From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt and PATRICK AKPUH, Ibadan
Hundreds of women in Rivers and Oyo states yesterday demonstrated peacefully over the massacre of about 60 students of a unity school in Yobe State last week by Boko Haram. The protests followed a similar one held in Lagos this week.
The women, who dressed in black clothes, armed with placards, marched from Isaac Boro Park in Port Harcourt to the temporary venue of the Rivers State House of Assembly, where they were received by the Speaker, Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree.
The placards read: “The next child could be yours”, “Have we lost our humanity”, “Nigerian women mourn”, “Only cowards murder children” and “Rest in peace, beautiful ones”. They condemned the heinous activities of the Islamist sect and called on the Federal Government to rise up to the security challenges in the country.
Meanwhile, the Assembly has condemned the attack on innocent students by the terrorist group. Hon. Amachree expressed this when concerned women of the state and the National Association of Women Journalists visited the Assembly in protest over the massacre of the students of Federal Government College, Bini Yadi, Yobe State.
Amachree, who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Golden Chioma, said the Assembly had earlier expressed its displeasure over the killings and urged the executive to set aside a day of mourning for the deceased students.
Leader of the Concerned Women of Rivers State and spokesperson of the Federal Government Girls’ College, Abuloma, Old Students’ Association, Gbarakuma Egba, told the lawmakers that they were concerned about the killings of the innocent children.
She urged the Federal Government to step up actions to curb the insecurity and waste of lives in the North and protect the lives of the people.
“We just came out to air our grievance to say enough is enough for these killings. I mean, it is worrisome that people can move into a school to harm harmless children and their teachers alongside.
“So, what is our fate? That’s our fear. The case of the Federal Government College is what triggered this demonstration. This is because this Federal Government College harbours children from all over the country, and even foreigners.
“Our appeal is that government should look into the killings. They should beef up security and they should try to track down these people”.
Also yaesterday, over 200 women yesterday took to the streets of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, to register their grievances over the killings of the school children.
Leader of the women, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, said the protest was organised to express the sadness of mothers to the killings of “their children”, who she referred to as the future of Nigeria.
Her words:“Dozens of our children were murdered in their sleep in a most barbaric manner. We have also become accustomed to sad tales of how some mindless characters have turned the northern part of our country to a huge theatre of war. We note with deep sadness that in spite of the declaration of a state of emergency in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno, the security agencies seem to have no answer to the attack of these people.”
Anyanwu-Akeredolu, who is also the president of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, also said that the primary purpose of governance should be the security of Nigerians.
She described as disturbing, the notion that citizens now feel less protected by the government.
“Our politicians should cast aside partisan consideration in dealing with this problem. All of us are victims and we must all rise in unison against the problem,” she said.
The protest march terminated at the Office of the Oyo State Governor, where Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Alake, addressed them.
Lauding their courage and concern, Alake sympathized with those who have been affected in the killings. He said that the state government was aware that the ugly security situation in the country portends grave dangers if not urgently and adequately addressed.
“The killing of our future leaders is not acceptable and in Oyo State, we condemn the activities of the perpetrators of this crime. We also urge the military to step up their surveillance activity in order to put a stop to these killings,” he noted