By Emma Amaize & Akpokona Omafuaire
WOMEN of Irri in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, weekend, Saturday, staged a protest against the police over general insecurity, indiscriminate arrest and witch-hunt by some powerful individuals in the oil-rich town, which has purportedly resulted in the death of over 30 persons and arrest of over 50 persons in last few years.
They also gave the federal and state governments a one-week ultimatum to restore peace to the community and save them from fear.
The placard-carrying mothers were incensed by the alleged invasion of the community at about 3.00 a.m,, last week, by men of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, ATS, Warri and Police Command, Zone 5, Benin City, who took 10 villagers into custody, allegedly at the behest of one of the factions enmeshed in a leadership tussle in Irri.
A community leader, Mrs. Regina Ajovo, who led the women in the massive protest, said, “We are protesting today to air our bottled frustration about the crisis, which has ravaged Irri. Look at all the stores, they are closed, and the mortuaries are filled with the corpses of our slain young men due to leadership tussle”.
Corroborating Mrs. Ajovo, another worried mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Ohore said, “We are tired, we want peace. Irri is part of Delta State. We want live a normal life, people are afraid, we can’t go to farm, we live in fear, we are being terrorized and harassed by a strongman, we want government to come to our aid, we want an end to this situation.”
Also speaking, the president general of Irri community, Mr. Dickson Edugho, said the town had been bedeviled by the arrival of Agip Oil Company since 2003, adding, “Our problem started immediately Agip found oil here; everybody wants the oil money, people who wanted to remain in power resorted to intimidation, harassment and indiscriminate arrest to ensure that they get the oil money”.