Going Where Others Dare......
Project D.I.O (doing it ourselves) was birthed by a most remarkable circumstance which happened to me in June 2012. Being very passionate about people and having a determination to positively make an impact on humanity I was violated, victimized and unlawfully sacked by my former french employers in Nigeria - Bollore Africa Logistics Nigeria Limited for suggesting humanitarian support to poor grass root widows affected by genocide in the Northern part of Nigeria Plateau State. I am a victim of work place violence but have not lost my vision and voice in speaking out to help humanity especially women and children.
A lot is happening in Northern Nigeria but no voices telling the stories and experiences of the women and children. Great fear is presently attached to the region thanks to somewhat exaggerated media reports terming it a no go area. This journal comes a bit late as a result of an ongoing project which involves touring affected communities attacked by the ongoing boko haram crisis in Plateau State North central Nigeria. I and my team have just concluded a needs assessment survey of those still alive who have been displaced and lost family, livelihood and farmlands to the extremist Islamic group. Our aim is bringing relief materials, rehabilitating and empowering the people (especially the youth) through skills acquisition that would enable them to carry on with life and be able to sustain themselves until peace is restored and they are able to return back to their villages. Villages currently affected by the massacre are Riyom, Bisichi, Sopp, Daim Buruk, Korot Tatu Yelwa, Fang-She just to mention a few.
Plateau State has been the most peaceful and beautiful tourist haven region in Nigeria, rich in minerals. Tourist flock the cold region which enjoys an average temperature of between 18-22 degrees centigrade. Plateau is blessed with breath taking highlands and hilly views also varieties of fresh food is grown unlike in other parts of Nigeria. Unfortunately, the people of Plateau State have experienced unrest in the past 10 years due to tension between the indigenes who are the real owners of the land and fulani settlers. Others however are of the view that the crisis is politically instigated. In the early hours or late at night, village communities which comprise of poor defenseless farmers suffer series of gruesome attacks at the merciless hands of Muslim extremist called boko haram. Houses and farmlands are burnt to ground level,women and girls are raped, massacred beyond recognition, babies under the age of six are slaughtered like animals, it is an unending chaos of violence.
We have come to share food material items to the widows of Dogonahawa whose husbands and children were killed during the crisis. The visit is principally aimed at creating awareness and bringing the global message of zero tolerance of rape and all forms of violence of women and girls in the grass root Community of Plateau State.
14th February 2013, marked the largest global action in history to end all forms of violence of girls and women in celebration of V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, a fierce international anti-violence movement created by high powered, prominent New York playwright and activist Eve Ensler. V-Day movement has funded over 12,000 community based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Congo, Haiti, Egypt etc providing women sanctuary from abuse, female genital mutilation and honor killing.
It is very shameful that existing women rights NGO’s or movements in Nigeria do not comply with their so-called mandate to protect marginalized women and children, they have abandoned the passion and lofty ideals of fighting injustices and contribute to practical legal and policy changes that would advance women’s human rights in Nigeria. They are themselves party to these vices and have become politicized and drunk with personal ambition, avarice and greed.
On the contrary, we see a most remarkable high level of commitment and transparency to the cause of women and children by international organizations like World Pulse who are bent on transformation by creating a global platform for women to raise their voices and speak out openly on all issues threatening their freedom where once before there was silence. Which is the reason why I have brought a message of hope by introducing World Pulse to the women of Dogonahawa community and encouraging them to be bold and courageous in using this existing platform created by World Pulse to share their thoughts and experiences with millions of other women advocating for changes in their communities.
Throughout the V-Season and beyond, we commit and join our voices to rise against rape and all forms of violence of women and girls on the Plateau and everywhere on planet earth. We are calling out to the Federal Government of Nigeria to invite local women to the table to discuss the issue of violence as it affects them individually and within the community. We take our appeal via the local media to the Legislatures to translate words to action by repealing laws that allows this violence to flourish, bring offenders to book and speedily implement all obligations under international human right laws to prevent violence of women and children.