Rape : Ogun FOMWAN Amirah calls for strict enforcement of Laws. - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Rape : Ogun FOMWAN Amirah calls for strict enforcement of Laws.

Alhaja Rabiu .

Alhaja Kudirat ‘ Yeni Rabiu is the Amirah, Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter. She is not just the head of an Islamic Association, she is a mother who is concerned about the welfare of the girl-child and protection of the rights of women generally.  She featured   recently on a radio programme to talk about the incident of rape in our society which has assumed an alarming dimension in recent times. She spoke about causes of rape and how to curb the ugly trend; moral decadence in our society and the need to restore moral and cultural values ;  role of FOMWAN in empowering women and matters concerning the on-going fights against the Covidd-19 pandemic as well as what the Association has been doing to curb the spread. Excerpts.


Q: The issue of rape has become so rampant in our society these days, what are the factors responsible for this moral depravity ?

A:  One of the major reasons for the incessant rape in our society nowadays first of all is lack of fear of God. The fear of God is eroding in our society because so many people just feel that they can do anything they like. Another major reason is poor parenting. In those days, we attach much importance to our feminism, but nowadays, the youths because they do not have enough things to keep them busy and because of bad parental background, they think they can do whatever they like. They no longer listen to the advices of the elders;  unlike in those days, culture is now being relegated and going down  the drains. Indecent dressing is another factor. Most of the girls nowadays dress half naked. In times past, before you move out of your house, your parents would access the way you dress. But, recently, some parents will go to the market and buy clothes that are not  descent and give it to their ladies to put on. They want them to be like their friends. That is another angle to the issue of moral depravity that you talked about and that is not helping matters at all. One other factor that leads to rape in our society is lack of legal backing; the way perpetrators are being handled is not it. They handle them with laxity.

 For instance, the law that we have in Ogun State which was enacted in the year 2017, we are just pressurizing that government should now enforce it. Once the government enforce it and they know the implications that once you commit rape, these are the penalties and all that, I think they will reason and desist. The incidents will go down the drains if the laws are enforced.So, one of the factors is what I will call the weak legal backing that is existing in our community.

Q: Alhaja Kudirat,  there are recent suggestions that perpetrators of rape, especially the male should be castrated , do you buy this idea?

A: Yes, it is a welcome idea. This is because until and unless we use some people as scape goats, others will not desisit. For instance, the Violence Against People Prohibition Act (VAPP Law) states that if you commit rape , you go to life imprisonment. To me, once they start with someone, it will serve as a deterrent to others to bring down the incidents of rape in our society.

Q: You mentioned the issue of parents aiding indecent dressings among their children, are you saying that parents themselves are guilty ?

A: Parents are guilty because some parents believe that whatever their children want is what they will  take. In those days, if your parents talk, you dare not argue with them. But, these days, some parents believe that whatever their children wants is what they will subject themselves to, which is not supposed to be the case. If we continue in this way, may God safe our society. So, what I will suggest is that we should just go back to our culture. This is because, in our culture in those days, there was dignity, there was integrity, there was hope and confidence, but nowadays people just think they can do what they like. Like I said, parenting is very key, once a child lacks good parenting, the result will be chaotic.

Q: Why has parenting gone so awry ?

A: Western education is a major issue . This is because, Christianity and Islam does not preach indecent dressing, but because of our exposure to Western education, people believe what they are doing in the diaspora is what is right. The fact remains that we have different culture. But, over exposure to the Western ways of life and ideology is what is responsible for this moral laxity in our society. Some parents will say, he or she is my child, and they are the ones in vogue. This is not supposed to be so. As a parent, you have to be firm and lay good example for your children. And, that is only when we can have peace.

Q: You represents an Islamic and women group, what do you think can be done at that level to put things right?

