By Omon-Julius in Asaba
Determined to secure the release of their kinsmen from indefinite police detention, over 500 half naked women of Egbudu-Akah in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State at weekend barricaded the entrance to the state police headquarters in Asaba.
This may not be unconnected with the alleged illegal detention of close to 10 people from the community over kingship tussle among two brothers.
The police are said to have detained them for weeks over the excuse that they are carrying out investigation, and to restore peace just as an elderly man was said to have died in the police custody over the matter.
The protesters, who besieged the headquarters at about 9 am, caused a heavy traffic grid on the Okpanam Road for over three hours.
While displaying placards which bore various inscriptions such as â€˜Police are biasedâ€™; â€˜Release our brothers and sisters to usâ€™; â€˜We cannot go to the farm againâ€™; â€˜Mr. President come to our rescueâ€™, among others, the women also chanted songs of disenchantment and called on the federal government to prevail on the police authority to release their people back to them.
Spokeswoman of the group, Mrs. Mordi Onyeka, decried the illegal detention of their monarch with 11 other elders for over three months.
She lamented that one of the elders, Mr. Okeleke Uweli, had died in detention while the police were still holding on to others.
Onyeka lamented that their king, Solomon Ogwuagu, has been detained since without any crime, aside the fact that the police always come to the community to intimidate, harass and arrest people they perceive as opposition, warning that the trend should stop while those arrested and detained should be released.
â€œWe were here some days ago; we protested, and the Commissioner of Police told us to go back and choose three elders to be part of the discussion and negotiation. He gave us appointment to come back, and that those detained would be released. We are here again for the discussion and the release of those detained,â€ she said.
The group leader described the protesters as women from a community reputed as peace-loving but who refused to keep quiet in the face of injustice or intimidation.
According to Onyeka, â€œWe are peace loving people but we hate injustice and particularly detest this one-sided arrest and detention.
â€œWe already have our king, Solomon; why should the police take side? They know the people causing tension and confusion in the community, but they are not touched. Enough is enough!â€
Nonetheless, during a closed door meeting with the women, the state Police Commissioner, Zanna Ibrahim, did not only tell them to look for three credible people to lead the negotiation, he promised to release those detained after personal investigation just as he pleaded to partner them to make sure lasting peace returned to Egbudu-Aka.
Since the Obi of Egbudu-Akah, Alfred Okolie I, died almost a year ago, on 30 September 2016 precisely, the community has been engulfed in crisis over succeed the vacant stool.
The spate of violence in the community began on June 8, 2017