The Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi has unveiled Nigeria’s first toll-free National Anti-Rape Helpline – 080072732255 to help provide counseling services to rape survivors across Nigeria. The 12 digit number, described as the first of its kind in Nigeria, was unveiled at the White Ribbon Conference on violence against young women organized by the Federal Ministry of Youth Development which held at the Ladi Kwali Hall of Sheraton Hotel, Abuja on Monday December 5, 2011.
At the conference which was widely attended by youths drawn from across the Federal Capital Territory, the
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal called on private citizens to sponsor bills through legislators in the House to recommend stiffer punishment for rapists and examine the loopholes in existing rape laws. Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, the Speaker promised that the House would associate itself with such bills as there is an urgent necessity to ensure the protection of women and children.
He also advocated the use of religious institutions to campaign against the scourge. The Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, in his welcome address, lamented that the incidents of rape had continued to rise.
Another highlight of the conference was the appointment and decoration of popular rap superstar Naetochukwu Chikwe (Naeto C) and Big Brother Africa’s Kevin Chuwang Pam as Anti-Rape Ambassadors. The ambassadors are expected to use the vehicle of social media and pop-culture as advocacy tools for mobilizing public action against the crime of rape.
According to Naeto C, “I wholeheartedly support the Honourable Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and his team in this campaign. The crime of rape is oftentimes understated in our community and we are happy that he has taken this stand. For me it remains an assault on our women and one that is unacceptable. In this regard, I have already donated my song “Share My Blessings” feat. Asa to this campaign and will devote my time and energy to support any actions that will have a positive impact on a horrendous situation.”