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WOMEN AND CHILDREN AT THE RECEIVING END OF VIOLENT ATTACKS IN NIGERIA

WOMEN AND CHILDREN AT THE RECEIVING END OF VIOLENT ATTACKS IN NIGERIA
The series of bomb attacks which rocked the Northern Nigerian city of kano on 20th January, 2012 and later escalated to Bauchi state (Another state in Northern Nigeria) have been described as the deadliest and unprecedented evil ever to be perpetrated in our land. The bomb attacks unleashed by the dreaded Islamic Jihadist Boko Haram (Meaning western education is sin) sect have continued unabated to become almost a daily occurrence. As of 26th of January, it was reported that about 30 gunmen rained bombs and gunfire on a police station in Kano, killing a woman. The death tolls from the attacks have risen to over 250.
In recent times, the spates of violent attacks motivated by religion, ethnicity or other causes have become recurrent feature of our social life. Women and children in Nigeria continue to suffer disproportionately from these orgies of violence either as victims or survivors, for over 2years when the attacks assumed a dangerous dimension.
The most pitiable aspect is the cruel manner and gruesome pattern of violence which have been unleashed particularly on women and children in the wake of these attacks. On many occasions, pregnant women, lactating mothers and children have been wickedly, brutalized, maimed and hacked down by machetes or destroyed by bomb blasts. Though, it is apparent that the reproductive and domestic responsibilities of women and the weak nature of children make them more vulnerable to these attacks. But the conduct and frequency of the striking pattern of the attacks on women and children which occurred in the Jos, a city in Northern, part of Nigeria however suggest that women and children are deliberately targeted.
One of such attacks occurred on March 7, 2010, in 3 farming villages near Jos, plateau state, where over 500 people including many women and children were slaughtered. Barely a week after this attacks, another violent attack occurred which left about 12 people dead. Victims of the attacks included pregnant women and children who were wickedly burnt to death and some had their tongues cut out.
In a striking resemblance to the Jos attack of March 2010, again, on February 23, 2011 armed attack by Fulani and Hausa men on Bere Village, near Jos in Nigeria’s Plateau State, left two men and 16 women and children dead. In that attack, a woman, Sarah Isuwa was reported to have been killed together with three of her children. Her eldest daughter Salomi who was heavily pregnant was not spared from the machetes of the attackers. One-year-old Hope Pam was also killed with her mother as they tried to flee from the attackers. Their bodies were found few metres from their home, with her mother bent over and cuddling Hope in an attempt to shield her from the bullets and machetes. A similar pattern of attack was recorded on 28th of December, 2011 in another village near Jos, where a husband and wife with their child were found dead with bullets holes all over them.
However, other attacks have not indicated any deliberate target on women and children but many women and children have suffered severely from these attacks. On 29th December, 2011, attackers threw a bomb into an Arabic school in Delta state, southern Nigeria wounding six children and an adult. In a communal clash which occurred on 2nd of January, 2012; between two communities; Ezillo and Ezza in Ebonyi state of Nigeria, children between the ages of three to five and women were reported to be among the victims of the attacks which claimed about 66 lives.
Families have been wiped out, many have become widowers and widows and many more have been turned barren at old age by these callous attacks. One Ms Dike a member of the St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, near Abuja where the deadliest of the Boko Haram Bomb blast occurred on 2011 Christmas day, cried out in despair thus “I have lost my husband and my children. I have lost all. My life is empty and void. I don’t know where to go now. No husband and no child; where do I start my life? Somebody should tell me I am dreaming”. http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/news/31355-my-agony-by-w...
Another woman, Mary Pam who managed to escape the 28th of December 2011 attacks which occurred near Jos, narrated how she managed to escape, according to her “When the Fulani herdsmen came around late in the night, I managed to escape through the window before they killed my son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter with guns,"
The grotesque pictures of the pattern of violence visited on women and children are better imaged than experienced. Many who witnessed the violence suffered by these women and children continued to be haunted by its memories?
This senseless and mindless pattern of violent attacks especially on women and children is becoming one too many and is gravitating towards a dangerous boiling point which may erupt into serious conflicts or full scale civil war if immediate measures are not taken to nip it in the bud.
The Nigerian Government rather than help the situation decided to further overheat the system by removing the fuel subsidy on the 1st of January. This sparked off the #Occupy Nigeria movement protests which crippled the country for over one week, plunging more women who are already poor into deeper poverty. Watch the video documentary of Nigerian Women views of the removal of the fuel subsidy, #Women Occupy Niaja....http://youtu.be/bHZurWPn8rY and NIGERIAN WOMEN SAY ABSOLUTE NO TO FUEL SUBSIDY REMOVAL |www.worldpulse.com
The imposition of state of emergency on 15 local government areas hardest hit by Boko Haram’s violent attacks did not deter the attackers rather the situation became worse.
The Nigerian government appeared clueless and powerless as to what measures to take to curb these attacks, till date government is yet to take any concrete security measures to protect the lives and properties of the Nigerian people against these attacks. Government have rendered little or no assistance to families who have suffered these attacks as many who survived the attacks but are injured continue to suffer in ill- equipped hospitals without adequate medical care. The hospitals in Kano were reported to be over stretched as a result of the bomb attacks of 20th of January, 2012 and in such situations there is tendency to give preference to treating injured men and boys above women and girls
The arrest of the leader of the Boko Haram sect who have claimed responsibility for most of these violent attacks and his subsequent escape from police custody have further heightened the level of insecurity and eroded the trust the public have in government to protect and safeguard their lives and properties.
The inability to identify the people who have lost their lives, coupled with lack of accurate and credible data of deaths from these attacks have also not helped matters. Getting the actual numbers of women, men, boys and girls who have been devastated by these attacks continue to be a big challenge. Many a times, government have deliberately downplayed and reduced the actual number of casualties resulting from these attacks, as a result the number of casualties are been regarded as mere data instead of human beings whose lives government have responsibility to account for. Inability to identify victims of these attacks has left many families in despair. Many are not certain whether their loved ones are either dead or missing. This steady and gradual descent into violence and chaos is a worrisome development which many believed may lead to the disintegration of Nigeria.
Nigerian women have on many occasions carried out protests, fasted and prayed and written several petitions to the government all to no avail. It is high time government took this issue very seriously by conducting thorough investigations into the attacks and maximum penalty imposed on the perpetrators to deter future occurrence. It is also of utmost importance for government and the broader civil society to conduct an investigation into the striking pattern of attacks on women and children to uncover the actual motive behind such patterns for appropriate interventions. Effective procedures must be put in place to facilitate timely identification of victims in other to give accurate accounts and sex – disaggregated data of death tolls.
It is instructive also that adequate security measures which take cognizance of the peculiarities of women and children should be prioritize in finding sustainable solutions that will guarantee the lives and properties of the Nigerian people. Taking these steps with other security measures will help reduce fatalities and manage impacts of such violent attacks on women and children in Nigeria.

