The adolescent Sexual and reproductive health officer of UNFPA, Dr. Esther Somefun has given reason why there are many rape cases in Nigeria. She said it is largely due to the legal system that does not reprimand the perpetrators of rape cases or other sexual abuses in Nigeria.
She declared this at the launch of 2000 young girls as participants in the adolescent health project for girls organised by the Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative(YEDI), funded by the German government‘s Federal Ministry Economic Cooperation and Development held in Lagos.
The adolescent health project tagged; BMZ Skillz Girls project, strictly for young girls between the ages of 13 and 19. She explained that the reason for rape cases in Nigeria was,“because we have legal system that does not reprimand the perpetrators of rape cases or abuse. Even when they are reprimanded, the punishment is so mild that they buy themselves out.
We have individuals who do not respect their fellow human rights coupled with cultural issues where, if a woman is rapedit is brushed aside or if a girl is raped, gets brushed aside.”
On the collaboration between UNFPA and YEDI, she said, for them in UNFPA, they have worked with YEDI and YEDI’s support for ‘Hello Lagos’ centres. They are centres which provide comprehensive health, friendly services.
“These centres at different places where young people have access to information with all accurate information, on their health, sexual reproductive health unit. If they are not feeling well, they can have access to healthcarefacility and if thereistheneed for referrals, we do provide that,” shesaid. Somefun explained further that it also has to do with societal values and self-esteem.
“Example is the abuse of Codeine that is going around town. It has become an easy drug for youths to take and feel high. So, the fact is that they have easy access to drugs, and their self-esteem is on the high and at this age range young people tend to want to feel high, feel good and they believe that by feeling good and feeling high, you need to use something to enhance your feeling good, but knowing that you can feel good with so many other things, go out with friends watch movies, you don’t have to take drug to enhance your self-esteem.”
She however commended the regulatory agencies, “I will still go back to say that it is because our regulatory agency are trying, but they need to do more because if you go to other countries or other African countries, you can’t just walk into a medicine store and get medication freely. She explained that there must be need for the patient to have a prescription.
“Although, we know that young people have their own issues, if you have a system that is porous that allows easy access in drugs on those that should not have the drugs, it is called why drugs, why use, why prescriber?” Obviously, the country is having people who should not be holding such drugs in their hands without prescription to use it.
On her admonition to youths, “As a young man you don’t have to rape to feel good. Remember that that other person has a right and by raping does not improve your ego or does not make you a man. It only makes you a coward,” Dr. Somefun said. Psychologically, she explained that the youth could be traumatised trauma especially holding onto the pains.
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