By Abubakar Yunusa, Abuja
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has condemned the rise of rape and gender-based violence occurrences in the country and voiced his support for victims and survivors of the grievous crime.
The Minister in a statement by signed by his media aide, said “The Youth are the greatest victims of rape and we condemn this inhumane act in the strongest terms. We will join the vanguard against rape and ask for the stiffest penalty possible,” he said.
Mr Dare, who described rape as “a brutal crime that attacks the mind, body and soul,” said the act must not be allowed to take root in the Nigerian society. He said his Ministry would champion the fight against the dastardly act as prescribed in the National Youth Policy.
“No Nigerian, whether male or female, should be discriminated against or made a victim anywhere in this country, ” he said. “We must unite to fight against rape in all forms. All Nigerian Youth must take the responsibility to be on the lookout for their female counterparts and offer them protection. Stigmatising victims must be stopped and completely outlawed.
“I am totally against a mindset that first, makes women victims, and then moves on to compound their suffering by blaming the survivor for the evil that has been inflicted upon her. When people blame an individual for being raped, it discourages others from speaking out because each survivor and their families are afraid that they will be blamed and labelled for what happened to them.”
The Minister thanked President Buhari for his resolute stand against rape and joined him in this fight to protect young women from rape and physical assault. He also singled out the Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, for leading the charge.
“We shall stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this struggle, ” he said.
The Minister also called on the Nigeria Police Force to review their methods of investigating cases of gender-based violence and rape with the objective of solving them with minimal pain to the survivors. He challenged civil organisations to deploy the use of technology to support their work against the social menace. He also encouraged policymakers to be fearless and make laws that will deter future offenders.