Protesting Women Storm Govt House, Others

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By Ernest Chinwo

The #EndSARS protest yesterday took a new dimension in Port Harcourt, River State, as women, all clad in black attire, marched through the streets of Port Harcourt to the Government House, the state House of Assembly complex and the Police headquarters in the state.

The protesters caused heavy traffic gridlock in Port Harcourt as the women took over the main entrance into the Government House in Port Harcourt, demanding to see the state Governor, Nyesom Wike.

The women protesters, all dressed in black attire and carried placards and the Nigerian flag, marched from the Pleasure Park on Port Harcourt-Aba expressway, to the police headquarters and the state House of Assembly complex, all located on Moscow Road, Port Harcourt.

At the state House of Assembly, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, was not available to address the protesters. The same scenario played out at the police headquarters as the state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, was also not available.

The women then marched to the Government House, where they sat on the ground at the gate and vowed not to leave until the governor come to addresses them.

However, it was the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, who addressed them, assuring them that the injustice and brutality meted on Nigerians by the police must stop.

Harry-Banigo reminded them that it was the governor who first raised the alarm on the brutality of the operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

According to her, “Well, our beloved daddy, the governor, had said I should come and speak to you because our women are crying, and that is why I am here.

“We know that when this so-called SARS, which they said they have banned, started in 2015, 2016, our governor was the first person to protest that these people were going beyond their boundaries; that the federal government should do something because they are federal SARS and controlled by federal government.

“They were caught on camera killing people, and were even promoted, to tell you the level of impunity. So, we know,

we have observed and we have followed the situation. We thank you for coming out peacefully without harming anybody.

“We are in a democratic setting; why should we not let our voices to be heard? We thank you for what you have brought to our notice again today. I will deliver your message to the governor, and you will see his own action very shortly. You know he is an action governor.”

Addressing the protesting women before the arrival of the deputy governor, veteran Nollywood actress, Hilda Dokubo Mrakpor, said: “We will not talk to anybody other than the governor. We don’t have representatives and we don’t have leaders. All of us are leaders.

“When the governor comes for campaigns, he talks to his people. He should come and talk to us. We remain here.”

Meanwhile, a Niger Delta activist, Ann-Kio Briggs, has decried the failure of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Ibani, to address the protesting women.

Briggs said: “Today, mothers in Port Harcourt came out. We moved from UTC bus stop dancing and singing to the House of Assembly. The gate was shut against us, and at 11 o’clock, not even one member was there. We waited for them for one hour not one person was available at the Assembly.”