VIOLENCE against persons (PROHIBITION) Act of 2015: OFFENSES AND PENALTIES under the Act A BRIEF A SUMMARY
BONAFIDE CHMBERS OF LEGAL CONFORMITY
Lawyers, Consultants and Legal Professionals
The Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 was enacted into law to end violence in both the public and private spheres, restrict any form of violence directed at individuals and to provide effective and efficient remedies for victims, as well as sanctions for offenders, as well as the related issues therewith.This Act is indeed a good thing considering that it clearly criminalizes the various kinds of domestic violence that are becoming a problem in Nigerian households. The Act is however only applicable for Abuja, which is the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. Its National Agency for The Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other related Matters (NAPTIP) is tasked with implementing the requirements of the Act and work with relevant stakeholders , which includes faith-based organizations Chet Stokes.
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja granted through the Act of Parliament shall have the authority to hear and decide on any request made pursuant to the Act.
But it is essential to maintain an ongoing awareness among the public about the law’s provisions to allow Nigerians to be aware of the offenses enacted by the Act in order to act as a deterrent to infraction of the this.
Infractions in the Act
The offenses that are enumerated in the Act are as follows the following:
The first section of the Act defines the term “rape” as the deliberate penetration of the vagina, the anus or mouth of another with the rest of their body, or with anything else, and the person who is being raped does not agree to the penetration, or the consent is obtained with the use of force or intimidation of any kind , or through fear of harm, or through misleading and false representation about how the crime or the application of any substance or ingredient that could alter the desires of the individual. It is essential to know that when rape is perpetrated through a group of individuals and the perpetrators are accountable collectively to a minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment with no the possibility of a fine. In other instances, it is there is a minimum of 12 years of imprisonment is the maximum without possibility of fine.
- Inflicting Physical Injury to an individual
Anyone who intentionally inflicts physical harm on another person with the help of any substance, weapon or object commits an offense and is subject upon conviction to a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding five years or to a fine not more than N100,000.00 or either. Anyone who tries to commit an act of violence, also commits an offense and is subject when convicted to a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding three years , or to pay a penalty of not more than N200,000.00 and both. Anyone who encourages or aids, encourages or advises an individual to commit violence is also guilty of committing an offence and is subject upon conviction to a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding three year or to fine of not more than N200,000.00 and/or both.
iii. Constantly putting a person at risk of physical Injury
Someone who purposefully or intentionally puts another at risk of injury is guilty of an offence. is guilty of an offence. is subject to imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years, or to fines of not more than N200,000.00 and both.. Someone who tries to commit the act of violence is also guilty of an offence and can be punished for conviction to a period of imprisonment not exceeding one an year and a penalty that is not greater than N200,000.00 or the other.
- Offensive Conduct
It is a criminal offence under the Act that a person compel an individual, through threats or force, to engage in any behavior or action, whether sexual or other that is detrimental to the victim’s psychological or physical health. The person who is convicted is subject to imprisonment for a period of not exceeding two years and a penalty that is not greater than N500,000.00 and/or both.
- Prohibition of female Circumcision and Genital Mutilation
This is an exciting development considering that it’s now illegal in Abuja’s Federal Capital Territory Abuja to circumcise any girl, no matter which country she is from. The section 6 in the Act clarifies that circumcision or genital mautilation of the girl child or woman is unlawful. Anyone that performs female circumcision, Genital Mutilation or engages in a relationship with another to perform such circumcision or mutilation is guilty of an offense and is subject upon conviction to a sentence of imprisonment that is not more than 4 years , or to fine that is not greater than N200,000.00 and both. Someone who attempts to carry out the offense that is female circumcision, or genital mutilation commits an offence and can be punished upon conviction to a sentence of imprisonment that is not more than 2 year or to fine of not more than N100,000.00 and both. Anyone who encourages, encourages, or assists another in committing the crime that is female circumcision, mutilation or other genital sexing is guilty of an offense and is subject when convicted to a sentence of imprisonment that is not more than 2 year or to fine of not more than N100,000.00 and/or both.
