..as women demand reengineering of security architecture
In expressing their dissatisfaction, pains, and demands for justice towards the massacre of worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, women groups across Nigeria, led by wife of Ondo State Governor, Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, today, jointly cried for justice for the victims and a stop to such evil occurrence in Nigeria.
Speaking, the First Lady of Ondo State, who led Women groups in collaboration with Womanifesto, on a solidarity walk to the Governor’s office, described the gathering as painful, saying that it was a way for Mothers to express their griefs and demand justice.
She said: “A painful and doleful gathering this is; one that I truly wish we do not have to make, but which we are constrained to do because the carnage of Sunday June 5, 2022, at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owaluwa street, Owo, put a bad razor on that bond that binds us to our own, hence we bleed.
“In mourning, we have chosen this way to express our grief, to say our sense of huge personal loss, and to demand that the beasts who frittered away the vast labour of mothers by slaughtering and maiming our own be made to answer for this heinous act”.
She stated that the condolence walk was also to identify with mothers who lost children and husbands to the incident and to tell the Governor that women are solidly behind him as he continues to prioritise the protection of lives of residents.
The First Lady who commended the great display of concern, compassion and courage by the governor as a leader, therefore, prayed for the repose of the lost souls, strength for the affected families, quick recovery for the injured and unbridled peace for the state.
Earlier in her welcome address, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Mrs. Adebunmi Osadahun, while expressing how devastated women were about the sad incident, said women were proud of Governor Akeredolu’s steadfastness among his colleagues in Nigeria when it comes to security issue.
She noted that the horrendous act wasn’t just a crime against humanity but sin against God, that women groups deemed it proper to show solidarity as mothers and appealed to the Olowo of Owo and all Yoruba leaders to rise to the challenge and do something in defence of the people they’re leading.
The Convener of Womanifesto group, Dr. Abiola Akinyode-Afolabi who presented a statement of demands signed by about 500 women groups in Nigeria to the governor, said all they wanted was justice for the victims, saying enough is enough of these cruel acts against our people.
Akinyode-Afolabi who affirmed that Governor Akeredolu has a distinct voice on security in Nigeria, called for reengineering of security architecture of the country, noting that until it’s done we can’t have peace.
She charged president Muhammad Buhari to take steps beyond mere condemnation of these cruel acts and provide comprehensive Restructuring of security architecture through national discourse.
She reeled out the women groups’ demands to include publcation of identities of the victims and memorial for the dead, and explicit investigation that will lead to the arrest of the culprits.
Other demands include constant updates about the state of security of the nation, while calling on UN to support the country in respect of the insecurity situation, and announced July 5th ultimatum to get responses to their demands.
In his response, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu ordered that a website containing the lists of the victims should be created before the burial mass, while commending the women for doing a yeoman’s job.
The women groups were later led to Olowo’s Palace by the wife of the deputy governor, Mrs Seun Aiyedatiwa, where HRM Oba Gbadegesi Ogunoye described the perpetrators of the dastardly act as beasts in human form.
He commended the women organisations for the move to call on the president to secure citizens’ lives at all cost, as he advocated federalism as a solution to the nation’s insecurity woe.
They ended the solidarity event at FMC Owo, where they checked on those undergoing treatment.
Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Media
(Office of the First Lady)
June 15, 2022.