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Lagos women take to streets over slain Yobe students

And as the procession moved from the premises of Lagos State Television, Agidingbi, to other streets within the Alausa Secretariat axis, Simpa who apparently was…

And as the procession moved from the premises of Lagos State Television, Agidingbi, to other streets within the Alausa Secretariat axis, Simpa who apparently was overwhelmed with emotion, wept uncontrollably.
“I lost no relative,” Simpa said as she was approached by Weekly Trust reporter who had requested to know why she had been crying.
“But I am a Nigerian and also a mother. My son is in King’s College which is also a unity school. It is the turn of Buni Yadi pupils today, who knows whose turn it will be tomorrow? I feel the pain of the affected students and their parents and that was why I really couldn’t hold myself,” Simpa said tearfully.
“Since I was born, I have never participated in a protest or rally and I have never worn an entirely black cloth in my life. But I had to quickly go and sew this one when I heard the announcement on radio because this is a cause, I so much believe in,” she added.
Yet Simpa wasn’t the only odd face among the protesters. In her trail were three grandmothers, all of whom are in their mid-60. They were seen singing dirges alongside other women even as they raised their placards to express solidarity with their fellow women.
“My child, why won’t I join the protest?  There is no reason sitting in my comfort zone when kids who are the future of this country are being mowed down by unknown assailants masquerading as Boko Haram. We have taken our journey this far. But what about those kids who are yet to know what the world has in store for them? It is pathetic. It is horrendous and we must let the government know so,” Mrs. Juliana Apara, a 66-year-old grandmother said.
Also expressing her grievances, another 66-year-old, Mrs. Bolanle Ned, said she was worried that a young generation of future leaders is being wasted. She said it is unimaginable to have children at that age who are being lost callously to insurgents. In her opinion, government at all levels should assert their responsibility to confront the menace.
When asked for how long they hope to press federal government over the issue, the grandma-protesters and Madam Simpa said for as long as it takes government to stop the wanton killing going on in the northeastern part of the country.
 Indeed, the Thursday rally which was organised by “Nigerian Women Mourn,” was the second of its kind in Lagos. It came less than 72 hours after some women under the aegis of Old students of Unity Schools in Nigeria had led similar protest to Lagos State Government House, Alausa, Ikeja where they had met with Governor Babatunde Fashola, over the same issue.
The Protest convener, Laila St. Mathew Daniel, said the idea behind the rally was to draw government attention to the wanton destruction of lives and properties, especially those of women and kids in northeastern Nigeria.
“We, the Nigerian women, are deeply concerned with the escalating rate of violence in the northeast. We are particularly moved by the senseless killings of innocent children at the Federal Government College, Yobe and the abduction of 25 girls from their schools in Yobe.
“We commiserate with the families of the slain children, women and men of Adamawa, Yobe and Bornu states and join in solidarity to say ‘No more! Enough of the killings’,” Laila said.
The women leader said it behoves on governments at all levels to identify those responsible for the bloodshed and bring them to justice. She said government must also devise strategies to curtail the crisis.
“We are saddened that this situation has been left to fester for so long with no noticeable resolution on the part of government and related bodies.
“We are calling on government to quickly identify lasting solutions to end bloodshed; to ensure that members of the affected communities particularly women are included at the decision-making table; to provide adequate protection and security for citizens of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states as well as other locations experiencing insecurity; to provide adequate compensations for victims and survivors, particularly women and girls,” Laila said.
The women leaders also called on Boko Haram insurgents to give peace a chance by putting a stop to “unnecessary destruction, wanton killings and abduction of citizens.”
Also speaking, Coordinator, Women Arise, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin said a time has come in the life of Nigerian nation to demand a permanent end to the continuous killings, saying the country can no longer standby and allow its future to be wiped out. She also called on members of Boko Haram to give peace a chance by laying down their weapons and embrace dialogue.
Responding, the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by the Head of Service, Mrs. Josephine Oluseyi Williams said the killings were a sad development for all Nigerians even as he advocated for citizen vigilance and partnership with security agencies to aid intelligence gathering.
“I want to believe the security agencies are doing their best and I believe they can do more especially in the area of intelligence gathering and being empowered with equipment to do so. However, I must stress the need for vigilance on the part of our people in this part and over there. We also need to aid the security agencies with intelligence gathering. We must stop being non-challant about our environment,” the governor said.

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