By Bolaji Ume
A former presidential candidate of KOWA party, Prof Remi Sonaiya, has urged the government to introduce gender equality instructions into the primary school curriculum.
Sonaiya, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent, said one of the ways to reduce sexual abuse and rape in the country was for children to be brought up to understand that all human beings were equal, and equally deserving of respect and dignity
She said, “I believe that there should be gender equality instruction introduced into the school curriculum, right from the primary school. At the very young level, teaching them that laying your hand on another person would attract serious consequences would be useful – and this might even help to stop incidents of physical fighting among them.
“Obviously, we are not properly socialised – even the men in various state Assemblies are still engaging in physical brawls, shamefully. There must be some attempt at a form of social re-engineering which would transform our minds, such that our communities would become safe for everybody.”
Sonaiye explained further that it was damaging if Nigerians kept quiet while half of the populations were traumatised due to rape and all forms of sexual violence meted out to females.
She added, “In this regard, I wish to recall my interaction with some secondary school girls about a year ago. It was shocking to learn that close to 50 per cent of them had been raped, and practically all of them suffer harassment on their way to and from school – by men calling them names, using suggestive language to describe their bodies, and even touching them inappropriately, right there in broad daylight!
“And the other adults present don’t caution these abusers of our children, because such behaviour has been normalised. For many of them who have to walk to school, this has become a daily nightmare. How do we expect such damaged children to do well in life and become useful in society?
“This is the huge task that we have in front of us as a nation.
“We cannot keep silent when half of our population is being traumatised. It has serious consequences for our future as a country. We all must rise up to end rape and all forms of sexual violence against women and girls.”