Nigeria suffers a variety of complex political problems including inequality, pastoralist herder violence, deepening regional divide, corruption, armed banditry, oil disputes, national disunity, communal pastoral conflicts, retributive colonial legacy, and the Boko Haram insurgency. These have emanated from a faulty federal system of governance which has not strategically stabilised from the independence period to the present. More so, the legacy of the Biafran War has extended an insatiable use of force on civilians which is largely seen in the excessive redress of any opposition. Thus, at present, Nigerians are without a civic voice or security as economic welfare has confined most of them to endless poverty, displacement, and life-threatening conflict.
The impact of the protracted conflict in Nigeria has been the worsening vulnerability of women and girls. Women and girls have suffered the brunt of being sexually assaulted and this has been worse in the Northern, East and Southern Nigeria. Since 2009, hundreds of women and girls have been abducted, sexually abused, and forced into marriages to jihadist fighters. The trauma of losing spouses and children to the conflict further leaves unforgettable memories for some of these women. Life is as twice as hard for women due to systemic marginalisation, ethno religious limitations, and social deprivations. Women who survive these atrocities often must live with the vivid and terrifying images of rape, war, and death for the rest of their lives as there has been no willpower to end the conflict from the Nigerian government and the global community at large. This has left women faced with the daunting task of keeping families together after displacement, providing food, clothing, and shelter for their children and their families in, what is in most instances, a destroyed infrastructure.
Women’s groups working with One Billion Rising Nigeria are concerned with the projection that Nigeria could be heading towards another protracted conflict which can worsen the current crisis. This is in response to the latest killings of more than 50 civilians in Sokoto and Niger State by the Fulani. Adding on, 38 people were also killed in Southern Kaduna within the same period. The killings are being led by the Fulani who are being armed with the core agenda of turning Nigeria into a purely Islam state. The killings have therefore been consistent with genocide practices as they sweep across Northern, Southern and East Nigeria.
Against this background, women’s groups and OBR Nigeria are: