Retired footballer, John Fashanu, has called for collective action against rape, domestic violence and child abuse, especially against women and the girl child in the country.
He made the suggestion following the recent increase in the spate of rape and sexual violence in Nigeria.
The victims of rape include Uwa Omozuwa, a 22-year-old University of Benin undergraduate, Barakat Bello in Ibadan and 12-year-old girl (name withheld) who was reportedly raped by 11 men for two months in Limawa Market of Dutse Local Government Area of Jigawa State.
Fashanu said in Abuja on Monday that rape was “one of the worst crimes against humanity in the world, where the victim is the only one punished by the society because of the stigma and shame attached.”
According to him, since many reports have shown that in Nigeria, women are more affected; Nigerian men should stand up as chief campaigners in the fight to stop the widespread violence against the female gender in our society.
He said, “The upsurge of violence against women, especially by men, in Nigeria over the years, is assuming a worrisome dimension with grave consequences on the victims and the society at large. Men as fathers, brothers, sons and husbands are supposed to be playing the vital role of public advocates in strongly condemning all forms of violence against women and the girl child.
“Responsible men should rise up to protect the female gender. Other measures include provision of free counselling for the victims of rape and using stiffer penalties for the perpetrators of the crimes.”
Fashanu added that the way forward was to continuously, through the National Orientation Agency, “engage our people through awareness campaign against rape.”
An English television presenter and former professional footballer, Fashanu won the FA Cup in 1988 with Wimbledon and scored over 100 goals during a highly successful playing career.
He currently runs the John Fashanu Sports Academy in Abuja.