governor Mohammed submitted that the formation of the Bauchi State Action Committee on Sexual and Gender Based Violence was timely.

The committee, the governor noted, will sensitize the people of the state across its length and breadth on the dangers associated with sexual and gender-based violence.

He stated that sexual and gender-based violence have become a scourge not only in the state but also across the country and expressed gratitude to the state House of Assembly for enacting the VAAP Act.

“I have listened with a lot of interest to the address of my dear wife on very important issues of violence against women, violence against the vulnerable. I think this is a very good initiative.

“I must once again thank the state House of Assembly for coming up with VAPP Law. This has become a scourge in Nigeria, not only in Bauchi,” Governor Mohammed said.

He noted with satisfaction that the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act has enumerated what is needed to be done to protect victims of sexual and gender based violence.

Apparently referring to a rapist caught last week who confessed to have been granted pardon by the state government for a similar offense for which he was convicted and sentenced to jail, Governor Mohammed apologized to the state womenfolk for the pardon granted unknowingly.

He assured that his administration will do everything possible to protect women and children in the state, declaring that his state will be in the forefront in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence.

“I apologise to our women folks for the recent pardon extended unknowingly to one of the rapists in Bauchi. We will never pardon anyone found guilty of this grievous offense.

“I am happy with the advocacy set up by my dear wife because I believe that is the only way to go.

“We will do everything possible to protect our women folks and children. Bauchi will be at the forefront in fighting the menace,” the governor declared.

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