Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom and President of the Queens of the Niger Delta Initiative, Her Majesty, Dr Josephine Diete-Spiff, Esq JP called on the Ijaws in Diaspora on the need for an effective and efficient collaboration to meet the yearning and aspirations of Ijaw women in order for them to be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life.
The Royal Queen made the call during her paper presentation on the occasion of the Ijaw Diaspora Convention held recently in New Jersey, United States of America.
Speaking on the theme: “Effective Collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora: Hope for the Ijaw Women”, Queen Josephine noted that the Ijaw woman is majestic, full of strength, beautiful, hardworking, long-suffering, compassionate and caring for her children and loved ones.
She said that the description which depicted a typical Ijaw woman as with a pan on her head, a baby wrapped on her back and her work implements in her hands, ready to provide for the family under the hot African sun and Niger Delta rain, unperturbed by the harsh experiences of life shows she is tenacious and hardworking.
She said, “Unfortunately, today, the evil of industrialization in the name of oil and gas extraction and the attendant land grab/pollution have put a lot of our women out of the traditional livelihood occupation of fishing and farming which gave them prosperity in the past thus pushing them into poverty and loss of control of the children-a basis for the numerous vices among our youths today.
According to her, Ijaw women are mostly breadwinners and the nurturers of their families, adding that their livelihood was greatly impeded by the challenging environment of the Niger Delta, which though rich in oil and income generating opportunities, same are out of the reach of the Ijaw woman.
The wife of the former Rivers State Military Governor further emphasized that Ijaw women are agents of social change, if given the opportunity, adding that a collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora will be a welcome development in changing the narrative of Ijaw Women in the livelihood scheme of survival.
“The Ijaw woman’s means of survival are also threatened by a growing trend of farm produce theft and flooding. Added to her woes are kidnapping, herder invasion, and early widowhood, leading to loss of socio-economic subsistence. She also suffers from the attendant factors of poverty increased by lack of education, susceptibility to violence, cultism, health challenges, underage motherhood, in addition to some harmful traditional practices. The list is endless.”
Proposing avenues which require effective partnership, Queen Josephine called on the Ijaw Diaspora to collaborate with Ijaw women in homeland in areas of Interventions in Violence and Ill-Treatment Against Ijaw Women, Ijaw Women/Girl Child Education, Ijaw Women Empowerment, Encouraging Ijaw Women to Participate in Politics and take up Leadership Positions.
“It’s undeniable that the Ijaw Diaspora has assets for collaboration due to their international exposure, international contacts, financial resources, human and mental resources that override the economic capabilities of their counterparts in the homeland. Therefore, they can offer training, assist in primary healthcare, provide resources and partner with the Ijaw women in their homeland.
“Collaboration with the Ijaw diaspora will be impossible without a formidable platform for operational collaboration and communication. One, therefore, recommends the creation of a most needed platform for efficient synergy between Ijaw diaspora and Ijaw women at home.
“So that the local Ijaw women can be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life. For every Ijaw woman to fulfil the requirements of her heart and be free from any form of oppression, she needs to be liberated and confident in herself. Her desired accomplishment in life is a sine qua non for the benefit of the Ijaw ethnic nationality”, she stressed.