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usha kc's picture

Hi sis, The sad incidents

Hi sis,
The sad incidents was herd thorugh many news chanels. And, your article has made to know more about it.
Sad to know about but, hope remains on people like you who want peace and development.
thank you for shaing,

hugs

Titilope's picture

Thanks

Thanks for the comment . We hope to find lasting solutions to this menance/

lawal4eva's picture

Great Piece!!!!

Thanks for informing the world about our ordeals and I also commend you for writing objectively from your level of information. But I will like to also complete this article with the inclusion of the extra judicial killing of about 900 Boko Haram members in 2009 which led to their recent over violent nature, they were group of misinformed Muslims who conducted their activities of rejection of western education peacefully as they see it as anti-Islamic knowledge that promotes Darwinism and atheism, seeking Islamic education system that will teach the good side of western education along side Islamic morals until they were shot by security of the Borno state named "Operation Flush" which was enforcing the usage of crash helmet by motorcyclist then. The Boko Haram members were on their way to bury their dead members and were prevented by the security as some of the members on motorcycles were not carrying helmets, they resisted and were shot in the process but no death was recorded or reported but injuries, their leader Muhammed Yusuf made a threat and stated they will seek means of protecting themselves since they were no longer safe in their own state and neither got apologies or payment of hospital bills for their wounded members. Few days later, violence broke out in Bauchi state (another state in Northern Nigeria) and spread to Borno state where the above numbers of its members were killed and their leader Muhammed Yusuf also arrested by the army and handed over to the police who killed him in custody with handcuffs on him.

In Plateu state the Hausa Fulanis are also suffering from the violence too as about 300 of them were killed and buried in a dry well few years back after been promised by their neighbours who killed them earlier that they will not fight until they were awoken and killed later in the night and they were also killed on Sallah day at a prayer ground in large numbers and about 200 vehicles burnt. It's also reported that the Hausa Fulani's have also suffered greatly too as they were also killed and eaten by cannibal in the state.

