Adepoju Sarafadeen is a graduate of Law from the University of Ilorin and currently at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos. He takes interest in humanitarianism, community development, sexual and gender violence activism and personal development. He has served in various capacities and the current Chairman for the Forum of Oyo State Law Graduates at the Nigerian Law School 2020/21 session. He is the founder of Maximstoons Designs, a graphics designing brand and a skilled Customer Support Representative.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Salaam Alaykum warahmatullah, sir. As regards the trending issues around Violence against Women, don't you think the concept is being overemphasized?
Adepoju Sarafadeen: Waalaikum salam warahmatullahi wabarokaatuh. As regards your question, in my humble perspective, I will even say it is rather under-emphasized due to the fact that the Violence Against Women is not a novel concept. It is something that has been in existence from time immemorial and still has its root in our contemporary society.
Adh-Dhikr Press: What measures should be put to place to mitigate against violence against women?
Adepoju Sarafadeen: I like the choice of the word "mitigate" because violence against women can not be eradicated completely in society. However, it should be reduced to the lowest level. Thus, there are a plethora of measures that can be put in place to mitigate violence against women. These include but not limited to the followings;
Firstly, the government should create laws and enforce existing laws that protect women from discrimination and violence, including rape, beatings, verbal abuse, mutilation, torture, “honour” killings and trafficking. Although, there are laws the laws are not been implemented as appropriate. The Violence Against Person's Act 2015 which gives a more elaborate definition and punishment on violence has a limited application in Nigeria because it has not been domesticated by the state governments.
Secondly, there should be stricter punishments for violence against women and also the punishment should be carried out publicly. I believe this will deter the members of the public from engaging in violence against women.
Thirdly, there should be massive awareness program on the evils of violence against women to educate the members of the public.
Also, Creation of a special court for violence against women cases where victims can talk freely without fear of condemnation. This will also speedy dispensation of justice before material evidence is lost. In addition to that, Police should carry out investigation on cases diligently in order to secure evidence of violence.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Sir, looking through all you've highlighted, these are the roles of the government. Can we look beyond the government?
Adepoju Sarafadeen: Absolutely! The society also has some roles in mitigating this violence. The society should :
- Strengthen women’s ability to earn money and support their households by providing skills training for women.
- Highlight the value of girls’ education and women’s participation in economic development.
- Abolish harmful traditions such as forced marriage, forced pregnancy amongst others especially in rural communities.
- The society should jettison the stigmatization of rape victims.
- Also, parents should educate their children on sex education and good moral.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Do you believe women are quite responsible for any violence they experience?
Adepoju Sarafadeen: This question is rather a serious one that one has to be careful of. However, the truth must be told. To be candid, women who are mostly the victims of violence also contribute to the violence against them. This is funny right? But it is the truth. People are clamouring indecent dressing is not a reason for rape, yes, I totally agree with that. But, what if we advocate decent dressing in our society, what do we lose? Also, women can contribute to the violence against them through illiteracy, immoral activities, inordinate seeking of favour and power, negligence, to mention but a few. In essence, I believe that women also contribute to violence against them.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Is that a justification for the violence?
Adepoju Sarafadeen: NO! That is not and can never be a justification. There is nothing that can justify violence against women both under Nigerian Law and Shariah.
Adh-Dhikr Press: How much do societies influence violence against women?
Adepoju Sarafadeen: The society is a major role player when we are talking about violence against women. For example in some communities, marriage is seen as a means by which the wife becomes the property of the husband. Once the dowry has been paid, the husband can do anything he so wishes with the wife all in the name of marriage. More so, stigmatization of victims of violence is another thing. There is also discrimination against women which is mostly perpetrated by the society against women. So until our societies are adequately educated on the menace of violence against women, the pandemic will continue to rise on daily basis.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Do you think the Nigerian legal system gives much respect to Islamic law?
Adepoju Sarafadeen: Before I answer, it is significant to point out that Nigeria is a secular state with no state religion. This has affected the degree of relevance the Nigerian Legal System accords to the Islamic law. However, Islamic Law is and always be an integral part of the Nigerian Legal System although Islamic law is sometimes categorized as Customary Law by some writers though this has been faulted by Islamic scholars. Back to the question, the Nigerian legal system does not give much respect to Islamic Law because Islamic law only has a very limited application in Nigeria. For example, let us look at the jurisdiction of the Shariah Court of Appeal. Section 277 (1) and (2) made it clear that the Sharia Court of Appeal is only applicable to Islamic PERSONAL matters such as marriage, gift, succession and other personal laws. It doesn't have jurisdiction over criminal matters. This alone shows the extent of respect Nigerian legal system has for the Islamic law.
Adh-Dhikr Press: Thank you very much, sir. I alongside my press members really appreciate the time you've sacrificed for this cause.