Protesting women in their hundreds yesterday marched through the streets of Port Harcourt, asking the Rivers Government and security agencies to produce in 14 days killers of over eight women in different hotels in the state.Drawn from over 70 organisations, the protesters faulted the claim by the police that the victims were prostitutes, demanding a public apology from the force.
The women, who were all dressed in black, stormed the Government House, Port Harcourt to present a petition to Governor Nyesom Wike and ascertain what the state and security agencies were doing to check the decimation of the gender by unidentified killers in recreational centres across the state in the last two months.
Attempts by security agents to restrict movement of the demonstrators were resisted by one of them and former Commissioner of Information, Mrs. Ibim Sementari, who insisted that they would not leave the premises until an official addressed them.
After chanting songs for over 30 minutes, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Tammy Danagogo, showed up and received a copy of the endorsed petition.Spokesperson for the marchers, Rita Marley Idonor, who did the presentation, decried the security situation in the state, adding that her colleagues were disturbed by the seeming lack of seriousness on the part of the concerned authorities to apprehend and prosecute the masterminds of the dastardly acts.
She stated that the women embarked on the protest against the backdrop that the victims were mothers, sisters, wives, friends and colleagues.“These women had a right to life as enshrined in Chapter 4, Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and no one had a right to take their lives and go scot free!
“With the continuation of these attacks, the women in Rivers State now fear from engaging in social activities and even businesses, as they do not know who the next victim would be,” Idonor stated.She said females in the state have refused to “stand by and watch their sisters being slaughtered like animals,” adding: “We have also refused to fold our hands and keep quiet.”
The spokesperson continued: “We refuse to be cowed by the faceless and cowardly criminals that hide their face in the dark. We refuse to accept these unmerited attacks on our womanhood.”
We have therefore chosen to stand up and say no to these acts of violence and demand justice for the slain women and return of the peaceful and conducive social environment of our state.”In his remarks, the SSG lauded the comportment of the protesters, promising that the current administration in the state was working round the clock to fish out the killers, just as he urged residents to be vigilant and always report suspicious movements and persons to security agents. He also apologised on behalf of the police for labelling some of the victims prostitutes.