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NCAC gathers stakeholders against moral decadence

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Otunba Olusegun Runsewe


National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has organised a one-day cultural roundtable. The aim of the programme was to address the progressive deterioration of the country’s cultural values and the urgent need to mount a comprehensive and sustainable value re-orientation programme to return Nigerian society on the path of moral rebirth.

In his welcome address at the event, the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, decried the progressive deterioration in the country’s cultural values.

Runsewe stated that while Nigeria is always known for a rich culture, anchored on the virtues of hardwork, integrity, high public morality, respect for elders and constituted authority, decency in dressing and in public speeches among others, these virtues are rapidly giving way to various social vices.

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He noted that in the past, agents of socialisation like the family, school and religious institutions took collective responsibility in inculcating high moral values among youths.

According to him, today the story is different. He lamented that what we now see, is laziness, get rich quick syndrome and primitive acquisitive tendencies by yahoo-yahoo boys, scammers, Internet fraudsters and all forms of social vices.

Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of a book titled, on Morality, Culture and the Nigerian Youth, authored by the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, copies of which were distributed to all the participants: discussants, speakers, journalists and other invited guests.

Runsewe also used the occasion to express the resolve of NCAC to rid society of moral rot and put Nigeria on a sound cultural ground. He said the book would serve as one of the literature materials that his council intends to use to prosecute the moral rebirth in our society. He urged every parent, teacher, religious leader to critically review our values as a nation as that is the only sure way we can aspire for accelerated growth and development we urgently desire.

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“Rape, like other forms of violence against women (and in a minority of cases, men) is an infringement on victim’s rights, privacy, self-preservation and dignity.

“Available data in the print and electronic media revealed that between January and June this year, about 717 rape incidents have been reported.”
Runsewe further described rape as an act of “taking what is not yours by force.”He noted that number of rape cases far exceeded 717 that were reported. He, therefore, urged the society to consider the psychological effect on the victims.

“You can imagine seeing a character who ordinarily wouldn’t have come close to a person taking advantage of such person.”Runsewe also commended Kaduna State government which has stipulated castration of rape offenders, stressing that the menace has continued due to lack of standard documents to show past efforts at curbing it. “Rape is not part of our culture. Our culture is that of decency,” he said.

In her speech, the Chairman of the occasion, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Women Affairs and Administration, Office of the First Lady, Dr. Hajo Sani, stated that youths in imitating foreign cultures in the way they talk and dress are early signs of deviation from moral values and customs.

She said that in schools, many teachers who are supposed to tutor children in cultural ethos now take advantage of the same children they are supposed to take care of.

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She added that the society at large has now become bad examples to our youths by exposing them to other immoral vices like rape and other forms of evil activities. She noted that the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari would be willing to collaborate with NCAC on building a good foundation for our youth right from childhood.

The Managing Director of Africa Independence Television (AIT), Dr. (Mrs.) Tosin Dokpesi, commended the DG, NCAC for putting up the roundtable discourse, adding that there is no better time to start the moral rebirth crusade than now. She said all hands must be on deck to rid the society of the social vices and inculcate good values in our youths. She stressed the need to arrest our eroding values and tradition with a commitment to restore the lost culture and glory of our country Nigeria.

Also speaking, former Director General, National Orientation Agency, Alhaji Idi Farouk, decried that rape has become a pandemic in Nigeria “and it is obviously not in our culture.” He called for castration of rapist.

Noting that it is a crime against the state, he believed that only the police could prosecute. “And this has become a problem because prosecution can be mismanaged; allowing rape to go without conviction.”

According to Farouk, to address the issue, victims of rape should be allowed to hire their lawyers for prosecution, as the police are likely to be comprised.

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He also suggested monetary compensation for victims, public awareness against the menace and ban on little girls guiding blind old men who often convert them to child-wives and end up assaulting them sexually.

The President, National Council for Women Societies, Dr. Gloria Shoda, deliberated on the theme of the occasion – Raising Voices Against the Culture of Rape in Nigerian Society. She regretted that most times, in addition to rape, women and girls are murdered while relations defile toddlers.

“It is not an exaggeration to describe it as a crisis for the country,” adding, that “enough is enough for the impunity with which the menace is perpetuated.”

She urged women, activists, security agents, community based association to rise against rape, stressing that the law must work for victims and survivors of such attack.

While applauding government’s intervention with the signing of the Sexual Offenders Bill into law, she urged the remaining states to follow suit by domesticating the Child Rights Act.

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In proffering solutions to the menace, she called for forensic investigation into the issue of rape, as perpetrators sometimes tend to escape. “There should be investment in such technology for investigation. Technology should be used to extract evidences and punishment should be appropriate to the crimes.

“Prevention is imperative, there should be massive enlightenment campaign, girls should be taught how to protect themselves while mothers should draw their daughters closer and educate them on sex.”

“We must put an end to stigmatisation of victims. The victims should not take the shame and blame as if they are the ones that wronged the society. The quest for out of court settlement should be stopped. Rape is a crime that abuses the victim, torture beyond victims control, it is a nightmare they will never wake up from and fear they will never run away from,” she said.
The event held at Abuja Sheraton Hotels and Towers

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