By Martins Odeh
Abuja – The Northern Nigeria Women Initiative (NNWI), has urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts at abating the widespread killings by militia groups in the country.
Mrs Charity Echor, National President of the group made the call at the maiden National Executive Meeting of the initiative on Sunday in Abuja.
She said the country was losing its innocent citizens to the “senseless’’ killings in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Yobe and Borno.
Echor said that it was the responsibility of the federal government to protect the lives and properties of all citizens as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
She said it was worrisome that the lives of Nigerians had gradually become worthless, adding that the central government that controlled all the security apparatus must step up effort to stop the carnages.
“We are not happy with the regular flow of blood from the North east to the Benue valley; we consider the onslaught on our region unacceptable.
“We are the victims, our Children are caught in the web, our people are wasted and those who are living are caged in IDPs’ camps.
“Our husbands who are serving in the military are regularly taken away from us in their efforts to fight those waging these wars against us; we have become more vulnerable in our land.
“The unity and peace of the northern region is being threatened which is why we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, to tighten the security of Nigeria against these evil people,’’ she said.
According to her, the country’s potential for greatness can only be achieved in the atmosphere of peace and stability.
She said the political leaders must ensure security of all regions of the country by providing good governance and development.
On girl Child education in the region, Echor said the group was working on a realistic template to improve enrolment of girls in schools.
She said that sensitisation campaigns would be intensified in the 19 states of the north this year to facilitate a holistic coverage.
The national president said the group was prepared to partner with relevant international agencies and those of governments to achieve the herculean task.
“The statistics of school drop-out in the various states of the north are mind boggling and we intend to change the narrative for the better.
“If we can achieve this, then the issue around early marriages would become a thing of the past.
“Teenage marriages have become a phenomenon because of the huge population of uneducated girls and poverty in homes.
“It has nothing to do with Islamic region as the founder of the religion is celebrated today because of his knowledge, wisdom and fear of God.
“We are therefore insisting on the blend of religious studies and western education in order to become fully liberated’’, she said.
On women participation in politics, Echor said the government should ignite the full implementation of the 35 per cent affirmation, adding that northern women would not support political parties that promised less.
“The body will support women politicians seeking political positions irrespective of the political parties they belong as we are tired of working without gains.
“We are working hard to at least produce a female governor for any of the northern states in 2019. We are more than ever before positioning ourselves to bargain from a point of advantage’’, Echor said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the initiative is committed to economic empowerment of women and youth through capacity building, skills acquisition and development.
The body’s objective is to also ignite, harness and build the potentials of northern women not only in decision making process, but also in the general social and economic life of the family.
NAN further reports that part of the group’s goals include peace and conflict resolution, improved health of women and children, improved welfare of women, economic empowerment, family functionality as well as political participation.
Some of the executive members in attendance include Chief Esther Oga-Ero, wife of the Paramount Ruler of Egede Kingdom, Mrs Sadiya Waziri, Dr Aisha Lemu, Hon. Fati Abubakar and Mrs Winnie Fanaka.