The groups said the report revealed that at least 14,641 people have been killed across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Women groups under the umbrella of Womenifesto, have given the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government a four-week ultimatum to stop killings in the country.
Womenifesto, made up of about 320 different women groups, gave the ultimatum in reaction to Sunday’s massacre at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, where terrorists attacked and killed no fewer than 22 worshippers.
The groups lamented the height of wanton killings across the country, stating that the Owo massacre was another evidence of blatant disregard for human lives by criminal gangs who have been marauding unchecked across Nigeria.
In a statement signed by Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, on behalf of the group, Womenifesto pointed out that report by Nigeria Security Tracker showed that across the country, over 3,515 people died as a result of violent attacks between January and June 2022, with 1,214 deaths recorded in March, ranking higher than the 996 deaths recorded in January.
The groups said the report revealed that at least 14,641 people have been killed across the six geopolitical zones of the country in the past three years; while in the first five months of this year, about 3,173 were killed and more than 2,293 abducted.
The groups said, “Women groups under the aegis of Womanifesto strongly condemn the attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State on the 5th of June, 2022 which left dozens of people, men, women and young persons dead and many others critically wounded.
“Our hearts go out to the families, friends and loved ones of all those affected by this vile and evil act. We also commiserate with the Catholic Community and the entire people of Ondo state.
“This cold-blooded massacre in St. Francis Church is yet another evidence of the blatant disregard for human life and the incessant murder of defenceless citizens by criminal gangs who have been marauding unchecked across our country.
“As a result, thousands of people are widowed and children orphaned. It is reported that over 3,515 people have died as a result of violent attacks between January and June 2022, with 1,214 deaths in March, ranking higher than the 996 deaths recorded in January (Nigeria Security Tracker).
“The Owo massacre in which citizens in their place of worship were killed, again raises the question of governance failure considering that our 1999 Constitution asserts security and welfare of citizens as a primary responsibility of the government.
“The same Constitution centralizes the command and control of security establishments in the Federal Government through the President of Nigeria as Commander-In-Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces.
“According to a report, at least 14,641 people have been killed across the six regions in Nigeria in the past three years, and in just the first five months of this year, about 3,173 have been killed and more than 2,293 abducted in similar circumstances.
“Unfortunately, the failure of the government to properly investigate or take tangible actions to ensure justice or deter future occurrences continues to exacerbate the crises. Since its insurgence in 2009, the herdsmen and banditry attacks have risen exponentially as the government has failed to demonstrate the capacity to address the insecurity plaguing the country.
“We, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, the Nigeria Police and all other relevant Federal Law Enforcement Agency to take immediate measures beyond condemning this barbaric act- to end the insecurity in the country.
“Womanifesto demands in the medium term, a comprehensive restructuring of Nigeria’s security architecture through a National Conversation on a new Constitution to replace the problematic 1999 Constitution.
“In the immediate term, however, we demand the following actions by the federal and Ondo State Governments: Publish the identities of all the victims of the Owo tragedy including those that died as well as the injured.
“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 all the families of victims of the tragedy by the federal and Ondo state governments.
“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.
“Transparently communicate the performance of the security establishments in light of the huge budgetary provisions allocated annually to the counter-terrorism war.”
The groups stated that they found “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.”
Further lamenting the seeming negligence of the deteriorating security situation in the country by the leaders, Womenifesto said, “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 continuing to ‘major in the minors’ and reprioritize 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.
“Finally, we shall be monitoring the response of President Muhammadu Buhari, the federal and Ondo state governments to our demands. If by July 5th, 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.
“We emphatically declare that “Enough is Enough!”
The groups include 9jafeminista, Abiodun Essiet Initiative for Girls, Above Whispers Foundation, Action Aid Nigeria, ACTS Generation GBV, Ade Grange Child Foundation, ADEM Community Human Development Foundation, Adinya Arise Foundation (AAF), Advocate for Health and Development Initiative, Advocacy for Women With Disabilities , African Women’s Initiative (AWI) and Albertiqs Extra Helping Hands Foundation.
Others include African Research Group on Gender, Association of ALIWE Daughters, Ajegunle Community Project, Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation, Alliances for Africa (AfA), Amazing Grace Inspirations, Aminchi Women Cooperative Society, Amnesty International Nigeria, ARDA Development Communication Inc., Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation., ASWHAN, ATATA Development and Empowerment Foundation (ADEF), Affirmative Action Initiative for Women (NCAA), Association of Nigeria Women's Business Network (ANWBN), Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture (AWITA), AWEP, ANWIB and Bring Back Our Girls.