Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Nigeria strongly condemns the abduction of Nigerian girls from Government school Chibok Borno State on the 14th of April 2014.This has been very trying times for the relatives of the abducted Chibok girls and indeed for all of us as concerned citizens of Nigeria and the world. It brings to the forefront the issues once more of the exploitation of women and girls in times of conflict. This very ugly incident offers a clear picture of the gender dynamics of conflict, militarism and lack of inclusive policies.
We are not satisfied with the role the government has played to date. It raises the questions: why didn't the Federal Government go in pursuit immediately it was learnt that these girls were abducted? Why where they busy playing number games? Why has it taken three weeks and lots of rallying to force them into some sort of action? It doesn't matter if it was one girl or two, every human life deserves to be protected regardless of gender or status in the society. This calls to mind UNSCR 1325 and the subsequent Security Council Resolutions, as well as CEDAW, on the right of women and girls to be recognized and protected. It is the responsibility and accountability of the state to ensure that this is a reality as well as the great and urgent need to ensure women's participation in peace processes and to sit at the decision-making tables.
It is very evident that we need to look beyond the incident and have a holistic perspective of the conflict situation in Nigeria and in the North Eastern part of Nigeria in particular. We need to ask critical questions: who and what is fuelling the conflict in these zones? What are the interests in the conflict in Nigeria? What role does arms trade and arms producing countries have in all of the challenges being faced? As well as international multinationals present in the country? We need to be very mindful of the market in wars and conflicts and the greed and lack of respect for human life which sustains these markets and economy.
WILPF Nigeria is very wary of the western “big brothers” that have all decided to rush in and “save the day”. We need to take a walk down memory lane and look at countries where we have seen such military or security assistance take. What has been the resultant effect especially on the situation of women in those countries? In what ways do they overlook and undermine women citizens ‘own efforts to stop violence and question military imperatives? It is very clear to us as WILPF Nigeria that in a highly militarized society, women's rights suffer.
We are tired of these games, we have had enough of muscle plays. It is high time the government and the international community stop playing games with words, women's bodies and lives and the well-being of all humans in Nigeria.
Written by WILPF Nigeria