By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Director, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mrs. Bridgette Yerima, has called for an urgent revisit and review Nigeria’s Cultural Policy, 32 years after it was put in place, saying it will help to address the rising cases of rape in the country.
Yerima, who made the call today in Abuja said updating and reviewing the policy was central to addressing the current problem of incessant rape cases and other social vices plaguing Nigeria.
She lamented that Nigeria’s cultural policy, formulated in 1988 which she said had become obsolete and needed to be re-appraised, rejigged and updated, to tackle emerging social issues, including rape, child-molestation and domestic violence.
According to her, Nigeria needs to consider the methods adopted by some foreign countries in their resolve to curb incidences of rape in their countries.
“Countries like India, China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia have instituted punishment options of death, castration, beheading and death by firing squad.
“Nigeria may need to move in that direction as means to curb the rising incidence of these rape cases,’’ she advised.
Yerima, who is the Director, Overseeing the Office of the Executive Secretary of NICO, argues that no punishment should be considered too harsh in protecting minors and old women, who have been at the receiving end of rapists in recent years.
“There is no doubt that the rising cases of rape, child molestation and domestic violence in Nigeria are causing many citizens sleepless nights. This calls for creative solutions to stem the ugly tide.
“The rape cases involve illegal sexual acts and violence often leading to death. In most cases, the victims are females and children who are vulnerable and weak.
“These cases have become so rampant and discomfiting, prompting Nigeria’s parliament to call for a state of emergency to deal with the embarrassing rape crisis.
Yerima called on parents and guardians to rise to the occasion by playing their required roles to stem the worsening tide of rape nationwide.
“Parents and guardians must resume their traditional responsibilities as parents, who must be on ground to guide, direct or instruct their children all the time.
“In recent times, due to the harsh economic situation, most parents have had to pick up jobs that take them away from home in order to make ends meet.
“While this is explainable, parents must learn the balancing act and avoid being absentee parents most times.’’
Yerima further suggested that at least one parent must be on ground all the time to not only supervise but to also instruct kids.
According to her, a situation where parents transferred their roles and responsibilities to domestic helps and caregivers or to teachers and neighbors is totally unacceptable.
She said that parents should ensure that their children dress decently at all times, to avoid attracting the attention of marauding rapists.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation is currently grappling with a rape pandemic that has seen babies and geriatric citizens being raped by young men.
In her remarks, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, while citing a recent report said that up to two million Nigerians are raped every year.