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PDP seeks probe into alleged beating of Imo widows



URGENT investigations should be carried out on the alleged beating of some protesting widows by thugs in ‎Owerri, Imo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Sunday.

   At a news briefing in Abuja Sunday, the Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba, to investigate the incident.

   He noted that the widows were expressing support for President Goodluck Jonathan at a rally in Owerri when some thugs allegedly sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC) attacked and injured many of them.

   “The women in their thousands, all dressed in black, had converged on the roundabout, about three kilometers from Government House, Owerri, as early as 8a.m singing solidarity songs in support of our presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, and Prof. Viola Onwuliri,” he stated.

   “We are immensely thankful to the women for supporting the re-election bid of President Jonathan and for mobilising themselves to work for his victory in the March 28 presidential elections. 

   “It is pertinent to point out that this solidarity march came exactly one week after the APC women, dressed in their uniform, held a protest rally without any hindrance by the state government, against President Jonathan and Prof. Onwuliri in Owerri.

   “Sadly, news of the march was organised by the widows in support of President Jonathan was not received very well by the governor and the authorities in Imo State. Instead of protecting the widows and affording them their full constitutional rights, including the right to assemble, march and protest, well-armed hired thugs, who emerged from inside Government House, unleashed extreme violence on the harmless women in a despicable and frightful manner.  

   “Consequently, they inflicted life-threatening and severe injuries on a large number of the widows. They were brutal, callous and unrelenting and refused to exercise any restraint as they unleashed the most barbaric form of violence and fury on the helpless widows. Many of them were badly wounded and still remain in the hospital. Others were traumatised and brutalised. 

   “Despite their screams, pleas and tears, the perpetrators refused to stop inflicting violence on them and instead increased the brutality and fury of the attack. Some of the women were abducted and taken to the Government House where they were further manhandled and abused.”

   According to Fani-Kayode, “the Owerri saga is a reflection of the larger picture of the APC and its presidential candidate, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari,” whose “aversion to women’s rights and equality is well known and need not be documented here. 

   “This is a man who has stated clearly that if elected president of Nigeria, one of the first things he will do is to scrap the office of the first lady. This is a man who never appointed any woman into his cabinet when he was Head of State and neither did he do anything notable for women while a Minister of Petroleum or head of the Petroleum Trust Fund.   

   “Instead of promoting and protecting women, the APC is busy traumatising and beating up widows in the streets of Owerri and turning them into second class citizens.”

   He called for urgent police investigation on the matter, while the APC leadership and its presidential candidate, Buhari, should apologise to widows and women. 

   He spoke further: “We are using this forum to call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to act expeditiously on the petition sent to him by the leaders of the widowed women associations by investigating the attacks on them, arresting the masterminds of the barbaric act and prosecuting them in accordance with the law of the land.     

   “The IGP should also investigate the allegation of complicity of policemen in Imo State in the attack,” while

“Buhari and the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, should show remorse and condemn the barbaric act.”

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