Thousands of women in Imo State Wednesday took to the streets of the state capital, Owerri, to protest against alleged misconduct by the military and other security agencies in last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
The women, adorned in black, stormed the headquarters of the 34 field Artillery Brigade in Obinze, calling on the army high command to caution the soldiers to stay away from politics.
Presenting a petition to the representative of the Commanding Officer (CO), leaders of the group, Mrs. Uju Ihejiagwa and Nwando Anyasinti, lamented what they described as day-light robbery of the people of the state.
They described the announcement of Governor Rochas Okorocha as senator-elect for Orlu zone as fraudulent.
According to them, “Okorocha committed electoral fraud by using the military, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and thugs to intimidate, harass and maim unsuspecting and unprotected Imo voters.
“He connived with some staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to subvert the wish of the masses by manipulating the outcome of the election and ensuring the announcement of fake results.
“We also protest the brutal assassination of two of our sons at Ejemekwuru in Oguta council area during the governor’s campaign rally in the area. The governor used security agencies to harass, intimidate and rig the February 23 election. Collation agents were intimidated and molested. Electoral materials were stolen and fake results written, submitted and announced with the aid of INEC.”
“We hereby request that the military and other security agents desist from being used to rig elections anymore in Imo State. We call on the Brigade Commander of 34 Field Artillery Brigade in Obinze to warn and caution his boys to desist from getting involved in electoral fraud.
“We also call on the state Commissioner of Police to give same orientation to his men in the Police Force to stay off actions that aid electoral fraud and subversion of the people’s wish.”
The protesters also stormed the Imo State headquarters of INEC, where they warned the commission to desist from aiding electoral fraud in the state, while calling on the commission to restore the people’s mandate.
In his response, while receiving the protesters, Head of Voter Education of the INEC in the state, Mr. Sunday Adedoyin, assured them that the commission will look into the issues raised with a view to ensuring that necessary steps are taken to forestall future occurrences.
The protesting women also marched to the Imo State Police headquarters, headquarters of the National Security and Civil Defense Corps in the state, as well as the Department of State Services (DSS), where they also delivered the same message.