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“Widows of insurgency”

It’s all in the print, electronic, and web media news headlines: Maiduguri Blast- vehicles destroyed by an early morning blast near the Customs Bridge ……………. Yesterday, gunmen attack Adamawa police station, kill officer, as insurgents bombs Maiduguri, injures soldier …… Unknown gunmen attacked a police station for the second time in a week in Adamawa State killing a police corporal and snatching his AK 47 rifle………… Unidentified gunmen ransacked the Shuwa Divisional police station in Madgali Local Government area killing three police officers………… Demsa Divisional Police Station, about 40km from Yola the State Capital attacked and latest police victim killed…….…………..Bomb explosion sends many people scampering for safety…….NTA reporter and Channels TV Correspondents lost their lives in Borno and Kano bombings respectively…………….Southerners flee Kano in the wake of renewed bombings…………… Fawehinmi sues President Jonathan over Bombings……… Bomb explosions witnessed in churches across Northern States, many have died ………24 hours curfew imposed in Kaduna and Yobe States in the wake of bombings and reprisal attacks………..

Nigeria’s peace, security and development challenges have been on the news, in recent times; particularly, the insurgency in Northern region which has resulted in the maiming and killing of many innocent citizens as well as the destruction of priceless properties. The carnage has continued to assume a thought and fear provoking dimension. The most recent series of bombings and reprisal attacks which took place in Kaduna, has struck the very heart of development and the fragile peace that now characterize the Northern part of Nigeria. People continue to live in perpetual fear and everyone is on the edge, as not a few innocent and law abiding citizens have directly and indirectly fallen victim. Human dwellings, public places and institutions have not been spared. Adherents of different faith and ethnicity have continued to flee trouble zones as many have continued to express worry that the insurgency may continue to spread unabated. As is typical of conflict situation, women have been the worst hit victims as many have lost their homes, husbands and children giving rise to a new set of widows - “Widows of insurgency”

Dame Patience Jonathan the first lady of Nigeria and various women groups in Nigerian are rising with one voice in the call for peace. Peace rallies, meetings and campaigns that cut across religious, ethnic, political and professional divides are being championed by women. United in faith, singularity of purpose and action, they are not mincing words about women being at the receiving ends of wars and criminality. Nigerian women are saying no to unwanted destruction of life and properties, they don’t want war, they don't want to become war refugees, they are begging Nigerians to eschew violence and evil, they are calling for peaceful coexistence, and they are saying that peace is key to well-being and a sustainable future. Their heart’s cry is PEACE and UNITY! As I pondered over this calls and the theme of this year's World Environment Day- "Green Economy, Does it include You?", I became all the more conscious of the fact that women can only contribute to the drive for a green economy when they, their children and families are safe. Political leaders must realize and accept that women are the stabilizing force in any society and their role in peace making must not be undermined; because it is central to achieving sustainable development. Women must be given adequate room to get involved in peace and development efforts. The world over, women must be determined in their resolve to change the ills of the society until peace and tranquility reigns and sustainable development becomes a reality. It is time for women to be united across borders, for the collective safety and security of all and sundry. Let's stay united towards saving humanity and our planet.

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