Over 200 Women groups under the aegis of Womanifesto have strongly condemned the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, which resulted in the death of about 40 persons, including children, while many others were critically wounded.
In a statement signed by its co-convener, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the women groups called on President Mohammadu Buhari to go beyond condemning this barbaric act and ensure that law enforcement agencies take immediate measures to end insecurity in the country.
Womanifesto also demanded a comprehensive restructuring of Nigeria’s security architecture through a national conversation on a new constitution to replace the 1999 Constitution.
In a five-point demand, the group urged the government to publish the names of all victims of the Owo tragedy; demonstrate accountability and carry out a speedy investigation that is conclusive – leads to arrests, successful judicial prosecution and sentencing of the killers; make immediate contact, provide constant updates and appropriate succour for the families of victims of the tragedy.
It also wants the relevant authorities to present, as a matter of urgency, a state of national security status report to Nigerians in fulfilment of the constitutional duty of the President and the security agencies and transparently communicate the performance of the security establishments in light of the huge budgetary provisions allocated annually to the counter-terrorism war.
Akiyode-Afolabi added: “Womanifesto finds the current fixation of Nigeria’s public officials and other politicians with the 2023 elections in a country which has many evident signs of being on the brink of collapse, an unconscionable, unkind, and cynical diversion of energy that should be focused on securing anxiety-numbed citizens. We are shocked that our political leaders are continuing to ignore and downplay the rising trend of daily killings of Nigerians in states across the country at a dangerous time like this and instead giving priority to their personal quest for power. This is utterly condemnable.
“We want our president, governors and lawmakers across Nigeria to immediately cease from continuing to ‘major in the minors’ and reprioritise the safety and security of citizens to the top of our national agenda. We demand that they focus on the existential threats bedeviling Nigeria and Nigerians now.
“We shall be monitoring the response of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal and Ondo State governments to our demands. If by July 5, 2022, we do not see any strong signs of progress on our five demands, Nigerian women will take every step necessary to stand for the preservation of the lives of our citizens.”