Gender discrimination and inequality as a result of security challenges is one thing that has reduced women to live in fear and terror in Edo, one of the states in the eye of the insecurity storm in Nigeria.
And due to the poor socio-economic situation and the invasion of the country’s territory by foreigners from some parts of the country women, youths and children are largely affected by security threats.
This was the view of women in the state as obtained exclusively by WO. Female respondents from all works of life including the academics and security services say women are more at risk because of patriarchy. When women go to the farms, they are at risk of been attacked. When they travel for their businesses they are at risk of been adopted by these invaders for ransom or rape.
Women are at higher risk because of the structure of society. Women don’t carry arms and equally bears the burden of care for the young children hence they are usually the soft spot for attack by terrorists and bandits
- Women, children, and youths are always the final destinations of obnoxious laws and cultural practices in Nigeria. So in the aftermath of attacks, women and children suffer most. So their existential matrix is usually the spot that attacks and suffer during insecurity and crisis.
According to the third person’s account within the state, “The level of insecurity has instilled unhealthy fear in women, leaving them perpetually traumatic which makes them unproductive which negatively impacts her family, personal growth, and economic advancement for the society”.
The investigation also revealed that women constitute a vulnerable group of society. Have no ability for self-defence, protection, exposed to all manner of attacks, abuses, robbery, rape among others.
“Even the youths and children are exposed to the hostile and unfriendly environment also exposed to serious dangers, they also learn sometimes to become unfriendly, exposed to stray bullets, rape among others”, they disclosed.
On the effect of cultism in the state, they said, “Cultism is a fall out of insecurity, people get into it in the bid to protecting themselves. “Governmental failure, inability to enforce laws on part of the government, lack of will power to arrest, investigate and prosecute the crime of cultism, so many women in Benin now as fast turned into widows at a young age, children in Benin in their number becoming fatherless, sound morals eroded in society as a result of parental failure, that is the pursuit of greener pastures by parents thus neglecting home front, Western influence, and social media.
“Cultism is a major ill which plagues our city. It should be highly discouraged and any member caught should be severely punished to deter others from joining. Also, the sale of illegal firearms should as much as possible is drastically reduced. This will reduce the arms available to the cultists as well. State security should also be tightened, vigilante groups established, especially in areas that are notorious for cult clashes.
“The lock of Benin City and the multi-cultural population enhance and compound the cultism. The systemic problem of poverty and greed are what are fuelling the upsurge in cultism. The control or reduction must be a concerted effort of all and sundry.
Serious governmental responsibility, commitment on the part of the government to ensuring adequate protection of lives and property, state and regional security outfits.
The implications for women are grave and undermine their very existence. This is because of the burden of social and cultural constraints the society place on women for the dress they wear make an escape from danger and attacks difficult. This is why women and children are usually the major casualties.
What to do
“A feasible helpline is to shield women and children from Frontline and protected from attack. Women must be protected by society. This can also be enhanced by opening hotlines for women to report dangers, threats, and attacks to the security agencies.
“If nothing is done to stem the incessant attack and insecurity in society, more women and children may be lost. The very foundation of the society will be shaken and war of attrition may breakout, and women and children will still bear the brunt
“Vices in the higher institutions are reflections of the wider society. The political leaders and some other leaders flaunt their I’ll gotten wealth and even recruit the students as their assistance and pimps, so students envy the flamboyant lifestyle of the leaders, do the vicious circle continue
“Cultism can only control if everybody is involved and leaders live by example and not on rhetoric alone. Religious leaders must play their roles very well and focus on morals rather than prosperity.
“Higher institutions are not just for knowledge only, but to enrich the students with good morals. With the increase of vices in the institutions, it falls on the management to go back to the drawing board and develop a strategy to instill morals in her students.
“Some lecturers make use of cultists for their own personal purposes; this should be frowned against and penalized as it encourages cultism. Seminars can be held to remind students of the dangers in cultism and encourage them to report cases of persuasion from cultists.
“Strict punishment should be given by the school to any student in possession of firearms or involved in any form of violence, no matter how little. This is because most cult clashes start with a disagreement between two people and some others join cults to get revenge on those who offended them. For those in the early stages of education, close monitoring of the children can help. This is to easily identify those who have traits of violence so they can be helped on time.
“As such, they are prone to domestic violence. Poverty leads to school dropout especially observed for girls.
“There should be lectures on self-defense, skills acquisition and increased investment in girl-child education”, they concluded