Armed ViolenceNews

#SecureOurLives: Nigerian Women Rights Groups Demand End To Bloodshed

The organisations raised concerns over the rate of violent attacks in the country and suggested ways through which the government’s response could be improved.

A coalition of women’s rights organisations, the Feminist Womanifesto Group, has called on the Nigerian government to improve on its handling of insecurity and terrorism. 

In a statement obtained by HumAngle on Monday, June 21, 2021, the coalition called on the government to bring bloodshed to an end.

It advised the government to “engage and involve states and communities in security management especially in security provisioning and ensure state and community needs and risks influence the deployment of security assets.”

The group expressed worry that Nigeria is one of the most unstable and terrorised countries in the world. 

“We are currently ranked third in the world with a death toll of 25,711 people killed between 2010-2019. This does not include those murdered, kidnapped, assaulted, raped, and abducted since 2020. Nigerians are gradually being paralyzed with the fear of violence, unable to farm, travel, socialize or go to school and even in our homes, we are still not safe,” it noted.

Women and children, the coalition said, bear the major brunt arising from wars and conflict and are often the worst-hit set of people.

“We are therefore concerned about this spate of violence pervading the nation; we call on the government to TAKE ACTION to end the insecurity and bloodshed,” it said.

In their demands, the girls’ and womens’ rights groups asked the Nigerian government to set up early warning and response mechanisms while ensuring women’s participation in peace and security decision-making.

“Incidences of attackers spending hours killing and maiming citizens in communities must end. Build on women’s indigenous knowledge to involve them in the community peace architecture as mediators and negotiators,” the coalition urged.

The groups said the government should conduct daily security briefings, noting that Nigerians need the assurance that the attacks around the country are being recorded and addressed collaboratively by relevant state actors under the supervision of the President.

While calling for transparency and accountability in the country’s security spending, they argued that the “link between our huge defense budget and the safety and security of Nigerians must be reinforced.”

Nigerians demand accountability from state security forces and governors on how defense budgets and security votes are implemented,” the groups stressed.

On kidnapping, they maintained that there must be a national response to the menace.

“Until the menace of kidnapping is brought under control, all kidnapping cases should be handled centrally, aligned to a strategy/policy to be implemented by the Office of the National Security Adviser,” the statement said.

“Nigeria’s security forces are stretched, dogged with allegations of corruption and abuse, and the country is awash with small arms and light weapons in the middle of an economic recession, high unemployment and food insecurity. The increasing crime rate and violence are alarming and of great concern to everyone,” it added.

“Few can sleep soundly for fear, and the uncertainty is unbearable. Nigeria is inflicted with a thousand cuts and haemorrhaging, and we need to stop the bleeding and needless deaths. The insecurity endangers the continued existence of the country, and every citizen is at risk.”

The coalition further tasked the public to take part in a noise challenge on Tuesday, June 22, as part of a protest against lingering insecurity.

“Between 9.00 and 9.05 a.m., take part in the noise challenge: toot horns, bang pots/desks etc., call/yell/readout Section 14(2) of the Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria: “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.’’ Do it again at 12 noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Post videos of yourself/others participating online using the hashtag #SecureOurLives,” it said.

It also asked Nigerians to use #SecureOurLives posters as their display pictures and wear black clothes to honour lives lost to insecurity in the country.

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