Nigerian women stage protest rallies across the country to protest over the killings of students of a federal college in Yobe State and the abduction of 25 girls from various schools in Borno State
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Mar. 17, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT
WOMEN across Nigeria on Thursday, March 6, condemned the killings of students at the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, in Yobe State. The women, under the auspices of Nigerian Women Mourn, NWM, organised a peaceful rally round the country in protest against the wanton killings of innocent children in the northern parts of the country. The protesting women expressed particular concerns about school children killed by members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect.
Realnews learnt that the protest took place simultaneously in Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Ado-Ekiti and Abuja, with the women expressing displeasure over the mind-boggling killings. In Lagos, the protesting women, displayed placards and staged a peaceful walk to the governor’s office in Alausa, Ikeja, to register their grievances. Laila Daniel, one of the conveners of the protest, said Nigerian women were concerned about the escalating rate of violence in the North-East. “We are moved by the senseless killing of innocent children in the Federal Government College, Yobe, and the abduction of 25 girls from their schools in Bornu. We commiserate with the families of the slain children, women and men of Adamawa and Bornu states,” she said.
Daniel urged the government to provide adequate protection and security for the citizens and to provide adequate compensations for victims and the survivors, particularly women and girls. Joe Okei-Odumakin, president, Women Arise Initiative, said the protest march was to bring about change and transformation. “Women are tired of the killings. Efforts should be made to keep the country safe.”
In Abuja, the women embarked on a peaceful walk, carrying placards with various inscriptions, including ‘Too Many Painful Tears’, ‘Enough of the Killings’, ‘The Blood of the Innocent Shall Avenge their Killers’ and ‘Nigerian Women Mourn’. They took off from the Unity Fountains and marched to the Nigeria Human Rights Commission, NHRC, where they were received by Harry Ogwuche Obe, deputy director, legal office of the executive secretary. Obe told the protesting women that the challenges being faced in the country as a result of insurgency were no ordinary happenings and would require an extraordinary approach to tackle.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Ijeoma Izuora explained that the march was taking place all over Nigeria, as well as other major cities of the world, to express anger at the happenings in the North-east. “We are wasting a generation of our children. This could have been me when I was in FGC, or any of us could have been victims. These senseless killings must stop. Is Boko Haram bigger than the government? Does the government not know what to do? If our husbands and children are all killed, what happens to us?” she asked.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the angry protesters were led by Emmanuela Izunwa, a former commissioner for women affairs in the state and members of the National Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ. Izunwa said the protest march was to send a message that Nigerian women are not happy with what is happening in the North-east. “People of Nigeria should cohabit as nationals. We need to live like a family in this country,” she said.
In Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Modupe Adelabu, deputy governor of the state and Bisi Fayemi, wife of the state governor, also joined the protest over the slain students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi in Yobe State. Clad in black-on-black and hoisting placards bearing different messages, the women condemned the seeming intractable killings in the North that had claimed thousands of lives.
The women, at the event called for prayers, improved security network and eternal vigilance to end the incessant killings by the Boko Haram sect members in the Northern part of the country. Fayemi used the occasion to call on Nigerian mothers to join forces in prayers for the country for an end to the Boko Haram menace and for peace to reign in every part of the country. “Nigerian women have decided to speak with one voice to say enough is enough. Let’s put a stop to the killing of these innocent children; let us stop the massacre of the Lord’s anointed. Let there be a stop to the abduction of our children, because apart from the children who have been massacred, there are hundreds of young girls who have been abducted over the past couple of months and no one knows where they are,” she said.
On her part, Adelabu called for vigilance by residents and enjoined them to promptly report any suspicious movement of persons or objects to law enforcement agents in order to nip these attacks in the bud. She said the time had come for the whole country to unite against the Boko Haram menace, warning that it could escalate beyond today’s flashpoints if treated with levity. “The activities of the sect members are not only animalistic, but it can best be described as satanic invasion of Nigeria, which calls for prayers. Now is the time for women and indeed every Nigerian to rise and speak against this evil,” she said.