Owo Massacre: Women Groups Give FG Ultimatum on Insecurity

Leading Women Groups under the aegis of WOMANIFESTO give Federal Government FG, a month ultimatum to take measures to end insecurity in the country following the Owo Church massacre.

Representatives of the women groups held an emergency zoom meeting after last Sunday’s massacre at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, and expressed worry at the government’s inability to stem the spate of killings across the country.

The women described the prevailing situation as an indication that the government has failed in its responsibility to Nigerians hence, gave FG a month ultimatum to end insecurity.

In a statement issued at the end of a 2-hour emergency meeting, WOMANIFESTO submitted, “If by July 5, 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 their lives of our citizens.

DEMAND IMMEDIATE ACTION

The women issued a 5-point demand, asking President Mohammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, the Nigeria Police, and all other relevant Federal Law Enforcement Agency to take immediate measures beyond condemning this barbaric act – to end the insecurity in the country.

The statement signed by WOMANIFESTO co-convener, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi noted,” 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.

They pointed out, “at least 14, 641 people have been killed across the six regions in Nigeria in the past 3 years, and in just the first 5 months of this year, about 3173 have been killed and more than 2293 abducted in similar circumstances”.

“Over 3, 515 people have died as a result of violent attacks between January and June 2022, with 1, 214 deaths in March alone, ranking higher than the 996 deaths recorded in January (Nigeria Security Tracker): the statement read.

The women also demanded among others, immediate publication of all the victims of the Owo massacre including those that died as well as the injured.

They asked that government must demonstrate accountability and carry out a speedy investigation that is conclusive – leads to arrests, successful judicial prosecution, and sentencing of the killers. 

They also demanded that both Ondo State and federal governments must make immediate contact, provide constant updates, and appropriate succor for all the families of victims of the tragedy

The women also called for the urgent release of the state of national security status report to fulfill the constitutional duty of the President and the security agencies.

They requested transparent communication of the performance of security establishments in light of the huge budgetary provisions allocated annually to the counter-terrorism war.  

Most of the women in attendance at the meeting wept uncontrollably while expressing fear that the country might have collapsed as governance has been left in the hands of enemies of the state.

The women strongly condemned the current fixation of Nigeria’s public officials and other politicians on the 2023 elections in a country they noted: “has many evident signs of being on the brink of collapse and unconscionable, unkind, and cynical diversion of energy that should be focused on securing anxiety-numbed citizens”.

“We want our President, Governors, and lawmakers to immediately cease continuing to “major in the minors” and re-prioritize the safety and security of citizens to the top of our national agenda.

“We demand that they focus on the existential threats bedeviling Nigerians now” they demanded”, the WOMANIFESTO noted. 

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