Hundreds of protesting women on Wednesday blocked the main gate into Delta State Government House for about four hours, demanding the release of four kinsmen arrested by the police over three weeks ago.
The women chanting solidarity songs with placards bearing inscriptions like”Youths are the Future of Tomorrow, Release our Youths Now; We need our youths, husbands, fathers back, we seek their bail; Release Issele Azagba Youths, they are our Future.
The women, who came from Issele Azagba community in about 12 buses marched on the Delta State House of Assembly, State Headquarters of the Nigerian Police,before arriving Government House. Madam Victoria Isichei, one of the protesters, told newsmen that three weeks ago, four youths of their community were apprehended by the police and locked away in prison:”We are from Issele Azagba. Issele Azagba and
Utulu were fighting over apiece of farmland. For that land, four people were killed in a fight, while many were injured.
The fight took place near Issele Azagba Mixed Secondary School, and in order to keep security, the school principal invited the vigilante to restore order and security. However, some police officers who were initially invited due to the fight, arrested those vigilante boys and took them to prison. For about three weeks now, they have not been
released. “What are their crimes? They even arrested the principal, but have released him.
But won’t release the vigilante. “We are here because those boys they arrested are our sons, and our husbands. Wewill not fold our hands and wait until they die in police custody. They are innocent, and they must be released. Ikemefuna Margaret, who led the protest, said that they as women and mothers, they will not fold their hands and watch as their sons whom they bore for nine months held against their will for
no crime and stand at risk of getting killed.
She also acknowledged that they were aware of the significance of the International Women’s Day, and chose the day to make their voices heard:”what kind of Women’s Day are they celebrating, when the fruits of our wombs are about to be wasted?”, she asked angrily. She stated that since they were arrested, they have become exposed to all manner ofcriminal activities with no one to protect them.
They gave the names of the detainees as Eziafa Nwotokpo, Dikeamaka Okonji, Sampson Uwandulu, and Ndubuisi Odum.
Speaking on the matter, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Mr Charles Aniagwu said: “Demonstrations and protests are the rights of every Nigerian. But having acknowledged that the police regulates the actions of vigilantes. If the police arrests them, then it might mean there is no cordial relationship between the police and the vigilante. However, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa acknowledges the rights of every Deltan and would never want it trampled upon.
The people arrested are Deltans,and the women are also Deltans, and indeed Nigerians. We will do all necessary to ensure that the rights of these people are fully protected and not trampled upon. “We want to believe that the police is doing its best to protect the rights of the protesters and is aware that they should protect their rights. “We expect that they(Police) should charge the vigilante people arrested to court if they are found guilty of any crime”.