Scores of women from Nkerehi community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra state on Thursday protested alleged threats to lives and that of their families.
The protesters, who stormed the state government house in black attires, bore placards with unprintable inscriptions accusing the traditional ruler of the town, Igwe Kenneth Maduka and Dr Godwin Maduka of being responsible for their woes.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Dr Maureen Igwike narrated how they lived in fear in their own town, saying their only crime was their refusal to agree with the decision to change the community’s name.
She appealed to the government to save them from the hands of their oppressors.
She said, “Initially, we thought the problem was only between the men. But recently, we started experiencing all forms of violence perpetrated by Maduka against our women.
“On the 7th of January, this year, they came to look my husband but when they didn’t see him, they took me to an unknown destination and started beating me.
“Kenneth himself wanted to rape me because he tore the shorts I was wearing. Thank God I was on my menstrual period so he couldn’t. It took the intervention of one Okechukwu Ogubuike to save me.
“We are calling on the government to come to our aid because we are no longer safe in that community. Our women and children are at risk and they now kidnap our children.”
Responding, a government representative and Special Adviser Legal, Barr Vera Okonkwo commended the protesters for their peaceful conduct, assuring them of quick intervention to their plights.
“I was moved when I saw women crying, wearing black. Gov Obiano is a man of peace and doesn’t allow intimidation. I assure you that he will hear everything and take action,” she said.
When contacted, traditional ruler of Umuchukwu, Igwe Maduka, said the allegations were fueled by envy and jealousy by some members of the community bent on ensuring the area remained in darkness.
“The issue at hand is not just about the change of name, but an age-long hatred for Godwin Maduka, through who the community has seen the light.
“What you saw in Awka was just one of the antics of this group of people who do not wish for our community to progress.
“But despite all the wrongdoings against me and my brother, we are willing to embrace them as brothers in the best interest of the community. We call on government to look critically into the matter to unravel the real truth.”