How Covid-19 pandemic strengthened Nigerian woman Peacebuilder to promote interfaith activities
How Covid-19 pandemic strengthened Nigerian woman Peacebuilder committed in the fight against gender-base violence and spread interfaith week message to rural and urban communities .
Amidst of Corona -virus pandemic ,a Muslim woman who is the founder of the foundation for the protection of women and children’s in Nigeria and a peace-builder Ramatu Tijjani has spent over a year while taking peace campaign and spreading interfaith messages to rural and urban areas on the need for both Muslims and Christians with other traditional believers to live in peace and harmony without having any ethno-religious and political killings that has been caused serious problems to peace stability in the northern part of the country.
According to her the corona-virus lock down and restriction movement that was been imposed by states and federal government of Nigeria has enabled her to take corona-virus campaign and peace messages to many places voluntarily with the aims of sensitizing women and children’s including the elderly once on peace ,love,tolerance, forgiveness .
During the one year Campaign on preventive measures to the poor on how to be given social distancing ,and using sanitizers while teaching kids the importance of regular hand washing ,she was able to distribute hundreds of face mask and hand globes to the rural dwellers in order to save them from the spread of the pandemic, Spreading message of peace and harmony is what dominate the campaign ,as she trained many women on how to live in peace and harmony with their husbands, neighbors amidst of corona-virus lock down that was imposed by states government.
Ending all forms of discrimination based on religion ,hatred ,and sensitizing the general public on the importance of peace and unity is the mean focus of her campaign ,throughout the year. She made the statement during an interview with the press in kaduna north western Nigeria when she paid a visit to some families on the importance of sensitizing the public about childrens right amids of the pandemic.
Sensitizing the public on child’s right and women amidst of pandemic is what dominate the campaign,so as to save women and childrens from all forms of maltreatment, abuses and human right violation. Every month end,she used to visit holy places to raise more awareness about the danger of the pandemic while calling on people to continue to live in peace with one another irrespective of differences related to religion,ethnic and cultural background.
She expressed worries over the increase reports on media on child-rape by parents and other form of humiliation ,abuses and domestic violence amidst of lock down by Nigerian authority.
Ramatu pointed that Corona-virus luckdown has enabled her get more courage toward visiting families to sensitize them about various ways of protecting childrens right amidst of the pandemic. Adding that , The spread of the novel Coronavirus has created a myriad of problems for the people to grapple with. In the absence of a vaccine and effective treatment for this virus, the governments are forced to impose quarantines to reduce the spread of the disease. However, this has resulted in a paradox of social distancing, which includes issues such as economic instability, mental health problems, and isolation.
Although there have been researches exploring the impact of COVID-19, there is a lack of rigorous literature highlighting these issues from the perspective of gender. This also involves the issue of rising gender violence during the pandemic. Spreading the message of interfaith activities ,peace and harmony among religious leaders is what make her more popular most especially taking the campaign to mosque and churches including meeting with other traditional believer.
Interfaith week celebration is every day affairs, as she spend more time and energy trying the educate both young and adult in both rural and urban center on the need to be peace ambassadors and shun vengeance attack related to communities crisis. COVID-19 has not only led to an increase in the cases of gender-based violence but has disconnected them from their support networks.
To reduce the prevalence of the issue, it is crucial to acknowledge the extent of gender-based violence, reimagine government policies, and support networks to make it easier for the victims to access them and, lastly, create awareness about the issue as well as the resources available to tackle it. Indeed ,Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the country has continued to experience the serious displacement of people due to various conflicts arising from Boko Haram, herdsmen and bandits’ activities. While these displacements are not particularly unusual or different from conflict-induced displacements pre-COVID-19, the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are often compounded amidst a pandemic like COVID-19.
The peace builder noted that although the lockdown has enabled marital couples to settle their domestic problems and makes them team-up together to restore peace and happiness in their marital homes .some homes and families were broken due to hardship and economic recession .
Religious crisis in kaduna has created a negative impact to peace stability in kaduna state and hence the need to called on all preachers to double up more effort toward educating their followers on dangers associated the religion crisis in Nigeria .
According to a research conducted by the Foundation, under the leadership of Hajiya Tijjani, it clearly shows that apart from increase in domestic violence ,there is also a good story to tell about the relationship of married couples teeming up together to help the family in the midst of the corona-virus pandemic.
She said the lockdown has helped many married couples settle their differences and grievances (between husbands and wives) and returned missing peace back to their homes. The lockdown has managed to bring husbands and wives, not just physically, but also emotionally closer to strengthening their family relationships and how to be helping each other even after the corona-virus pandemic,” she noted.
According to her, against the sad backdrop of the corona-virus that is causing serious problems to all aspects of human beings, “the lockdown has contributed immensely towards returning back the missing peace to many homes due to lack of better understanding among couples.
“It is obviously clear that lockdown by both state and federal governments to curtail the spread of corona-virus has enabled parents to be discovering the pleasure of spending time with their wives and children at home, and even spend more time teaching their kids other domestic activities.
“During this lockdown, many family men were seen helping their wives cooking, washing, cleaning the house and assisting their wives doing some domestic jobs to make them happy.
“The lockdown brought joy and happiness to many married women because it makes them get closer to their men throughout the lock down,” she noted. Tijjani, who is a peace ambassador and interfaith specialist in Nigeria, asserted that, “The lockdown has come with its fair share of advantages as it forces people to work on their differences and find a ‘middle ground’ so that they can live respectfully and amicably inside the same house without any trouble.” She stressed that, “Families that mostly live apart are now finding grace in getting to spend ‘quality time’ with other members of the household.
The lockdown has given us a chance to go back to the days when family time was the most important time of the day.” She expressed fair that there will be many new born babies at the end of the year due to the lockdown order, which forces men to be with their women 24hours for series of weeks.
The NGO president, however, noted that, “The lockdown has led to the scarcity of condoms in most places of selling in the market,” and thanked Nigerian journalists for the humanitarian services they render during the lockdown. She further appealed to media organizations, corporate organizations and wealthy individuals to award journalists for the hazards they go through during the pandemic in terms of disseminating information about various protective on Covid 19.
Similarly, commissioner of human service and social development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, appreciated the way the lockdown helps families get closer to each other, stressing that every family enjoyed peace and unity. While also congratulating the whole families in the universe on world international family day, which is going to be celebrated today, the 15th of May, Baba also advised parents to always educate their kids on ways to shun drug abuse and other domestic violence.
In another development,she toke a campaign to meet with house owners,so as to draw their attention on the importance for tenants to spot paying house rents due to lockdown restriction . Tijjani said that landlords should show care and love to their tenants especially during the COVID-19 In order to reduce the people's suffering over the coronavirus lockdown, the landlords in Kaduna state have been urged to give two months free rent to their tenants
While Stressing that the that the two-month free rents would cushion the effects of the current economic hardship people are being faced with over the COVID-19 pandemic “This is the best time for landlords to show care to their tenants that have been living in their property for many years.
Many families have been thrown into uncertainty due to lack of funds leading to increasing domestic violence among couples amid the coronavirus lockdown,” Ramatu said. She said landlords should offer support and understanding at this critical time and not disturb their tenants about payment of rent.
The peace builder added that every year,she used to organize interfaith week and harmony with many religious leaders, youth groups, women organization with the aims of sensitizing the general public on the importance of accommodating each other irrespective of his religious ,cultural and ethnic background.
She said, for the past 8 years ,she has been organizing the celebration of interfaith week and harmony and she was abled to educate more rural and urbans women on the need to be peace ambassadors any where they find themserves She ended by saying celebrating interfaith week is what she love doing every day ,