Violence is a very bad act that should be condemned in any form especially if human lives are involved. Living together peacefully without sentiment of whatever form, tribalism, racism, religious prejudice or stereotype. The world will be peaceful and rid if violence of ill thoughts are curtailed. Islam does not encourage violence against fellow human beings as stated in the article below:

CORRECTING THE MISCONCEPTION, MISREPRESENTATION AND MISINTERPRETATION OF THE QUR'AN

Written by Abdulrazaq Oyebanji Hamzat
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 14:57
I decided to come up with this piece from the learned Islamic scholars who had previously explained the said challenge due to the challenge I was confronted with in some forums where Christians claimed the Quran supported aggression against non Muslims; this is a misinterpretation of the words of God and misrepresentation. This piece is for those people who wish to be enlightened and I pray that the almighty
give you the understanding.

The letter from the prophet which reads below is the truth(A message from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) over 1400Yrs ago.

In 628 AD, a delegation from St. Catherine’s Monastery came to Prophet Muhammed(SAW) and requested his protection. He responded by granting them a charter of rights.

"This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullahi, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.

No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).. not just the truth for the people living during the time of the prophet, but will continue to be true until the day of Judgement.

In further supporting the above letter from prophet Mohammed (SAW) the Quran also has this to say, Not all these people are alike. From amongst the people of the book are those who stand in the night time, reciting the verses of God while prostrating. They truly believe in God and the Day of Judgment, they encourage goodness, admonish evil and take lead in doing acts of virtue; such are the righteous people. Whatever good they will do is not going to go waste. And God is aware of the pious people. (3:113-5)

Indeed those who believe [– Muslims –] and those who are Jews, and the Nazarenes [the rightly guided Christians], and the Sabeans, whoever [amongst them] believes in Allah, the Day of Judgment, and does good deeds, for him there is going to be reward before his Lord: They will neither have any fear of the future nor sorrow of the past. (2:62). Here comes the verse of the holy Quran quoted as a command for muslim to attack the Christians,This is what the Quran says in... At-Taubah sura 9:29 " Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." Source from the Noble Quran.

The Above verse is indeed from the holy quran.. For every quranic verse, there is what we call asbabu nuzul,(reason for revelation.) In light of the historical context of this verse, it becomes very clear that the verse was revealed in connection with aggression initiated against Muslims. As Dr. Jamal Badawi very accurately concludes with regard to verse 9:29 and similar verses:All of these verses, without exception, if studied carefully, address aggression and oppression committed against Muslims at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), whether by idolatrous Arabs, some of the Jewish tribes in Madinah, or by some Christians.Some people have falsely concluded from verse 9:29, that Muslims are commanded to attack all non-Muslims until they pay money.

In fact, such an interpretation is completely false and contradicts authentic Islamic teachings. Commenting on this verse, Shaykh Jalal Abualrub writes:These Ayat (Quranic verses) stress the necessity of fighting against the People of the Scripture, but under what conditions? We previously established the fact that the Islamic State is not permitted to attack non-Muslims who are not hostile to Islam, who do not oppress Muslims, or try to convert Muslims by force from their religion, or expel them from their lands, or wage war against them, or prepare for attacks against them.

If any of these offenses occurs, however, Muslims are permitted to defend themselves and protect their religion. Muslims are not permitted to attack non-Muslims who signed peace pacts with them, or non-Muslims who live under the protection of the Islamic State. (Abualrub, Holy Wars, Crusades, Jihad) Likewise, the following fatwa points out that Muslims cannot attack a peaceful non-Muslim country:

Question: Is it an obligation of an Islamic state to attack the neighboring non-Muslim states and collect ‘jizya’ from them? Do initiating from them?we see this in the example of the rightly guided Caliphs who fought against the Roman and Persian Empires without any aggression

Answered by Sheikh Hânî al-Jubayr, judge at the Jeddah Supreme Court

If the non-Muslim country did not attack the Muslim one nor mobilize itself to prevent the practice and spread of Islam, nor transgress against mosques, nor work to oppress the Muslim people in their right to profess their faith and decry unbelief, then it is not for the Muslim country to attack that country. Jihâd of a military nature was only permitted to help Muslims defend their religion and remove oppression from the people.

The Persians and Romans did in fact aggress against Islam and attack the Muslims first.

