The protesters demanded more action by government to check killings.
Some women, under the aegis of Nigerian Women Morn, embarked on peaceful protest on Thursday calling for an end to the “mindless killings and abduction” of pupils by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, in the North East region.
On the night of February 24, gunmen believed to be Boko Haram insurgents attacked the town of Buni Yadi in Yobe State killing over 40 people including 29 pupils of the Federal Government College in the town.
In Lagos, about 150 women clad in black marched, while singing mournful and protest songs, from the premises of Lagos Television in Agidingbi to the office of the Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola, in Alausa.
“We the Nigeria women are deeply concerned with the escalating rate of violence in the North East,” a statement by the protesting women read.
“We are particularly moved by the senseless killings of innocent children in the Federal Government College, Yobe and the abduction of 25 girls from their schools in Boro. We commiserate with the families of the slain children, women and men of Adamawa and Borno States and join in the solidarity to say NO MORE! ENOUGH OF THE KILLINGS!”
The protesting women called on the government to do all it can to stop the orgy of violence.
“We are here to today to prove a point and that point is Nigerian women morn. We are deeply saddened. We are concerned; we are worried. The colossal waste of lives, children are being killed; girls are abducted and used as sex slaves. Just yesterday, elders were rounded up and were killed. Killing has become a recurrent decimal and there comes a time in a nation when women, all of us will rise up in unison and say Enough is enough and we are saying stop the killings.
“We are here to say government must do enough. We must agonise less and organise for change. Our security operatives must be proactive and like we said adequate compensation the government must protect lives and property,” said the President, Women Arise and Campaign for Democracy (CD), Joe Odumakin.
“Formally we want to say that Nigerian women all over the country irrespective of tribe, irrespective of race, from East West North and South we have the same blood that flows in our veins and we are using this occasion to call on those who are terrorising the land to sheath their swords. We’ve had enough we want to stop tears, we want to stop the agony and we say, Nigeria must survive,” she added.
The convener of Nigerian Women Morn, Laila St. Matthew Daniel, also spoke of the reasons for the protest.
“This is a peaceful non-political, non-tribal protest. We are calling on government to rise up and hear our cries and do something to what is happening to our children, our women and our fathers because it’s not just the children and that why we’ve come out. Women are the matrix of the society; women are the core of the society.
“We just say stop the killing, stop the persecution, stop the genocide. Let or children be because they’re the future of `Nigeria and enough is enough. There comes a time when there is a trigger and the trigger is now that you see all of us together. So we just say to the government, we are tied of the killings, we are tired of the suffering, we are tired of the bombing they should find a lasting solution to this problem,” she said.
Another protester and Executive Director of Women Advocates, Abiola Akiyode, also spoke on reasons for the protest.
“Women have come out to ask for peace and to say enough is enough. All the killings must stop. We cannot continue waking up every morning to hear of mass slaughtering. This is genocide. We don’t want to see this anymore and that’s why we are here together to speak with one accord and say no to all these.
“One of the things we are proposing is for a need for us to have a national strategy to address it. It is obvious our security agencies have not done enough, it is obvious the government has not done enough. We cannot continue to die needlessly. These deaths are preventable,” she said.
The Lagos government delegation, which addressed the protesting women, was led by the Head of Service, Josephine Williams; Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, Lateef Raji; and the Commissioner for Information, Lateef Ibirogba.
“Your mission this morning is a very noble one. Honestly everybody shares in this pain,” said Mrs. Williams.
“I’m a mother, a grandmother, so I know exactly where you’re coming from and each time we hear of these killings you imagine how everybody stays spellbound to their television and wondering when it would cease.
“Some people have lost husbands; some people have lost wives. Some people have lost their children. Innocent people are being killed and I can feel that pain that goes through each and every one of you. I just want to say that women. Intelligence gathering entails information giving. Unless information comes, sometimes intelligence gathering cannot be as fruitful.”