Human Right & Advocacy

First Lady Leads Campaign Against Ritual Killings, Harvest of Human Parts

By Kuwekuzi Aigbe

Wife of the Bayelsa State Governor,, Gloria Diri, has led coalitions of civil society groups and the girl child advocacy groups in the state on a campaign against ritual killings and harvest of human parts in some parts of the state, calling on security agencies to step up security of the girl child.

The advocacy campaign, which started as early as 7am with a 12 kilometer road walk to publicly declare “NO TO RITUAL KILLINGS” with various groups and stakeholders under the umbrella of the State Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT), noted that though only two cases of attempted ritual killings have so far been detected in the state, the state will no longer condone the mysterious killing of young girls.

Among the notable groups and personalities that participated in the 12 kilometer walk against ritual killings are the Coordinator, Committee for Democracy and Environmental Dividends (CODED ), Collins Cocodia; Wife of the Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council, Dr Mrs Josephine Diette-Spiff; International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria.

Other include the Chairman of the State chapter of the NUJ, Comrade Samuel Numonengi, Gloria Diri Foundation, Child Protection Network, Ethanrose Foundation, National Council of Women Society, Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Do Foundation International, Starrz Safety Initiative, among others.

The women groups were armed with placards with inscription such as “Save the Girl Child from Ritual Killings”, “Together we CAN”, “Join GRIT to Stop Senseless Killings”, “Bayelsa is Peaceful not for Harvesting Human Parts”, and “Our Girls, Our Pride.”

The wife of State Governor, Dr. Gloria Diri, who expressed concern over the strange cases recorded and the alleged participation of young boys in aborted cases in the state, said the land of Bayelsa rejects such dastardly act and that by the peace walk, the stakeholders in the state reject such acts.

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“The youths and women of Bayelsa reject it. I urge everyone to be their brothers’ keeper. If they try it in other states, Bayelsa will not condone it any longer.

“For everyone that enters the state, the gods of the lands and the security agents are watching. Let us watch and protect one another against ritual killing. For those caught in the act, we will ensure that the law take its course.

“We are also now against out of court settlements and we want the law to punish the perpetrators. Ritual killing is a distraction because if a child goes missing, Government will abandon what they are doing and go in search of the missing child,” the first lady said.

Chairman of the Collins Cocodia Foundation and Special Adviser, Political to the State Governor, High Chief Collins Cocodia, also expressed concern over the cases of ritual killings and called for a concerted effort to nip it in the bud.

Also speaking, the wife of the Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers and Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom, Dame Josephine Diette-Spiff, noted that the killing of the promising girl child underscores the dangers facing girls and women in the society.

She said, “our queens and mothers of the kingdoms in the state stand collectively against killings, disrespect for life and abuse of women and girls in the society.”

In her speech, the Chairperson of the Gender Response Team Initiatives (GRIT), Barr. Dise Ogbise, pointed out that with the peace walk against ritual killings, “the Government has once again made history by bringing together key actors in its fight Against Ritual killings and cultism in the state.

“The state Government has once again reiterated it’s resolve to end all forms of violence in the state as perpetrators of ritual killing and occultic groups will be prosecuted.”

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