The Chosroe of Persia had gone so far as to order his commander in Yemen specifically to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Romans mobilized their forces to fight the Prophet (peace be upon him), and the Muslims confronted them in the Battles of Mu’tah and Tabûk during the Prophet’s lifetime.

May Allah guide us all. And May peace and blessing be upon our Prophet Muhammad. (SOURCE, emphasis added) The above fatwa refers to the historical context in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) fought against other nations. The Prophet Muhammad did not initiate agression against anyone, rather he and his followers were under attack from all who sought to crush the new Islamic state. The first hostilities between the Muslims and the Roman empire began when the Prophet Muhammad’s messenger to the Ghassan tribe (a governate of the Roman empire), Al-Harith bin Umayr Al-Azdi, was tied up and beheaded (Al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, p. 383).

The killing of a diplomat was an open act of war, and the Prophet Muhammad sent an armed force to confront the tribe, but the Roman empire brought in reinforcements and the resulting conflict, known as the Battle of Mut’ah, was a defeat for the Muslims. Only after this did subsequent battles between the Muslims and the Roman Empire occur, and the Muslims emerged victorious. Likewise, as mentioned in the above fatwa, hostiltiies between the Muslims and the Persians only began after the Persian emperor Chosroe ordered his governor in Yemen Badham, to kill the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, although his efforts were thwarted when the latter accepted Islam. Other non-muslim groups, such as those in Madinah, also initiated hostilities against the Muslims despite peace treaties as Shaykh Sayyid Sabiq writes:

As for fighting the Jews (People of the Scripture), they had conducted a peace pact with the Messenger after he migrated to Madinah. Soon afterwards, they betrayed the peace pact and joined forces with the pagans and the hypocrites against Muslims. They also fought against Muslims during the Battle of A`hzab , then Allah revealed…[and he cites verse 9:29] (Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqhu as-Sunnah, Vol. 3, p. 80)herefore, the command to fight in verse 9:29 relates to those non-muslims who commit agression and not those who are committed to live in peace. The verse is subject to certain conditions that were apparent when it was implemented in the time of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, as Shaykh Sayyid Sabiq writes:

What we have stated makes it clear that Islam did not allow the initiating of hostilities, except to: 1. repel aggression; 2. protect Islamic propagation; 3. deter Fitnah and oppression and ensure freedom of religion. In such cases, fighting becomes a necessity of the religion and one of its sacred ordainments. It is then called, ‘Jihad’. (Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqhu as-Sunnah, Vol. 3, p. 81)

The verse then proceeds to mention some issues relating to the Islamic state, and governing non-muslim citizens of the Islamic state. Dr. Maher Hathout comments on the regulations in verse 9:29:

Freedom of religion is an essential aspect in an Islamic state. One of the five pillars of Islam is zakat (almsgiving). The People of the Book (Christians and Jews) are not obliged to pay the Islamic zakat that is spent by the state for social necessities and state affairs as defined in the Quran (see 9:60). But they must pay other taxes to share in the state budget. If they refuse to pay this tax to the state and rebel against the state, then it is the obligation of the state to confront them until they pay it. This is what Caliph Abu Bakr did after the death of the Prophet, when some people refused to pay zakat. (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, p.53)

The verse mentions Jizya, which is unfortunately misunderstood by some people. Like any nation, the Islamic government requires its citizens to pay taxes in return for its services. Since Muslims pay the Zakat, the non-muslim citizens are required to pay Jizya (for more information on Jizya, please refer to Jizya in Islam and Jizyah and non-muslim minorities). Dr. Monqiz As-Saqqar writes concerning the Jizya tax:

The sum of jizya was never large to the extent that the men were unable to pay. Rather, it was always available and reasonable. During the reign of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, jizya never exceeded one dinar annually and it never exceeded four dinars under the Umayyad rule. (SOURCE)

Shaykh Abu’l-Hasan Al-Mawardi (d. 1058CE) explicitly points out that the Jizya should be exacted in accordance with the means of the people, and the Imam should judge the conclude the amount to the satisfaction of the leaders of those being taxed:

The fuqaha (Jurists) differ as to the amount of the Jizya. Abu Hanifa considers that those subject to this tax are of three kinds: the rich from whom forty-eight dirhams are taken; those of average means from whom twenty four are taken, and the poor from whom twelve dirhams are taken: he thus stipulated the minimum and maximum amounts and prohibits any further judgement on behalf of those responsible for its collection.

