Udora Orizu in Abuja
Some Nigerians have expressed worries over the rapid increase in rape cases across the country with 85 per cent of them believing that the ill has become prevalent nationwide.
NOIPolls, a foremost public opinion polling institution, which conducts extensive polls reflecting the opinions and attitudes of Nigerians on various topical issues, made this revelation in their 2019 public perception poll to ascertain the views of Nigerians on the rape issue.
The study revealed that 85 per cent of Nigerians believe that the issue of rape is prevalent in the country.
The survey conducted through telephone interviews on July 8, 2019, covered a proportionate random nationwide selected sample of 1,000 phone-owning Nigerians of 18 years and above, across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The Chief Executive Officer of NOIPolls, Dr. Chike Nwangwu, who unveiled the report at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, said the survey analysis across geo-political zones showed that only a marginal one per cent decline has been recorded in the fight against the prevalence of rape between 2014 and 2019, making the menace a major challenge in Nigeria.
“North-west zone had the highest share of respondents with 92 per cent stating that rape is prevalence in Nigeria. This is closely followed by the South-west at 91 per cent. Interestingly, 32 per cent of residents in the North-east zone did not think that rape is prevalent in Nigeria,” the survey noted.
The poll result revealed that a majority of the respondents (92 per cent), identified that consent as it relates to rape is one which is given verbally by an individual who is of age and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Nwangwu noted that it is however worrisome that 52 per cent of Nigerians also believe that consent can be given by individuals who are underage, below 18 years.
The poll result further revealed that a larger proportion (62 per cent) of the respondents stated that rape is coercing someone to have sex or perform a sexual act only by means physical force or a deadly weapon.
On knowledge about rape incidence in Nigeria, the survey showed that about three in 10 Nigerians (26 per cent) know someone who has been raped in the past and the rape victims were particularly minors and young adults aged between one to 5 years (72 per cent) and 16 to 25 years (24 per cent), respectively.
This statistics, he said, implies that in every three girls would have experienced at least one form of sexual assault by the time they reach 25 years.
According to the survey, “offenders were mostly strangers (38 per cent), while neighbours (24 per cent), acquaintance of the victims (18 per cent) and relatives (16 per cent) accounted for the other categories of offenders.”
“Additionally, 26 per cent of respondents who claimed that they do not know anyone that has been raped in the past have heard someone who has been raped in the past. This brings it to an alarming total of 52 per cent of respondents who are aware of a rape incident/victim. Analysis by geo-political zones shows this proportion to be highest in the North-west zone (76 per cent) followed by the North-central (54 per cent) and lowest in the South-west zone (30 per cent).”
Slightly more than half of the respondents (53 per cent) interviewed, he said lamented that rapes cases have been under-reported especially to the police.
Also findings showed that 53 per cent of the respondents mentioned that rape incidence were reported to the Police, with 67 per cent acknowledging that the offenders were arrested, while 33 percent claimed that the offender was not arrested.
“The North-east zone (70 per cent) had the largest proportion of respondents in this category. Twenty per cent specified that some of the incidence was reported to the victim’s parent/guardian, while eight per cent said that it was reported to the victim’s relative amongst other mentions.”