A: Moral and religious teaching is what we emphasize. We cannot, but insist on moral teaching. Until we go back to that, we may not get a headway. Also, our parents should stand up to their responsibilities. They should lay good example to their children; lead by example and be role models to our children. We should not forget that as we train our children , children around are inadvertently being trained. Then, we also try to organize counseling session for the youths which will help them in areas that they are lagging behind and always whip them back to line when they want to go beyond their bounds. And, sound education is also very important. And, as we are doing that, we should not forget our tradition and culture. The culture and tradition should be imbibed in the young ones from childhood. We should be teaching them what is expected of them. Nowadys, hardly will you see a child kneeling down for their parents. You will just hear, good morning sir, they will just be going. In those days , it wasn’t like that. If you want to greet your parents, you have to kneel down and you get their blessings. I think we should eradicate all these practices and go back to our cultural practice which is the ultimate.

Q: How can the women and the girl-child be better empowered to reduce reliance, especially on male folks ?

A: Empowerment is very important for women. If you empower a woman, they will discover their self esteem; they will be stronger and be confident in whatever they do. One way to achieve this is to give them sound education. If you give them sound education and they believe in what they were taught, they will be able to implement  to the letter. Apart from that,counseling seesion should also be organized as well as encouragement of regular seminars and conferences, so that we catch them young. Also, we should let them have a taste of the good things we are doing and we should always carry them along, so that when they grow up, they will emulate it.

Q; To what extent do you think that the social media contribute to all of these ?

A: The social media is the new evil in our society. It has contributed a lot to the incidents of rape because of the exposure the youths now have on the social media. What I will like to suggest is that, people should try to curb what they put on the social media, while parents should as a matter of compulsion move closer to their children to monitor them whenever they are on their phones. They should collect their phones occasionally and if possible restrict them from exposure to negative things and if that is not possible, they can seize the phones if they are younger to prevent over exposure to negativities.

Cuts- in: Is it even good for younger children ,perhaps of secondary school age to own an Android phone ?

A: That to me is not too good. Most parents don’t allow their children to go to school with phones. In fact, the Ministry of education is clamoring against allowing children to go to school with phones and they do seize it. This is because, by the time they go to school with phones, they will loose concentration and a lot of things will crop up. So, I will advice that we do not give phones to our young ones to take to school under any guise.

Q: What are the unique things about women, that ladies outside needs to know to preserve themselves and boost their self-esteem?

A: Women are wonderful and exceptional creature. Women are beautiful They are multi – tasking. God endowed women with lots of activities. We can combine two, three four activities at a go. We are first of all  daughters  to our parents as a woman, we are mother to our children and at the same time wife to our husband. And, at the same time, all the house chores beckon on the women. We also train the children at home; we even train our husbands occasionally. So, we have a lot of qualities that makes us to be unique. Women are brilliant and they can face many tasks  at the same time. We do face lots of challenges and we become  stronger with challenges.

Q: What should be the role of  women in curtailing the spread of this Covid-19 pandemic ?

A: Women have being doing that. As mothers, we train our children on personal hygiene at home and personal hygiene is a major issue to mitigate against the spread of  covid-19. We teach regular hygiene, regular chores and regular house cleaning; we instill all into our children. We are  also planning to go on advocacy visit to our traditional rulers to talk about Covid-19 and what they need to sensitize their subjects about. First of all , during this Covid-19 we are asked to stay at home. So, as mothers, we make sure that our children are at home. They do not move about as they use to do before. Also, we make sure that they go into regular hand washing; we procure sanitizers for them. Then, on palliatives, we give palliative to our neighbors when we have and we try as much as possible to get in touch with others who can assist, so that everybody will be comfortable.

Q: The believe then is that women's roles are  in the kitchen, and today women take up positions of responsibilities in the society, don’t you think increasing responsibility for women can interfere with their roles at home?

A: :Like I said earlier, women have a multi- tasking capability. We can handle many activities at the same time. What I will only advice is that as women, we should give premium to our health and our family. It should be family first.  Once, the family is put in place and in shape, we can go out to the community and do our beat in the community and move from there to the zonal level, local government level , function at the state level and then at national level , whether in the economic or political front to contribute to societal development.

