THE Federal Government has described as “unacceptable,” the pandemic of 717 reported cases of rape between January and May, and promised to stem the growing scourge.
In Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed told visiting officials of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that, “today, as we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic we are also being confronted with another pandemic, the pandemic of rape.”
He noted that: “According to the Inspector-General, between January and May 2020, a total of 717 rape cases were reported.
“That is an average of 143 cases per month and around five cases per day.
“Definitely, there are also hundreds of unreported cases.
“This is totally unacceptable.
“The good news is that 799 suspects were arrested during the same period, while 631 cases were conclusively investigated and charged to court.
“It is said that the true measure of a society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members and that include women and children.”
The minister pledged that “the Federal Government will do everything possible to stem the growing tide of rape and gender-based violence in the country.”
Mohammed disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs was partnering with his ministry to launch a national campaign against rape and gender-based violence.
The campaign, he said, would include advocacy, sensitisation and social mobilisation.
He described the campaign as “necessary not only to raise the level of awareness about rape and gender-based violence, but to ensure that Nigerians own the fight against the abhorrent and repulsive criminal acts.
The minister commended the NHRC for its advocacy campaign against rape and gender-based violence, and said “your campaign couldn’t have come at a more auspicious time and when we launch the campaign, the National Human Rights Commission will also join us.”
The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Mr Tony Ojukwu described rape as a gross “violation of human rights, right to dignity, right to life, right to sexuality,” while noting
that the public outrage on rape and other violent crimes against the women folk had reached a scary proportion in recent times.
He called for all hands to be on deck to address this pervasive crime and said that the commission’s week long activism themed, “Equality and Dignity for Nigerian Women, Join the Fight against Rape and SGBV’’ is designed to educate the public on this dastardly crime.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN), Ojukwu called on the minister to join other key stakeholders in the quest for a lasting solution to the challenge.