By Victoria Ojeme
The International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day, is a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on September 21. To this end, this interview with Fati Ibrahim X-rays some of the issues.
Today the world celebrates World Peace Day, what does it mean to you as a mother and a woman?
It doesn’t mean anything to me, is there peace? There is no peace and as a mother and as a woman we are sad with what is happening today in Nigeria especially, not to talk of the continent and globally- there is no peace.
The United Nation General Assembly set up the Peace Day since 1983 and yet have we sat down to evaluate where are we since at that point, are things getting better or are they getting worse? For me, things are getting worse because you find out the killings that are happening all over in Nigeria; there is a lot of injustice that is being done today. People are aggrieved, so many are sitting down doing nothing, unemployment so what are we talking about, what peace are we talking about? For me, we the Pan African Women for Justice Peace and Development, we have started work and in fact, we are planning to do a show, No More Xenophobia, stop the killings. We are saying let’s say the truth, there is nothing to celebrate let’s come out and talk to our leaders and say it as it is. We are in a democracy , you Can’t just do anything and we keep quite.
Women should speak out because the youth are our children, leaders of tomorrow and at the end of the day, these children will be becoming criminals because they don’t have jobs to do and we sit down and keep quiet and say we are celebrating peace; I am sorry there is no peace. And we are yet to get peace until women are being carried along until we have our justice.
Recently some Nigerians who have been evacuated from South Africa were given forty thousand Naira worth of data, will that solve any problem?
That is not the issue, it can never solve any problem, let the federal government do something that will be sustainable and you see we don’t have a synergy. Why should you bring them back, give them peanuts and set them up? If I may ask, why are we celebrating these people? A lot of them even went without papers; they are criminals. Why are you giving them when some women and children have been here for a long time, you did not do that to them?
The Nigerian Government should be more proactive to do the needful not just talking, I believe in action, we want action not just propaganda, let our leaders be sincere, let justice prevail. Our rule of law has been violated, we have the right to peace and so many amenities. We are in a democracy.
Let me talk of Nigeria more because this is where is paining me and this is where I live with my family. Poverty is ravaging our country as far as I am concerned, there is no peace so there is no need to celebrate peace. UN should go back to the drawing board and look at what is missing. And again all the government, there should be legislation, there should be programs that will carry along with women especially people with special needs. So many people are aggrieved and when you talk, they shut you up or they kidnap you.
Kidnapping has become a business today and for me, I am not afraid to be kidnapped, I am an activist, I am outspoken on any issue so I am not afraid of anybody.
What has Pan African Women done to improve the lives of women and children in IDP camps?
We have done our own bit, we cannot do everything. We have taken succor to them, we have taken training to them, we do a lot of trainings, I am an entrepreneur so we give them trainings, we have taken medicals to them to look at them, you see that is why I say there is no synergy. Everybody will go to IDP camp, pose and snap pictures with them. Only God knows where they take those pictures to make money, so there is no synergy right from NEMA, the Humanitarians groups. There is a lot of corruption going on, the things do not even get to the people that need to get.
And our association has done so much in our own little way, we never go anywhere to look for money and they know that so for me, I am not just doing the work but its God’s ministry.
What do you have to tell the Government?
As far as I am concerned, there is no leadership, if we had leadership, some of our problems will be taken care of.