AN APPRAISAL OF THE LAGOS STATE LAW ON THE PROHIBITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The protection against domestic violence is a very crucial issue and is indispensable in the achievement of a safe and serene family and environmental life. Different forms of violence are perpetuated in numerous degrees daily especially against women and children who are usually on the receiving end. It is in recognition of the need to protect against violence and abuses that Lagos State has taken the laudable step of enacting her own Law to provide protection against domestic violence. The fulcrum of this work shall be to appraise the provisions of this law while elucidating upon the nature, impacts and effect of Domestic Violence. The provisions of the law are laudable and commendable and it is suggested that the government embarks upon a more aggressive implementation of the provisions of the law and engage wider publicity and education of all stakeholders on their rights and the need to guard against domestic violence.
Child Rights Act Cap C 15 LFN 2004.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 Cap C23 LFN 2004
Criminal Code Cap C25 LFN 2004
Criminal Procedure Act, CAP. 77 LFN 1990
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Matrimonial Causes Act Cap M 1 LFN 2004
Penal Code Cap P2 LFN 2004
Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003
Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015
Domestic Violence Against Women (Prohibition) Law No.10 of 2004 Cross Rivers
Domestic Violence and Other Related Matters Law of (2006) Jigawa State.
Infringement of a Widow’s Fundamental Rights Law No. 3 of (2005) Enugu State
Inhuman Treatment of Widows (Prohibition) Law 2004 of Edo state
Malpractices Against Widows and Widowers (Prohibition) Law 2005 Enugu.
Protection Against Domestic Violence Law Lagos No15 A 199 (2007)
The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights 1989
The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 1999
The Charter of the United Nations in 1945
The Dakar Declaration of 1994
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Domestic Violence is an intricate issue with far-reaching consequences in almost all facets of life and has been a cause for concern to both local and foreign stakeholders. As it is estimated that one in every three women suffer from domestic violence abuses most of which are widely condoned. This does not mean that men are immune as they are also subject to domestic violence most of which are lethal retaliations from their wives.
We hear of incidences of spouses beating their wives or children to death over trivial issues or burning them on unbelievable suspicions and cases of intense neglect and deprivation. All the above realities amongst others have fostered a growing awareness on domestic violence and culminated in the various responses by various International Instruments, Non-governmental organizations, governments, activists and a host of other stakeholders to prevent domestic violence.
The Federal Constitution of Nigeria has incorporated various provisions against Human Rights Violation especially as contained in Chapter Four and the the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right and various other Laws and Instruments. Laws and policies have also been formulated to eliminate gender-based discrimination and bridge the gap between men and women These notwithstanding, there is inadequate protection against domestic violence as various cases and incidences are being reported daily while many others go unreported for various reasons chief of which are condonation and fear of reprisal.
Lagos on its part has been proactive and unwilling to take the backstage as it
has recognised the need to protect against domestic violence by enacting its
Law to Protect against Domestic Violence the provisions of which this work
Domestic violence has become an issue of global concern most especially in Africa. Domestic Violence can affect all groups in the society and can consist of physical, sexual, emotional, economic and psychological abuse. As studies have found that more than twenty-five percent of the global population suffers from domestic violence of one form or the other. Although men can also be victims of domestic violence, women and children suffer it most as they are being subjected to inhumane treatment, infringement on rights and restrictions on freedom. The vulnerability of women discourages them from reporting cases of domestic violence or abuse against them at home, or to seek legal redress. She may be forced out of her marital home and if she returns to her father’s house might be driven back to her husband’s house of horror. As she cannot support herself and the children, they may end up on the streets or become victims of other forms of abuse or she may return to the violent home to face a more aggressive and more arrogant husband. The victims in turn make things worse by keeping silent. Furthermore, the Nigerian Police, the first point of contact with the formal judicial system for victims of domestic violence, often trivialize incidents of domestic violence and does not file reports of complaints made. In some cases, they are reluctant to investigate and prosecute the matter.
The prevalent culture of silence and stigmatization of victims of domestic violence does not help matters because it hinders public acknowledgment of the problem. When appraising the Nigerian Legal System with the peculiar needs of domestic violence, we discover that the Nigerian legal system is more adversarial than reconciliatory. The indirect outcome of most judicial proceedings is usually the termination or straining of the relationship of the litigant.
This work shall reveal how the Lagos State Law on protection of Domestic Violence has attempted to remedy these ills and proffer more lasting solutions for the future.
The issue of domestic violence has often sparked international and local responses. Scholars and writers have often shown interest in the exposition of this area with many literature examining the issue of domestic violence in view of its repercussive effects.
