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Women, ARISE!

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Women of Nigeria what is happening to us? Why are we keeping quiet and doing siddon look despite all the unfortunate things happening in our dear country? Are we not concerned? Are we not bothered about all the recent happenings in our Nation?
I feel deeply for our younger generations and I write to our womenfolk and to men of good conscience. I know, many of us feel so sad about the news that we now get on a daily basis. The unthinkable things that have become a routine part of our daily lives; the incessant killing of innocent people, the kidnapping and maltreatment of our people for ransom, the destruction of farmlands, our daughters and sisters raped, molested, humiliated, and treated with impunity. What of school children unable to learn and live in fear of abduction from their schools? For the ones that make it through school or higher education, no jobs or reasonable means of survival despite their qualifications.

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Due to the fear of armed bandits,  our people do not feel safe going to the farm anymore. If the insecurity is not checked, we may face famine in our land and we pray against it. Government leadership should wake up from slumber, work hard and consider the security of all genuine Nigerians as their primary duty.

I am not a politician but I am a mother. I feel so sorry for all the victims. This is a critical point in our history when we all as women, wives, mothers, and grandmothers need to forget about differing religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds and come together as one to deliberate and act to move Nigeria forwards.

Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti and other similarly minded women of her era are gone but their deeds, while they were alive, will never be forgotten. They lead advocacy for women’s rights with courage and tenacity. They did so for Nigerian and African women, knowing that female contributions are essential for peace, progress, and prosperity on the continent.

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I was moved to tears by the case of a married couple; a Fulani man married to a Yoruba woman living in America with their children for many years. During a visit home to Nigeria with their 9-year-old daughter last year, they suffered terribly; on a trip to visit relatives, they were ambushed and led to a forest. The wife was brutally assaulted by several men in the presence of her husband.

Eventually, after a ransom was paid, the family returned to America but promised never to come back to Nigeria again either dead or alive! May God grant those whose lives have been cut short peaceful rest and may He comfort the traumatised and bereaved.

The evil we see unfolding does not discriminate. They terrorise in the East and the West, in the North and the South. The most painful part of it to me is that this sort of inhuman wickedness is being perpetrated almost everyday in Nigeria and we are all keeping quiet as if nothing is happening. Women ARISE and let leaders in communities, local governments, state, federal, and international communities hear our voices.

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To men and women in relevant positions of authority and in the security forces who have been doing their best in difficult circumstances, I pray that God will help you attain greater heights in the service of humanity and our country. Where additional resources, clarity of mission, and wisdom are required, I pray that these will be forthcoming.

I call on Mrs Aisha Buhari, our First Lady and the Mother of the Nation as well as all women in influential positions who can help to change the course of history that we are currently on – ARISE. I call on ALL women in Nigeria, young and old, rich and poor – this concerns us all – ARISE. We each have a voice and this is not a time to be silent. The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. Where we KNOW that things can be done differently with better results, let us challenge and offer positive alternatives lovingly but courageously.

This is our challenge for 2021. Women, ARISE! May God help us.
Chief (Mrs) Christie Ade-Ajayi, the Majeobaje of Ikole Ekiti wrote this piece to mark her 91st birthday which is due today, March 13, 2021

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