A non-governmental oragnisation, Adicare Rehabilitation Home, has attributed the rising cases of rape and gender-based violence in the country to drug abuse and cultism.
Mrs Veronica Ezeh, the Founder of the NGO, stated this in an interview with newsmen on Monday in Lagos.
Ezeh called on governments at various levels to urgently evolve measures to contain drug abuse and cultism in the country.
The founder said: “It is only by tackling these two monsters that the increasing gender-based violence and rape incidences in the country will be minimised.
“Today in Nigeria, small boys from age 13 to 22 are fully involved in cultism in most communities, moving around with dangerous weapons, smoking cannabis and tormenting people at will.
“We are raising this alarm because these misguided youths also go about raping females of all ages, even those old enough to be their grandmothers.
“Most youths, these days, spend hours on the internet, experiencing horror films and how to commit all sorts of crimes,” she said.
She listed other factors that contribute to rape and gender-based violence to include: lack of good parental upbringing, pornography exposure, unemployment, unsatisfied needs and undiagnosed mental illness.
Ezeh, also a psychiatric nurse at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, urged parents and guardians to join hands with the organisation in the campaign against illicit drug use.
According to her, to check crimes and violence against women in form of rape, there should be concerted efforts to stop youths from using hard drugs or becoming drug addicts.
She stressed the need for NGOs, governments, agencies, international donor organisations and families to work together to address issues of drug abuse, saying it required multi-sectorial approach.
She emphasised the need to scale-up awareness and enlightenment campaigns on effects of drug abuse among post primary and secondary school students.
“Youths take drugs due to the influence of peer group pressure to improve self-esteem, drug availability, accessibility, wrongful prescription and lack of drug education.”
The nurse warned that drug affects the vital organs of the human body and can have physical, social and mental effects on an individual.
She called on the Federal Government to intensify more efforts in diversifying the nation’s economy so that youths would be empowered.
“Let the government diversify into agriculture and mineral resources’ development, this is the only way to keep the youth empowered and engaged,” she said.