Ebonyi women protest against alleged attack by Ebebuagu operatives

By Charles Onyekwere

Thousands of Ebonyi women at the weekend staged a protest alleging maltreatment against them by Ebubeagu Security outfit personnel.

The attack allegedly took place at the Ebonyi state People’s Club Recreational centre along Abakaliki-Enugu Road High way where they were supposed to have their August meeting.

The women were seen crying as they protested round the Abakaliki city expressing their dissatisfaction over the action of Ebebuagu security operatives who allegedly distrupted their already scheduled August meeting.

They alleged that the Ebubeagu Security Outfit invaded the venue of the meeting with their branded vehicles and guns,cordoned the place, arrested some women, destroyed already set canopies, chairs, tables and confiscated some of the materials for the event.

They said their rights had been violated against the Constitution of Nigeria which grants individuals and Citizens the right of Association and peaceful gathering.

They called on Nigeria Government to come to their aid as their rights had been trampled upon.

The women in a statement titled “DESECRATION OF WOMANHOOD IN EBONYI STATE: IGP, FIDA, RIGHTS GROUPS SHOULD COME TO EBONYI WOMEN’S AID” described the incident as the desecration of womanhood.

According to the statement signed by Mrs. Charity Chukwuemeka, President, Umuada Ebonyi Women, Hon.Amaka Chukwu, Coodinator, EBOWATAN, Mrs. Margaret Nweke Chairperson, Ebonyi Widows Forum, Alobu Seraphina, South-East Women Association, Hon. Nwali Eucharia U (Rep. Female Ministers of God,, Amina Mustapha ( House Community Women), and Mrs. Ngozi Nwabueze ( President-General, Urban Women Organization), the aggrieved women further called on rights groups to come to their aid.

“This press briefing is aimed at calling for the aid of the press, IGP, FIDA, and rights groups to the desecration of the rights of women of Ebonyi State using Ebubeagu Security Network. The Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of women. Articles 15(2) and 42 (1) a & b (2) (3) prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and ensure that men and women have equal access to the courts in matters of contracts, torts and civil matters.

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“The hard-working, Peace fostering women of Ebonyi State under the aegis of Federated Ebonyi Women Organization, were on this day 20th of August 2022, unjustifiably attacked, embarrassed and chased out of the venue of their 2022 Annual August Meeting slated to hold in People’s Club Hall, Abakaliki.

“This abominable act was carried out by the Ebubuagu Security outfit of Ebonyi State.

“It is not new or alien to the Igbo Race that the entire women meet every August to discuss and chart the best possible developmental ideas and projects to improve the well-being and welfare of our people.

“Noteably, Annual August Meeting is not a partisan gathering as it cuts across party lines and even involves women who never belonged to any political party.

“It is surprising therefore that the Governor knowing the importance of this annual gathering for the women and the society at large, facilitated this dehumanizing attack on this year’s August Meeting that has the approval of all relevant security agencies.

“It should be noted that Ebonyi State Government led by Governor David Umahi has over time maintained an enviable streak of antagonism against the womenfolk ranging from the manhunt for the Ebonyi South APC senatorial aspirant, Princess Ann Agom-Eze who is currently on exile outside for aspiring to serve her senatorial district; two previous disruptions and harassment of Ebonyi women’s lawful gatherings; and today’s attack on Ebonyi Women’s Annual General August Meeting 2022 where in ???? were abducted by Governor Umahi’s Ebubeagu Security militia and taken to Ebonyi State Government House, beaten up and stripped naked, while delegates from Afikpo were forced back by another detachment of Governor Umahi’s Ebubeagu militia who fired sporadically at the hapless women.

“Arising from the unwarranted disruption of this year’s August meeting, scheduled to hold this day, 20th of August 2022, our position are as follows : That these attacks are unreasonable and unwarranted infringements on the constitutional rights of the women of Ebonyi State which must not be tolerated.

“That as mothers, we will speak to our sons and husbands to be in solidarity by standing with us in this protest against dictatorship.

“That despite the hardship meted on the women of Ebonyi State through his unproductive leadership, he further attacked our women on this auspicious day, thereby subjecting us to further suffering.

“That he has infringed on the rights of the entire Ebonyi Women and should be liable.

“That for unjustifiably attacking and humiliating our women in this sacrilegious manner, Ebonyi women hereby call on the Inspector-general of Police and civil rights groups to come to our aid by ensuring that Governor Umahi’s agents whom he used to perpetrate these crimes are brought to book while Umahi’s militia known as Ebubeagu Security Network should be disbanded by the federal government.

“Ebonyi women want to remind Governor Umahi that he once galvanised support through this usual Annual August gathering event, when he needed votes to ascend; and that he should refrain from actions that will pitch Ebonyi women against his political party which Governor Umahi is angry with because of his disgrace in the APC presidential primary.

“Finally, Ebonyi women are encouraged that he should know that only votes count now and that THUGS will not count and may not vote.”

Confirming the incident when Journalists accosted him, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Internal Security, Mr. Panchris Ikechukwu Eze said members of Ebubeagu operatives invaded the venue of the August meeting, following a Security tipoff.

According to him, Ebubeagu operatives got a tip off that members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, were going to have a meeting at People’s Club and so, we went there to make sure it doesn’t hold.

Reacting to the development, the Special Assistant to the Governor of Media and Strategy, Mr. Chooks Oko stated that the Governor had no idea about what happened at People’s Club as he (Umahi) was far away Abuja attending several meetings that concern the development of the State.

“The Governor has been involved in lots of consultative meetings in Abuja as it concerns the development of the State. Moreso, the Governor applies rule of law in whatever he does and there’s no way he can be connected with any seeming breach of law and order.”

When contacted, the Ebonyi State Security Consultant, Chief Stanley Okoro-Emegha added that Ebubeagu operatives went to the location of the meeting as way of nipping at the board any planned attack by unknown gunmen in the State.

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