A coalition of over 500 women organisations under the aegis of Womanifesto have tabled a five-point demand for the government to stop the menace of killings in Nigeria.
Reacting to the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State, the women group gave the government one month ultimatum to do something about their demands.
The Convener of Womanifesto and Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, raised these issues in a statement on behalf of the 500 groups.
The statement was titled, ‘Womanifesto condemns the killing, gives Nigerian government four weeks ultimatum to address the incessant killings.’
Womanifesto quoted a report by
Nigeria Security Tracker that “over 3, 515 people have died as a result of violent attacks between January and June, 2022, with 1, 214 deaths in March, ranking higher than the 996 deaths recorded in January.”
The statement reads, “In the immediate term, however, we demand the following actions by the Federal and Ondo State governments:
“Publish the identities of all the victims of the Owo tragedy including those that died as well as the injured.
“Demonstrate accountability and carry out a speedy investigation that is conclusive – leads to arrests, successful judicial prosecution and sentencing of the killers.
“Make immediate contact, provide constant updates, and appropriate succour for all the families of victims of the tragedy by the Federal and Ondo state governments.
“Present as a matter of urgency, a state of national security status report to Nigerians in fulfilment of the constitutional duty of the President and the security agencies
“Transparently communicate the performance of the security establishments in light of the huge budgetary provisions allocated annually to the counter-terrorism war.
“Unfortunately, the failure of the government to properly investigate or take tangible actions to ensure justice or deter future occurrences continues to exacerbate the crises. Since its insurgence in 2009, the herdsmen and banditry attacks have risen exponentially as the government has failed to demonstrate the capacity to address the insecurity plaguing the country.
“The Owo massacre in which citizens in their place of worship were killed, again raises the question of governance failure considering that our 1999 constitution asserts security and welfare of citizens as a primary responsibility of the government. The same constitution centralises the command and control of security establishments in the Federal Government through the President of Nigeria as Commander-In-Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces.
“We, therefore, call on President Mohammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, the Nigeria Police and all other relevant federal law enforcement agencies to take immediate measures beyond condemning this barbaric act- to end the insecurity in the country.
“Womanifesto demands in the medium term, a comprehensive restructure of Nigeria’s security architecture through a mational conversation on a new constitution to replace the problematic 1999 constitution.
“Womanifesto finds the current fixation of Nigeria’s public officials and other politicians with the 2023 elections in a country which has many evident signs of being on the brink of collapse, an unconscionable, unkind, and cynical diversion of energy that should be focused on securing anxiety-numbed citizens.
“We are shocked that our political leaders are continuing to ignore and downplay the rising trend of daily killings of Nigerians in states across the country at a dangerous time like this and instead giving priority to their personal quest for power. This is utterly condemnable.
“We want our President, Governors, and lawmakers across Nigeria to immediately cease from continuing to “major in the minors” and reprioritize the safety and security of citizens to the top of our national agenda. We demand that they focus on the existential threats bedeviling Nigeria and Nigerians now.
“Finally, we shall be monitoring the response of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal and Ondo State Governments to our demands. If by July 5th 2022, we do not see any strong signs of progress on our five demands, Nigerian women will take every step necessary to stand for the preservation of the lives of our citizens. We emphatically declare that Enough is Enough!.”
Among the 500 groups included Action Aid Nigeria, Bring Back Our Girls, 100 Women Lobby Group, Yiaga Africa, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Christian Women in Nigerian Politics, International Federation of Women Lawyers, HEIR Women Development, Nigeria Labour Congress, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, Nigerian Women Trust Fund and Nigeria Association of Women Journalists.