A group of thugs on Monday in Owerri, Imo state, unleashed terror on harmless protesting widows, leaving them with multiple injuries.
The widows numbering over 2000 under the aegis of Imo Widows Association (IWA) were drawn from the 27 local government areas of the state assembled at the Okigwe Road roundabout few meters to the Government House, Owerri at about 8.45am to protest some of the injustices meted to the Minister of State for Education, Professor Viola Onwuliri.
The protesting women alleged that a group of women suspected to be Imo State government agents last week in Owerri accused the Minister of killing her husband Prof. Celestine Onwuliri who died in a plane crash.
While the widows who were assembled peaceful with their placards, a group of young men suspected to be cultists emerged from nowhere hauling snatches of pure water on them before flogging them like a common criminal.
Some of the placards read, ‘’An injustice to a widow is an injustice to all. Governor Rochas Okorocha leave Prof. Viola Onwuliri alone. Onwuliri had assisted us a lot’’.
The angry mob who were physically supervised by the state Commissioner for Youths and Sports Mr Kenneth Emelu cornered the widows to Item Street which is the adjoining street of Wetheral Road where they (hoodlums) beat them up to stupor.
A camera man from the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Mr. Eric Etuk who was covering the protest was beaten-up and his camera was taken away by the hoodlums. Etuk who was bleeding profusely said that all his personal effects were also taken away.
As the widows were running away for their dear lives some of them felt into the gutter sustaining various degree of injures.
Narrating their ordeal, the leader of the group (widow), Mrs Edith Anjiwo said that a group of young emerged from nowhere at the old Garden Park and started banging on their vehicles as well as ordering them to enter into their cars. ‘’We were in Owerri to let the government know that it is not good to disparage or maltreat any widow. The attack on us was uncalled for and unwarranted because we are harmless’’.
The state commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Chidi Ibe applauded the beating of NTA Cameraman saying that, he was hired by Prof. Onwuliri to cover the event.
It took the intervention of combined military, police and other security agencies led by commander 34 Brigade Obinze, Brigadier -General Lanre Bello to put the situation under control as some women who were mobilized by the state government started to be violent by attacking the widows.
Governor Rochas Okorocha addressing supporters on arrival from Abuja accused Prof. Onwuliri of sponsoring the crisis alleging some of the widows who were clothed in black came from Abia state and warned the Abia State Government to stop allowing her women to be recruited to cause crisis in Imo State. (Daily Times)