March 13, 2010

from punch newspaper,nigeria



Friday, March 12, 2010
Jos killings: Plateau women protest in Abuja, GOC’s removal
John Ameh, Abuja

Plateau women protesting

A large crowd of women from Plateau State marched to the National Assembly on Thursday to protest last Sunday’s killing of about 500 persons in Jos South Local Government Area of the state.

Dressed in black, the women, who bore placards said they came to the National Assembly under the aegis of Plateau Women Development Association. They told sorrowful stories of how they lost their family members, including husbands and children, to the attacks allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen last Sunday.
One of their demands was the removal of the General Officer Commanding, 3rd Amoured Division of the Nigerian Army, Jos, Maj-Gen. Saleh Maina, whom they accused of complicity in the killings. The women, who wailed uncontrollably, were received by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, at the National Assembly square.
They were later led to Hearing Room 1 within the National Assembly building where the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Tunde Akogun, stood in for Bankole. The Speaker had to return to the chambers of the House to preside over its plenary.
Part of a statement jointly signed by the Vice-President of the association, Mrs. Margaret Bagas, and the Secretary-General, Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, which they presented to the House, read, “The Plateau State Women Association, Abuja Branch, has watched with keen interest the state of criminal activities being allowed in Plateau State which has led to the killing of hundreds of people in addition to the loss of confidence the people of Plateau have been made to suffer.
“We strongly reject the genocide, the carnage and terrorism that have swept the one-time peaceful and hospitable people of the Plateau. We are no longer comfortable with the situation in our land. Can we leave our God-given land for someone else? Visitors we have been very hospitable to and accommodated peacefully? No. Never.”
One of the women, Mrs. Priscilla Sunday, said that she lost seven children to the series of violence in the state. She said that the presence of security agencies in Plateau State no longer had any relevance since they could not protect the people.
She said, “We villagers want peace but if government can no longer guarantee peace, they should allow us to fight. The security agents should leave us alone for a fight to finish; whoever wins should take over Jos.”
Coming soon after a similar orgy of violence in January, the women expressed shock that security agencies failed in their responsibility to safeguard lives and property of the people.
Akogun said he was pleased with the orderly conduct of the women and assured them that the National Assembly would not allow the sponsors and perpetrators of the attacks to escape punishment.

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