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"Combatting rape and sexual assaults within Nigerian society"
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"Combatting rape and sexual assaults within Nigerian society"

A spate of rape cases in Nigeria has Tayo Elegbede, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent and radio presenter from Lagos, concerned that his country may soon become notorious for this form of victimisation.

In recent times, cases of rape – especially ones involving teenagers – have become an especially worrisome development in Nigeria. Citizens are on a daily basis treated to one story or the other on the despicable act of rape and sexual brutalisation.

With the alarming rate of increase in rapes, analysts have noted that, if nothing is done to curb the menace, Nigeria might overtake South Africa as the country with the highest number of rapes in the world.

On 17 August this year, the social media world was greeted with a syndicated 10 mintue gang-rape video which took place at the Abia State University, Abia-Nigeria, where five boys believed to be students of the institution took turns to rape a poor girl.

A couple of weeks ago, men of the 82 division of the Nigerian army in Enugu paraded about 20 young men who were arrested for cult-related activities and for allegedly raping some students of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Enugu.

Recently, a 23-year-old man purporting to be a soldier was taken to a Magistrate court in Lagos for allegedly raping a 27-year-old woman under false pretences. The rape was carried out when the man impersonated as a military officer had his way, a crime punishable under section 419 and 455 of the 2004 Nigerian criminal code.

Effiong who had dressed in his brother’s army uniform and arrested the woman in Ikeja, Lagos, took her to a hidden place where he had sex with her on the flimsy excuse that the victim wore a pair of trousers that has army colour which the government had banned civilians from putting on. As a condition to secure her freedom, the poor lady was forcefully raped.

Separately, in September this year, it was reported that a nine-year-old girl was tortured and raped by two men who threatened to kill her if she made the affair public. Also, a couple of weeks ago, a 25-year-old man was arrested for raping an eighty-year-old woman in Matazu Local Government Area of Katsina State. In a similar development, three young men were arrested for raping a minor and a youth corps member in the northern part of Nigeria.

The list goes on. Just this month, two young men of the Lagos State University, LASU, were arrested for brutally raping a twenty-year-old jobless girl in an uncompleted building in Lagos. In another quarter in Lagos, a gang of robbers went ahead to rape their victims after dispossessing them of valuables worth $4.4m. Recently, the Zamfara State Police Command arrested four suspects for gang-raping a seventeen-year-old girl.

Given these cases, amongst others, it seems so apparent that the criminal act of rape and sexual assault has all of a sudden become a regular occurrence within Nigerian society. Some reasons given for rape include lack of discipline and control over one’s libido, poor economic conditions leading to mass unemployment, redundancy, peer pressure and indecent dress which it is argued allures the indisciplined soul.

Oftentimes, rape victims do not see the need to report to the police and other appropriate agencies that could help in seeking justice because of fear public stigmatisation. The Nigerian justice system has however not been of help in explicitly discouraging and fighting rape issues due to high levels of corruption and relatively mild punishments for culprits. Hence to salvage the country from this fast-rising menace, all hands must be on deck.

Religious institutions must preach and imbibe values, morals and respect for all humans. Families and educational institutions must nurture its members with lessons of societal development, modest and decent dress-sense and self control, while government agencies should be strengthened to combat cases of rape and sexual assaults within Nigerian society.

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About me:

I am a young broadcast journalist, radio presenter, writer, public relations practitioner and social entrepreneur with a passion for all-round human development. My core philosophies in life include honesty and integrity, open-mindedness, responsibility and accountability.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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