By Josephine Agbonkhese
One of Lagos State’s busiest roundabouts, Allen Roundabout, a 2.9km distance from the state secretariat, came to a standstill, yesterday, when over 300 men, women and youths, gathered to mourn thousands of Nigerians who have been killed in different parts of the country, since the beginning of the year, calling on President Mohammadu Buhari to end the killings.
Clad in black and displaying placards with inscriptions such as ‘Stop these deaths’, ‘Not again’ and ‘More women in leadership will make a difference’, the group, led by women rights activists and civil society organisations including the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, FOMWAN, and the Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria, WOWICAN, chanted songs of mourning and took turns to also appeal to perpetrators of violence, in different Nigerian languages.
Demanding for peace across the country, spokesperson for the group, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Founder, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, said: “Today, we condemn all killings, whether perpetrated by Boko Haram, herdsmen or kidnappers. We are remembering, also, Nigerian women who have died due to our poor maternal healthcare system; and we are saying no woman deserves to die while giving birth. We are saying “enough is enough.
“Who are these killers that government cannot find them? Our people are being slaughtered daily like animals. We can no longer keep quiet about this; we want results from government.”
Akiyode-Afolabi reeled out statistics, saying: “In the first quarter of 2018 alone, in Benue State, no fewer than 534 persons lost their lives to the ongoing conflict between farmers and herders. In Nasarawa, at least 131 persons were killed. In Kaduna State, over 218 persons; In Taraba, at least 189; In Lagos, at least 45; In Rivers, at least 70; In Akwa-Ibom, at least 16; In Kwara, at least 54; In Kogi, at least 52; In Plateau, at least 87; In Adamawa, at least 67; In Zamfara, at least 75, and in Borno, at least 361 persons were killed. Edo State too has had it share of this horror. We are talking about the first quarter of 2018 only.”