The war of words between some Igbo groups and the Federal Government following the detention of women under the aegis of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, continues unabated.
A total of 112 IPOB women who demonstrated against the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader were arrested and detained by law enforcement agents on August 17, 2018, in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
A socio-cultural association operating under the umbrella union of Igbo Bu Igbo, IBI, has appealed to the Federal Government to “stop the humiliation of Igbo women, under the dubious guise of crackdown on Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB,” stressing that “the continued detention and humiliation of our women is an affront on Ndigbo.”
In a statement signed by Dr. Law Mefor and Chijioke Ndukwe, Chancellor and Publicity Secretary of the group, respectively, the group wondered why “the police descended so heavily on armless and harmless women, who were exercising their rights to peaceful assembly, tear gassed and clamped them into detention.”
“It is with sadness and regret that we observe the continued inhuman treatment being meted out to women of Igbo extraction, who were brutalized by the police before being clamped into detention in Owerri.
“We wish to state categorically clear, without any iota of equivocation, that these women, who were armless and harmless, were merely exercising their rights to peaceful assembly when they were heavily descended upon by the police in a manner akin to that of a war situation, as if they were common criminals.
“Further more, we detest the continuing situation where, not only our women, but also all citizens of Igbo extraction, are treated like sub-human beings by the Buhari administration as part of his ignoble agenda against the Igbo.
“If not, one wonders why Fulani herdsmen terrorists, whose tag as terrorists have since been confirmed by the world and rated the fourth most dangerous terror group in the universe, are given royal treatment by the Buhari administration despite their well documented heinous crimes of frightful proportions against humanity and not arrested or clamped into detention with the alacrity our women are treated.
“The images emanating from the detention centre of the women are disturbing and unacceptable to us. it is even worse that these women, some of who are in their sixties, are being denied food and their medicines as their family members and loved ones are denied access to them, thereby leaving them starved and at the danger of death.
“We frown very seriously at this official wickedness against the Igbo nation. The latest incident where our mothers and daughters are so cheaply humiliated just for peacefully expressing themselves is one act of oppression taken too far. We are beginning to lose patience with those who continually demean our people with impunity.
“We therefore call on the authorities to, as a matter of urgency, release all the women who are nothing but victims of another round of police brutality. We also call on our people to remain calm while we further explore ways to secure the immediate release of our dear mothers and sisters. This oppression of Ndigbo will surely not last!”
CD urges Federal and Imo governments to drop charges against 112 Igbo women
Meantime, the Campaign for Democracy, CD, Thursday called on the Federal Government and Imo State government to drop the charges against the 112 alleged Indigenous People of Nigeria women arrested and detained in Owerri, the Imo atate capital.
CD, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Dede Uzor A.Uzor said thevwomen were being prosecuted on trumped-up charges and therefore should be released with immediate effect.
“We want Charges against those Igbo women branded IPOB women to be dropped without further delay.
“The Campaign for Democracy, CD, wishes to calll on the Federal and Imo State Governments to, with immediate effect, drop charges against 114 Igbo women arrested for protestig against the disappearance of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his parents arrested and arraigned at the Owerri Magistrate Court with a 10-count charge of treasonable felony and related charges.
Most of those women are pregnant, while others are aged and should be relaeased unconditionally with immediate effect and all the trumped-up charges against them withdrawn.
“We condemn in a very strong term the arrest and arraignment of those women of Igbo land. It is part of continuous intimidation, harassment and subjugation of Ndigbo in Nigeria by the led Federal Government.
“The arrest of the women who were peaceful and without arms in exercising their rights should be condemned by every right thinking person and international community.”
CD said it is alarmed that in a democratic despensation, people particularly harmless women should be illegally arrest, intimidate and forcefully teargas for rxercising their rights.
Can this type of intimidation and harasdnent happen in any part Northern Nigeria, let alone teagasing women of about 70 to 80 years in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human rights in a democratic regime.
“The arrest negates the Constitution of Nigeria especially chapter 4 of section 33 to 40 of 1999 Constitution as amended and is not acceptable to CD.”
Pregnancy test to run on Biafra women
The 112 Biafra women, who were remanded in Owerri prison, would under go pregnancy test, investigation by Vanguard has shown.
Prior to their arraignment at the Magistrate court in Owerri, many were of the fear that, the women who were tear gassed and reportedly bullied during their peaceful protest in Owerri, by the police before being arrested most of them could be pregnant.
Recall that, one of the women could not stand the pains, at the Magistrate court, as she was rushed out of the court environment, when she was said to have fainted and bleeded profusely. The woman is said to be pregnant.
On this development, Vanguard sought to know if the Owerri Prison Authority has any plan to acertain the actual number of women that are pregnant remanded in the prison.
According to the Public Relations Officer, PRO, Imo state command of Nigeria prison service, DSP James Madugba, who spoke to Vanguard said: “By Friday, everything about their documentation and admission must have been completed. The normal visit will commence on Friday.
“Remember, the DCP, played a form of humanitarian service on them to allow their visitors that was on Wednesday morning. Otherwise there shouldn’t have been any form of visitation for them.
“He had sympathy on them considering the gender. You know some of them are lactating, some are pregnant.
“You know it is not good to keep them off from their people two to three days considering their gender. Normal visits comeences by Friday.
“The thing is that they are being accommodated where other female inmates are. They were accommodated alongside other female inmates.
“We know that there numbers are much but within this period, we have a medical unit and they will also run a pregnancy test on them. We have to do it because of this rumour of getting pregnanted why in prison.
“We have passed that era. If after the pregnancy test and there is anybody pregnant then the clinic unit will take care of the person.”