- A gruelling investigation
The Act creates an offense to anyone who tries to conceal or defraud an offense or hinder the prosecution and investigation of those who violate this Act and any law that is considered a criminal act and is subject upon conviction to a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding three year or to an amount that is not greater than N500,000.00 or either.
vii. Constantly Making False Statements
Any person who willfully gives a false statements that is either oral or written in any judicial proceeding governed by the Act to the purpose of launching an the process of investigation or criminal prosecution pursuant to the Act against another person is guilty of an offense and is subject upon conviction to an amount in the amount of N200, 000.00 or a time of imprisonment of not more than 12 months.
viii. Forceful Expulsion from the Home
It also makes it an offence to forcefully evict your spouse from the house Act is also a way to make it an offence anyone who exiles their spouse from their home or denies the access of his or her spouse. This is an offence and can be punished upon conviction to a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding two months or to an amount that is not greater than N300,000.00 or either. Someone who also tries to forcefully remove their spouse is guilty of an offence and at risk of being sentenced to the maximum of one year of prison or to a fine not exceeding one year or to fines of not more than N200,000.00 or the other. Someone who assist, encourages, or advises someone else to forcefully remove their spouse commits an offence and can be punished when convicted to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one calendar year, or to fine of not more than N200,000.00 or the other.
- A person being denied their liberty
A person who has been denied their liberty is also an offense and carries a penalty of imprisonment not exceeding two years or the maximum fine of N500,000.00 or both on conviction.
- The property is damaged with intent to cause Distress
It’s also a crime to do anything that causes harm, destruction, or mischief to the property of another with the intention of causing or aware that the act is likely create distress and anger for the person who is being harmed. If convicted, the same can lead to the possibility of jail time of not more than 2 years or a fine not over N300,000.00 or both on conviction.
- The Forced Financial Dependence, or Economic Abuse
Someone who causes financial dependence or abuse of another , commits an offense in accordance with the Act. On conviction, a sentence of imprisonment of not more than 2 years or an amount not exceeding N500,000.00 or both are required for this offense.
xii. Isolation, or separation of Family and Friends
The isolation of a person or the removal of another from friends and family is also considered an offense. If found guilty, a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not more than N100,000.00 or both is required for this offense.
xiii. Psychological, emotional and verbal Abuse
Verbal, emotional, and psychological violence against another person is an offense in the Act and, upon conviction, an amount of time in prison of not more than one year, or to a fine of not in excess of N200,000.00 or both are the punishment for this crime.
xiv. Harmful Practices of Widowhood
The person who subjects widows to abusive practices is guilty of an offence and is guilty of a crime and is punished upon conviction with a sentence of not more than 2 years or to a an amount in excess of N500,000.00 or both on the basis of is the prescribed punishment for this crime. The Act is defined as harmful traditional practices as all behaviour, beliefs or practices that negatively impact the rights of girls, women or anyone else. This include harmful practices for widowhood such as the denial of inheritance rights or succession rights female genital mutilation, women’s circumcision. It also includes forced marriages and the forced separation from the family.
- Abandonment of Children, Spouse and other dependents without support
It’s now a crime to do so in the Federal Capital Territory for a person to abandon a spouse or husband, child or another dependent person without food and drink. The punishment for this crime can be as high as 3 years of imprisonment or a an amount not exceeding N500, 000.00 or both.
xvi. Political Violence.
Anyone who engages in politically violent acts is guilty of an offense and is liable upon conviction for an imprisonment term that is not more than four years or an amount of fine not exceeding N500, 000.00 or both. The Act stipulates that political violence can refer to any violent act that is committed in an act of violence that is carried out in the context of activity including elections and that includes violence, such as mugging, thuggery or the using force to disrupt meetings, or the use of weapons that could cause injury or bodily harm. Anyone who attempts to commit the crime of political violence incriminated and can be punished if found guilty to imprisonment for a period of not exceeding two years or fine of not more than N300, 000.00 or both.
xvii. The State Actors’ Violence
The Act provides for the term “State” Actors as a group of individuals that are organized, structured or structured institutions and organizations. State actors who engage in political violence is guilty of an offence and is subject to be sentenced or a sentence of imprisonment up to 4 years, or a fine that is not greater than N1,000,000.00 and/or both.
Based on the provisions that are contained in the Act it can be inferred this law bans female circumcision or genital mautilation and forceful expulsion from the home , and dangerous widowhood practices. The Law also bans inappropriate disclosure of genital organs by individuals and the abandonment of children, spouses, and other dependents, without food or battery, as well as harmful traditional practices.
In actuality, the law has established the legal framework that allows for protection against all kinds that are aimed at vulnerable individuals particularly girls and women. It is an important step in the right direction considering the different types of domestic violence that has become a major issue within the Nigerian society.
In the terms of the Act financial abuse as well as forced isolation and segregation from friends and family as well as substance assaults, which deprive people of their freedom as well as indecent exposure and other indecent exposures are now crimes that are criminalized. If the law is properly implemented, it will be a significant step in reducing, preventing and as much as possible eliminating violence both in public and private life. It provides solutions for those who have suffered from violence, as well as punishment for the perpetrators.