As shall be seen in this work, authors have recognized that Domestic violence occurs globally in various forms and contexts. Families from all social, racial economic, educational and religious backgrounds experience domestic violence in different ways. There is also the wideheld apprehension of the lack of government commitment in the fight against domestic violence in Nigeria.
There however exists limited literature focusing on the Lagos State Protection Against Violence Law 2007 which indeed is a remarkable introduction to the field of domestic violence. This work therefore analyses this law vis a vis the existing realm of domestic violence, identify ways that persons can access justice through the judicial system and proffers suggestions for the effective elimination of violence against women in Nigeria thereby contributing to the existing field of literature.
This work establishes that the Prohibition Against Domestic Violence Law of Lagos, State Law No 15, 2007, was enacted as a response to the rising incidents of violence against persons in Lagos State. The law is a mechanism to correct the inadequacies of the legal system by ensuring that victims of domestic violence are protected, the strict compliance of police officers in apprehending suspects, providing alternative orders such as interim protection orders and expanding the definition of the laws that constitute domestic violence.
Finally, it is worthy of note that the Lagos State Law on the Prohibition of Domestic Violence has been in existence since the year 2007 but very few people are aware of its existence not to talk of having knowledge of the provisions. The Significance of this work can also be seen in the fact that (in addition to the analysis of the Lagos State Law) it contributes to the enlightenment campaign.
- To identify the nature, causes and effects of domestic violence
- Examine the provisions of the Lagos State Law on the Prohibition against Domestic Violence 2007.
- Make Suggestions on how the law can be better implemented and how the government can better protect against domestic violence.
- How prevalent/pervasive is the issue of domestic violence in Nigeria?
- Does the Lagos State Law on the Prohibition against Domestic Violence 2007 meet up to expectations?
- What are the areas of improvement for better implementation?
This essay shall adopt the doctrinal method and shall be conducted using primary and secondary sources. Primary sources such as relevant statutes and legislations, judicial decisions and government publications and secondary sources such as opinions of writers, textbooks, newspaper articles and seminar papers.
Certain salient terms shall be repeated in this work and deserve a brief definition they include:
“Abuse” This includes the misuse of power through which the perpetrator gains control or advantage of the abused, using and causing physical or psychological harm or inciting fear of that harm.
“Domestic” relating to or involving a family or the people living together within a household.
“Violence” According to Black’s Law Dictionary, the term ‘violence’ is synonymous with ‘physical force’. It involves a threat or use of coercive force with the intent of inflicting harm. It is the illegal use of unjustified force, or the intimidating effect created by the threat of illegal force.
“Domestic Violence” is threat or use of coercive force with the intent of inflicting harm on a person in a domestic relationship.
“Protection” the act of preventing somebody or something from being abused harmed or damaged, or the state of being kept safe
“Child” means an infant or any person below 18 years.
“Complainant” means any person who is or has been in a domestic relationship with a respondent and who is or has been subjected or allegedly subjected to an act of domestic violence
“Respondent” means any person who is or has been in a domestic relationship with a complainant and who has committed or allegedly committed an act of domestic violence including any person who conspires, aids, facilitates or assists in the commission or alleged commission of domestic violence against the complainant.
“Physical abuse” means any act or threatened act of physical violence towards the person of the complainant.
This work shall appraise Domestic Violence from a specific focus on the Lagos State Law on the Protection Against Domestic Violence.
The work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is the introductory chapter which provides a prelude to the discussion in this work. Chapter two examines existing literature on the area of domestic violence including the nature, forms and effects of domestic violence and certain appraisals on the domestic violence law of Lagos State. The discussion in this chapter shall provide a background understanding and theoretical underpinning on domestic violence. The third chapter provides a critical appraisal of the Lagos state law prohibiting domestic violence. In this chapter, I look at the interpretations in the law, prohibitions under the law, protection and protection orders, financial assistance provisions under the law, provisions relating to secrecy of proceedings, jurisdiction, offences and penalties. Chapter Four looks at the local and international expectations on the protection against domestic violence and examines the various challenges to enforcement and reasons for the prevalence of domestic violence. Chapter Five is the concluding chapter which provides recommendations on how the law can be better implemented.
 Black’s Law Dictionary B.N. Garner (West Group, St Paul MINN, 8th ed. 2004) p.254.
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Solutions, Vite. "AN APPRAISAL OF THE LAGOS STATE LAW ON THE PROHIBITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE" Afribary.com (2019). Accessed February 29, 2020. https://afribary.com/works/an-appraisal-of-the-lagos-state-law-on-the-prohibition-of-domestic-violence