On March 8 every year, the world through the United Nations, celebrates the gains and challenges of women. This year the theme is #ChooseToChallenge. And the message: A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.
Collectively, we can all help create Federal Government response to the harrowing menace of bandits: From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge- An apt time for a much needed message.
The country is in so much turmoil that the very basis of our co-existence is under threat. Women are being raped, kidnapped, killed; girls being abducted from school; family livelihoods threatened. There is fear everywhere making any hope for forging ahead on gender equality difficult since conflict does not promote progress.
Nigeria’s sub-national governments have lost confidence in the capability of the federal government to provide security and many cases of mass atrocities that claimed 4,558 lives nationwide in 2020 according to a recently released report by Global Rights, a Washington-based US human rights organization.
Another report recorded over 7000 killings, more than even countries at war and government is playing politics with the situation, preferring to deal with the offenders with kid gloves while women bear the brunt as victims and spouses/parents of the dehumanized.
In the face of the failure of government to checkmate the rampaging bandits now freely abducting students and messing up education in the country, states in the north are shutting down boarding facilities and even the entire school system. Affected are Yobe, Zamfara, Niger, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa and Sokoto states.
Reacting to huge public condemnation, the federal government through the presidential media aide, Garba Shehu stated, “We have the capacity to deploy massive forces against the banditsin the villages where they operate but our limitation is the fear of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits-our primary objectives are to get the hostages released safe, alive and unharmed”
We cannot definitely go on like this, being maimed, cowed and increasingly imprisoned by fear and helplessness. Not only does insecurity threaten our lives, it is eroding the few gains Nigerian women have recorded in the quest for equality and worse still, points to a darker future for the girl child. Therefore, as the world rises to challenge the things keeping the female gender, our utmost concern, the evil to Challenge is Mounting Insecurity and a Government insensitive to the harm to Nigerian Women and Girls.
Women and their families have a right to live in peace, right to farm, trade, go to school and work unmolested. We challenge poor governance, leadership that cannot rise to occasion and defend its citizens. We challenge any act by commission or omission that diminishes the little gain gender advocates have fought for over the decades.
We challenge our torch bearers not to lose hope but keep shining the light and call on all women to collectively condemn the unfolding madness playing out in the country to demand a better Nigeria for all.
#Choose To Challenge Insecurity/Poor Governance
#Center for Media Environment and Development Communication, CEMEDEC
NDWF in a group photo