The Eagle is Nigeria symbol of strength, Nigeria is a stong country, stong indeed, the Eagle has perched on a rope no peace for the bird and the rope, I read recently that we are expecting Nigerians in diaspora to come home, home sweet home. We are waiting for them with armstreched arms. Nigerians are not experiencing any recession though the world is complaining, we are not because we are always in recession. It has always been tough, no job has always been the language, the graduates are always roamingabout the streets, so there is nothing new about hunger, more thatn half of Nigerian s are hungry.
That is a story for another day, Today it is about the Niger Delta Woman, the strong woman, the unsong hero. The Niger Delta region is the South South part of the Nigeria where oil is being explored, like all other parts of Nigeria, the women must be seen but not heard. but the time is now, if you give us a voice we shall speak out, the worst is to dis and posterity will remember us, we shall be clothe in white and be buried in the earth we so much loved be mourned genuinely by the women and children we have loved with our souls.
In the Niger Delta, the new vocabulary is kidnapping! It was focused on expartriates but now both foreigners and Nigerians are being kidnapped daily. The ransom runs into millions of Nigeria Naira, the kidnappers are those boys who in those days, during Obasanjo civilian administration, when we thought we were in a democracy and Human Rights activists went to sleep thinking that this is the government of the people not knowing that it was just a chnge from Military regalia to traditional attires, Obasanjo declared shoot at sight to the citizens of Odi these are Nigerian who dare to demand their rights.
What are these rights, the right to drink pure and clean water, the right to enter into the government hospitals and be treated freely, tthe right to quality education, to have access to good roads, they are the birds that lay the golden eggs. What Abacha did in comparison to Odi killing was not much, Abacha killed about seven Ogoni activists, Ken Saro Wiwa and some others, but in Odi, the list went on.
Now, those defenceless small boys who watched their mothers, sisters raped by soldiers who came to Odi then, to do their job ordered by civilian ruler are now grown up, then they were not armed but today they have sophisticated weapons, they have grown up into bitter boys, then they watched their fathers fired, died in agony but today they are ready to retaliate.They became thorns in the flesh of Nigeria.
They came into the world through women. The Niger Delta woman, this is a typical story of the woman, she is strong and watchful, her husband;s corpse was sent to her, she buried her dead, took care of her body after the rape by the soldiers who came to do their job, two of her sons who could not enjoy the love and instruction of a father , the sons dropped out of school, they became militants, the consequences of rape in the lives of bystanders, onlookers who could not defend mother and sisters. In no time her daughter that was raped could no longer cope, in Nigeria there are no facilities in place for rape victims. THERE IS NO RAPE CRISIS CENTER IN NIGERIA.. The raped girl went into prostitution..
Now the Niger Delta woman decided to face life squarely, there is only a lone ferry that plies the village daily, if you miss the flight you will have to wait till tomorrow, this is life in these areas, and they must not complain, the environmental degradation in these areas has no equal elsewhere, they grew and live gas flares which sends her rain of acid, there is no need to thiink about the health implications, is it asthma, cancer, bronchitis, infertility, there is endless list, this poisonous gases are released into the atmosphere, yes she must contend with this night and day.
There are no opportunities, she is uneducated those of us with Masters are eating from hand to mouth, she decided to turn to farming, the continous spillages by crude oil from over-aged pipelines have wrecked her crops, now another opportunity is fishing, she has being a swimmer all her life, oh no the rivers are dark, sticky ocean of crude oil.
The story is not yet over, the soldiers have come to do their job again, to chase away the militants, raped and displaced again the two sons fell at the war front, she has no right to talk, she is not allowed to speak in the midst of elders, cultural inhibition they call it. Her tear glands are no longer functioning, abused, displaced, voiceless. She is handicapped in all ramifications but she is still breathing! moving around like a walking corpse.
Now Nigeria know no peace, the multinationals are withdrawing their expatriates, the government has no solution to the kidnapping because the Niger Delta woman has stopped crying, weeping or wailing, there is an adage that says, when you pick a chick from mother hen, she will jump and fight but when you pick thatof the duck, it will look at you and move on, in fear you will drop it because the mother hen fought you know that is only what she is capable of doing while the duck who only look at you and move on may have hidden agenda. The deplorable condition of these people must be addressed before peace can reign in these regions.
I salute the courage of the Niger Delta woman, I salute all women fighters, I salute pulse wire members, help to stab the conscience of the world, show the gory picture of her existence to all.
God Bless Us All
Niger Delta is in the South South of Nigeria
Olutosin is from the Western part of Nigeria