Ninety-five percent victims of ritual killings in Nigeria are women and children.
This is according to the Programme Officer of Project Alert, a non-governmental women’s rights organisation, Nnsini Udonta.
Speaking mid-week on the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD), which the organisation marked with a violence-free awareness walk in Agege Market and environs in Lagos, Nsini said the rising incidents of ritual killing in Nigeria has continued to threaten the lives of women as well as the girl-child, even as gender-based violence remained a constant threat to all women.
Making specific reference to the case of Oluwabamise Ayanwole, suspected to have been murdered for ritual purposes, Udonta said, ”All these ritual killings have been targeted at women. In fact, 95 per cent of victims are women. We are using this opportunity to say ‘no’ to ritual killings, no to domestic violence, no to rape, child sexual abuse and other forms of abuse.”
Describing this year’s IWD theme of ‘Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow #BreakTheBias,’ as apt, Udonta said the barrier of inequality in the country has continued to hinder women’s progress.
“Nigerian Women are ready to take key positions in the country but we are not given the chance. As we speak, many women have gone to the National Assembly in Abuja to protest the rejection of some bills seeking gender equality.
“That is part of the reasons we chose marketplace to carry traders along in demanding our rights from the government. And because in the market, we have fathers, mothers, perpetrators and also have survivors and we have victims to pass our message out to them.”
A male coordinator of Project Alert’s Sexual and Gender-based Violence Surveillance Ream for Ifako-Ijaiye zone, Adebo Adedayo, noted that collective effort is required to end violence against women across the world.
“Gender-based violence is a global phenomenon and it is very endemic. It has rendered a lot of women incapable, weak, in a physical condition that has negatively affected their position, aspiration, goals in society.