The consistent and strategic efforts made by the First Lady of Abia State, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu PhD, in fighting gender based violence have propelled Abia State into international focus.
The United Kingdom Westminister Foundation for Democracy a British government agency dedicated to supporting growth of democracy around the world has rated Abia State as one of the top three states in the country implementing the Violence Against Person Prohibition Law, a law that is operating in the Abia courtesy of Mrs. Ikpeazu’s persuasive advocacy which led to speedy passage and signing of the law in 2019.
The VAPP law has come into force in states across the country, and provides protection from abuse, intimidation, sexual and domestic violence, and redefines rape and molestation and especially provides protection for women, children and vulnerable persons.
Releasing the report in Abuja at a dissemination meeting for stakeholders in GBV prevention and response, the Westminister Foundation which had conducted in-depth studies in the states across the country revealed that contrary to what was previously reported only 16 of 36 states are properly implementing the VAPP law with Abia being one of the top three.
The meeting was attended by First Ladies across the country, commissioners of Women Affairs, legal officers working in GBV, members of GBV Technical Committees from various states of the country, and law enforcement. Driven by the dedication and commitment of Abia First lady, Dr Nkechi Ikpeazu, the several achievements that led to the top ranking of Abia State include the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law, the setting up of a GBV Resource Centre in Abia State, the introduction of a stronger gender desk at state Police Command, the creation of more family courts, the establishment of two shelters for vulnerable women in Aba and Umuahia as well as the inauguration of several bodies that are active in prevention and protection of women and girls from abuse and violence.
Speaking to news men about the development, Chief Press Secretary to the Wife of the Governor Chika Ojiegbe, said it is groundbreaking and historic that a study conducted by agents of a British Government institution had scored Abia very high in its ratings of states where GBV is being fought. He recalled that only recently the African Women Regional Council and the National Council for Women Societies had given Mrs. Ikpeazu an international award for her work in GBV and women empowerment.
“History is recording Mrs. Ikpeazu positively”, said Mr. Ojiegbe “I tell you, Dr. Mrs Ikpeazu is passionate about protecting and empowering women. She is the first wife of governor in the country to have walked into a police station to hold meetings with police commissioner, officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force on the matters of GBV and how the police can work in synergy to achieve results”. “She has empowered thousands of women and still empowering more, providing livelihoods, economic skills, startup capitals, encouraging small women businesses, mentoring young girls and building over 150 houses for mostly women.”“It’s a way of life for her”