The central Nigerian city of Jos was brought to a standstill yesterday as thousands of women dressed in black marched through the streets to protest the continuing violence in Plateau State.
The women, some of whom were half-dressed in a cultural sign of deep mourning and desperation, marched to the state governor’s official residence in Jishe, where they also denounced discrimination against Christians in northern Nigeria and called for the military forces stationed in Jos, which are viewed as biased, to be replaced by the mobile police.
The group’s spokesperson Rhoda Awang said, ‘Women are killed and children are killed. Pregnant women are killed and the babies cut out of their wombs. We have local chiefs in all the 17 Local Government Councils. Where are they and what are they doing? We have former governors, where are they? Where is Yakubu Gowon (the former Nigerian President who is from Plateau State)? If the people are killed in the state who will they rule over?”
The women’s anger was further fuelled by the deaths of a woman and child during an attack on a village in Vom on the previous night, and they made clear their rejection of any federally instituted state of emergency in Plateau State. They also called on Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang to relocate Jos’s Motor Park and the Vegetable Market from the Bauchi Road and Farin Gada areas, as several non-Muslims have disappeared there.