Wife of the Bayelsa State governor, Dr Gloria Diri, has led a coalition of civil society and girl-child welfare advocacy groups to campaign against ritual killings and harvest of human organs in some parts of the state.
She called on security agencies to step up the protection of the girl-child in the state. The campaign started as early as 7am with an estimated 12-kilometre road walk to publicly declare “No To Ritual Killings.”
The various groups and stakeholders under the umbrella of the State Gender Response Initiative Team (GRIT) noted that though two cases of attempted ritual killings have so far been detected in the state, the state would no longer condone the mysterious killing of young girls.
Among the groups which participated in the 12 kilometer walk against ritual killings are the coordinator, Committee for Democracy and Environmental Dividends ( CODED ), Mr Keme Opia ,the chairman Collins Cocodia Foundation and special adviser , political to the state governor, High Chief Collins Cocodia, wife of the chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council, HRM, Mrs Josephine Diette-Spiff, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria, the chairman of the state chapter of the NUJ, Comrade Samuel Numonengi, Gloria Diri Foundation, Do foundation, Child Protection Network, Ethanrose Foundation, National Council of Women Society, Medical Women Association of Nigeria ( MWAN), Do Foundation international, Starrz Safety initiative and 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.”
Mrs 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.
She also called on the mothers and the men to protect the girl child against such evil acts, “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 takes 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.”