The UNESCO Youth Forum Nigeria is appalled by the series of rape cases that have been reported across Nigeria in the past weeks most notably, the case of Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student, who was raped and murdered in Benin City, southern Nigeria in a church where she went to study;
Jennifer, an 18-year-old who was allegedly attacked and raped by a gang of five men in Kaduna;
A 12-year old in Jigawa State who was gang-related by 11 men;
Another 19-year-old Female Student Raped And Stabbed To Death In Parents’ House In Ibadan, a student of Institute of Agriculture, Research and Training, Ibadan;
And many other cases that never make it to the media.
We send our deepest thoughts to the families of the victims of these evil acts who are going through deeply traumatic moments as a result.
The recent rise in this report is deeply concerning for us as young people and makes it hard for young girls in Nigeria to reach their full potentials as they take the next steps being unsure of their safety.
We call on security operatives to immediately scale up their response to these cases of rape and ensure that perpetrators are brought to book as quickly as possible. We demand that the Nigeria Police Force, through its gender unit, become more proactive in responding to reported cases of rape and deploy strategies that could help prevent possible cases.
We want to make it clear that it is the job of the Nigerian Police Force to protect lives and properties of all Nigeria, especially in the face of threats like this. It is important that officers handling such cases are well trained and would have no capacity to escalate the bad situation further.
We also note allegations in the past of some members of the Nigerian Police Force allegedly raping commercial sex workers after a raid with waterproof bags used as protection. We are not aware of any steps that have been taken by the Nigerian Police to address such despicable acts, if it was proven to be true, as it will determine if victims can have the confidence to report or the police or not.
The Forum acknowledges that one way to address the issues of rape practically is to improve how we raise our future generations significantly. We must raise boys to know that “No” means “No” and that rape is an act that should never be contemplated. Men also have a huge responsibility to lend their voices against rape, violence against women and the girl-child and also reporting known cases.
We wish to reiterate that there is no excuse for RAPE.
We recognize that all reported cases have to be investigated and proven; however, we call for urgency in response and transparency in getting to the root of all of them.
The Forum will commit to doing more work on inclusive gender equality to help boys and girls become better versions of themselves and coexist as a dependable ally to each other.
National Working Council
UNESCO Youth Forum Nigeria