March 3, 2016

Soldiers flog, boot protesting women in Delta

*Unit Commander to journalist: You’re an idiot, madman

By Perez Brisibe

EKU— REMINISCENT of the military era, about 10 soldiers flogged and used boots on hundreds of women protesting at Ovre-Eku (Iwevbo) community yesterday, over a land which had been in dispute for years between Edo and Delta states.

The women, numbering over 500, wearing black clothing, had converged at Eku community from where they marched to the disputed land carrying a coffin covered in palm fronds to express their displeasure over alleged sale of the land to an oil company.

Getting to the spot at about 10:45a.m., they were accosted by the soldiers, who ordered the women to leave the site. The women insisted on being addressed by a representative of the company.

Angered by the stand of the women, a senior military officer identified to be the Unit Commander at the site, Lt. E. D. Oworobo, cocked his riffle, threatened to shoot and then ordered his men to flog the women.

Two journalists, including a Vanguard correspondent, who had accompanied the protesting women, suffered the same fate. The soldiers chased the fleeing women into adjoining bushes at the site.

The aged among the women, some in their 80s, who could not run, were trampled on by the soldiers and others flogged with tree stems.

Unit Commander’s reaction

When the Unit Commander, Lt. E. Oworobo, was contacted by this reporter to comment on the way and manner the women were treated, he described the reporter as an “idiot and a madman.”

Meanwhile, the soldiers again went berserk at about 11:30a.m., invaded parts of Ovre-Eku community, destroyed nine motorcycles and 13 bicycles, while residents of the community fled, following the arrival of the soldiers in a white Toyota Hilux van.