Q: Thank God you mentioned politics, people do  say that  you need to be a woman with lion heart to go into politics and now you are saying that women can go into politics?

A: Politics start from our homes. Even between our children, we play politic. Among the famlly members , we play politics. So, everything starts from the home. Once the home is stable and you put the home in shape, you can go into politics. Politics is for development and to make sure that our people are comfortable and to bring about good governance. So, nothing stops women from going into politics once the home front is in shape and stable.

Q: Let’s look at what your organization FOMWAN has been doing in this regard

A: Generally, we empower our widows ; we organize vocational training for them. Before Covid-19, we have been training them on so many things. We establishVocational Training Centre for them. We organize delegate conference. During that time, we train our people on how to make Adire and after the training, we give them money to go and start on a smaller scale. Apart from that, we always empower our widows with cash to augment their businesses. And our youths, we educate and train them on the current issues in the society through the youth camp  we  do organize annually for our youths throughout the state. We also have the one at the national level.  So, our youths are engaged. We give them a lot of skills and training that will assist them in the future. And, we also give scholarship to indigent, but brilliant students in Ogun State. At present, FOMWAN is sponsoring over 120 students both at the Primary and Secondary level. And, during this Covid-19, we also train our members and the public on the production of sanitizers, and face masks. To this end, FOMWAN, the Ogun State Chapter  distributed well over five hundred face masks to our  members and other  members of the public. We also distributed about 90 bottles of sanitizers as well as liquid wash in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. We also give palliatives to the widows , the aged , apart from extending a hand of fellowship to those in need.

Q: Generally, what does FOMWAN represents?

A: The full meaning of FOMWAN is  Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria. FOMWAN is a non-governmental, nonprofit making orgnaisation and it is the umbrella body for all Muslim Women Associations in Ogun State and Nigeria as a whole. FOMWAN envisions a world when women  will be totally empowered to be role models and make positive impact in the society and our core value  are Integrity, Accountability, Team Work and Honesty. We operate at national level, state level  and at the local government levels. And, we are into education. For instance, we have two FOMWAN schools in Ogun State, one in Ogere and another one at ilishan. We also have about seven Islammiyah Schools, where we normally catch  them young. There,  the youths acquire Islamic education. Also, we are particular about the health of our people, hence we do conduct medical tests for our members and occasionally when we have conferences members of the public do come for free medical screening, to check their genotype, blood pressure and blood sugar level. Apart from that, we also get  involved  in Advocacy in the area of education, health, development and societal growth. And, principally , FOMWAN's  core value is to ensure the propagation of Islam through Dawah, such that the religion of islam is giving the widest publicity. And, we  go the whole hug of empowering the widow, women and the youths, the aged, and the less privileged and the vulnerable in the society. That is our core values. Apart from that  FOMWAN also engage in election monitoring. During election, FOMWAN serve as observers, we monitor election and we give our feedbacks. FOMWAN is doing a great job in that respect to ensure good governance.

Q: Lastly, what is your advice to the society to curb the incident of rape?

A: To women, as mothers , we should go back to our tradition and culture and instill the good thing, the moral teaching in our children, so that all the things that lead to rape would be wiped off. And, We should train our boys to respect and protect the rights of the girl child. Women are not toys; they should give them the respect they deserve and treat them as responsible human being. To the government, they should go back to enforcement of laws. The laws are there already; they should enforce the law. When the laws are enforced, any perpetrator caught should be penalized ; they should go to jail, if need be to serve as deterrent to others. And, to the girl child, they should desist from putting on indecent dressing. They should be careful and protect themselves. We should make ourseves to be unique, we should not sell ourselves too  cheap, we should not walk in the dark; we should portray good image of ourselves. And, as parents, we should go back to our responsibilities, we should not allow our children to rule us. They should not be dictating to us. We should be able to tell them what is right and what is wrong and  we should be able to lay good examples, because the children will definitely follow our footsteps.


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