Malik, however, does not fix its minimum and maximum amount and considers that those responsible should make their own judgement as to the minimum and maximum. Ash-Shafi’i considers that the minimum is a dinar, and that it is not permitted to go below this while he does not stipulate the maximum, the latter being dependant on the ijtihad (judgement) of those responsible: the Imam, however, should try to harmonise between the different amounts, or to exact an amount in accordance with people’s means. If he has used his judgement to conclude the contract od jizyah to the satisfaction of the leaders of the people being taxed, then it becomes binding on all of them and their descendants, generation after generation, and a leader may not afterwards change this amunt, be it to decrease it or increase it. (Al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. 1996, pp. 209-210)

Hence, the laws of Islam forbid Muslims from opressing non-muslims and command them to treat others with justice and compassion. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad pbuh himself forbade Muslims from harming non-muslim citizens of an islamic state or any non-muslim with whom there was an agreement of peace, as he said,

“The one who wrongs a covenanter or impairs his right or overworks him or forcibly takes something from him, I will be his prosecutor on the Day of Judgment. (Sunan Abi Dawud 170/3 no. 3052, Sunan an-Nasa’i 25/8 no. 2749, and verified by Al-Albani no. 2626).

In conclusion, verse 9:29 commands Muslims to fight against only those who initiate agression as illustated by its historical context. Muslims may only fight under strict conditions, and are commanded to live peacefully with peaceful non-muslim neighbors. And also, on the term fight..FIGHTING NEED NOT ALWAYS BE PHYSICAL, IT CAN ALSO BE INTELLECTUAL

Finally, people might now say well isn’t Islam violent because Muslims are commanded to fight those who do not believe in God and so on etc etc. Not really, because fighting in this verse does not explicitly mean physical violence. Observe the words in the above verses like “willingly”, “willing submission”, “readily” etc. Here it is spoken about bringing a change from within the hearts of people which is brought about intellectually.

There are many ways in which you fight against somebody that does not involve a physical aspect. You can fight someone with the tongue, using your wisdom and telling him about the truth, you are fighting against the lies that person is propagating and eventually with your tongue you will speak the truth and crush his lies leading him to the truth. So fighting does not have to only be physical. I hope this explanation would meet you in good faith and would truly show you what islam is all about which is peace. I would always be here to answer you.

Thanks

Titilope's picture

Thank you for shedding more

Thank you for shedding more light on the Boko Haram saga. I hope your response will give a clearer picture to the world about what is happeneing in Nigeria.

lawal4eva's picture

You are most Welcome!!!!

olutosin's picture

Peace

Peace is not really the absence of war. It is more than that,I do not really see why Nigerians should not be allowed to divide as along as we can live in peace. It is one World, One Humanity but several countries.

Hmmmnnn. I pray for peace, and still will still be peace when we are alive and living the way we want to live.

Northern Nigeria is not a bad country, allow them to live as a Muslim country. Andthey will live peacefully among themselves, but one cannot force Southern or Western Nigeria to adopt an ideology that is alien to them.

I am for peace and against he death of innocent women and children and I am also for peace in allowing Islamic Northern Nigeria to be an independent entity. they are of age adn they know what is good for them. We cannot continued to be ruled by some IGNORAMUS!!!!

Thanks for this piece lovely sister.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Sentiments, tribalism, prejudice, stereotype etc. will not lead Nigeria anywhere. You speak from little knowledge and you subject your point to your sentiments and prejudice. You and I know that religion is not suppose to be a problem just as it wasn't when Ahmadu Bello told Nnamdi Azikiwe that "you are an easterner and a Christian, I am a northerner and a Muslim, we can live peacefully if we understand ourselves". Do you understand those you called IGNORAMUS on this civilize platform where we gather to promote peace? I advise you to go take some free courses on conflict on www.usip.org. You will be better off afterwards. Your N.G.O's objective is questionable as you may not treat everybody in Nigeria equally. And you also suggested secession, where will you fall and on what resources will you work? Northern Nigeria needs slight sensitization which is possible through the Hausa services on international radios like BBC and the rest. NGOs in Nigeria needs to work towards this.

Titilope's picture

Dear Friends on the world

Dear Friends on the world pulse, this piece on Women is not intended to spark of any personal attacks on ourselves to the extent of questioning the objectives of our NGO. Please let us respect each other's opinion and stick to commenting on the issues at hand. I appreciate all your commnets and i will welcome more solution oriented comments.

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