Date Published: 08/21/09
Exasperated Women of the Niger Delta
By Seri N. Omo and Mary Bamfort
Women are always at the receiving end of wars, armed conflicts, civil unrest and even domestic violence. Such was the case during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) and all the sectarian riots, religious riots, fuel riots, and tribal upheavals which have occurred in the country thereafter. Sadly, it is the same story with the unending crisis in the Niger Delta; women are at the receiving end.
Because we form the economic hub of the affected areas whether in farming, fishing, or petty trade, women of the Niger Delta have borne the brunt of
and perennial insecurity.
We walk, work, eat, and sleep in harm’s way. While we acknowledge the many theoretical and practical measures and good intentions of government to address the issues which have buried us in sorrow for decades, we regret that in many respects, the results have been exceedingly slow in assuaging our plight.Consequently, we are inclined to support any programme that promises the faintest glimmer of hope to bring one debilitating component of our misery to an end.
Based on our fabled feminine instinct, we verily believe that the amnesty initiative of the Federal Government is better than the status quo which at best is an ill-defined state of belligerence with well-defined victims, THE WOMEN.
Let non-violent agitation for justice, equitable distribution of resources, massive and immediate development of the Niger Delta be carried on simultaneously with the disarmament programme of which women are the immediate beneficiaries.
Let us embrace the amnesty programme, warts and all, because, sooner or later, we will ask for it .
We thus appeal to all our sons and daughters, traditional rulers, legislators, elected and appointed officials, youth bodies, women’s groups, religious leaders, social and cultural organizations to step up and speak out in favour of disarmament and the general amnesty programme.
We must not rebuff any opportunity to give peace a chance. If there are any misgivings or flaws about the Amnesty Programme, let us discuss and correct such anomalies rather than reject the entire offer of an UNCONDITIONAL GENERAL AMNESTY. The clock is ticking. May God Bless You As You Speak.
Seri N. Omo Mary Bamfort