On the 3rd of July, 2018, Women's Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN) organised a peaceful rally in Abuja to call for a stop to the numerous killings in Nigeria on a daily basis as a result of the following:
*Attacks by armed herdsmen on farmers, otherwise known as farmer-herder clashes
*Rural banditry, etc.
The messages on the placards were clear. 'Women of Nigeria are tired of bloodshed', 'Bloodshed is not red carpet', 'These killings must stop', 'This is one death too many', 'Every life matters', 'Nigeria should not remain a killing field', etc. I am a valued member of WSRN - that was why I participated in the peaceful rally.
WSRN is made up of over 40 women organisations working at different levels. WSRN is a women civil society initiative that seeks to improve women's substantive participation in conflict prevention and peace-building processes. From the rural communities to the national level, WSRN is committed to the promotion of peace as a basic human right. It was on this premise that women, under the auspices of WSRN, gathered in solidarity with sisters and brothers across communities in Nigeria experiencing armed conflict, wanton killings and other forms of human degradation. The rally was held simultaneously in at least 20 states of Nigeria in honour of victims, survivors and families of all violent and inhuman killings across Nigeria.
Women and children are the ones bearing the brunt of the killings! WSRN urged the Nigerian government to live up to its responsibility of protecting life and property. The procession moved from Unity Fountain to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), where the Execurive Secretary, Barrister Tony Ojukwu said the NHRC was in solidarity with WSRN in its advocacy against wanton killings in Nigeria. The National Coordinator of WSRN, Joy Onyesoh said: 'According to Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, every person has the right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life...'
Joy urged our leaders, the Security and Law Enforcement Agencies to uphold and implement the extant laws by doing the needful and arresting/prosecuting the culprits. Joy also called on the Nigerian government to set up a Commission to look into the armed herders' killings, with a view to proffering lasting and fair solutions. Joy urged the Federal Government to provide holistic support for the families of the victims and the survivors. Nigerian citizens were also urged to promote peace and shun violence.
A gender activist, Dorothy Njemanze in her own contribution, urged the NHRC to keep an up to date record of all human lives lost while sustaining the pressure via advocacy for justice to be done. All the protesters stood in unison that indeed, too many lives have been lost in Nigeria and we, the mothers are crying out loud for an end to this unnecessary carnage!
*UNSCR 1261 forbids the use of children in armed conflict. 900 child recruits released from Nigerian militia CJTF) https://t.co/WDSRkotC5o