The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has condemned the rise in the incidents of rape and gender-based violence in the country.
He also voiced his support for victims and survivors of such crimes, describing rape as “a brutal crime that attacks the mind, body, and soul.”
“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 in a statement from his media office.
According to the minister, such acts must not be allowed to continue to take root in the Nigerian society and the ministry will 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; we must unite to fight against rape in all forms,” he said.
Dare added, “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.”
He believes 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 Muhammadu Buhari for his resolute stand against rape, and the Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, for leading the charge.
“We shall stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this struggle, ” he said.
Dare, therefore, called on the Nigeria Police 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 also challenged civil organisations to deploy the use of technology to support their work against the social menace, adding that policymakers should be fearless and make laws that would deter future offenders.