..Umahi defends action, says August Meeting not usually held in town

Aggrieved women in Ebonyi State, under the aegis of Ebonyi Federated Women Organisation (EFWO), Saturday, petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali, Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) and other human rights organisations over the disruption of their August Meeting by Ebubeagu operatives.

The women, made up of Umuada Ebonyi Women, Ebonyi Widows Forum, South-East Women Association and Female Ministers of Urban Women Organisation, among others, said that Ebubeagu operatives invaded the venue of their meeting, People's Club premises, along Abakaiki/Enugu Expressway and disrupted them.

The women also revealed that their seats, canopies and even decorative items were confiscated by the operatives and taken away to their office in Abakaiki, the state capital.

They disclosed this during a protest over the incident in Abakaiki the state capital, noting that the theme of their disrupted meeting was "Women, Nation Builders".

Speaking on behalf of the women, President of Umuada Ebonyi Women, Mrs. Charity Chukwuemeka, described the incident as sacrilege and an attack on Igbo women and Igbo culture and urged the IGP and human rights organizations to call the security operatives to order.

She said, "The hard-working, peace fostering women of Ebonyi State under the aegis of Federated Ebonyi Women Organization, were on this day 20th of August 2022, unjustifiably attacked, embarrassed, and chased out of the venue of their 2022 Annual August Meeting slated to hold in People's Club Hall, Abakaliki.

"This abominable act was carried out by the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi, through his attack dogs, the Ebubuagu Security outfit of Ebonyi State.

"It is not new or alien to the Igbo race that the entire women meet every August to discuss and chart the best possible developmental ideas and projects to improve the well-being and welfare of our people.

"Notably, the Annual August Meeting is not a partisan gathering as it cuts across party lines and even involves women who never belonged to any political party.

"It is surprising therefore that the Governor knowing the importance of this annual gathering for the women and the society at large, facilitated this dehumanizing attack on this year's August Meeting that has the approval of all relevant security agencies.

"That these attacks are unreasonable and unwarranted infringements on the constitutional rights of the women of Ebonyi State which must not be tolerated.

"That as mothers, we will speak to our sons and husbands to be in solidarity by standing with us in this protest against dictatorship.

"That for unjustifiably attacking and humiliating our women in this sacrilegious manner, Ebonyi women hereby call on the Inspector-general of Police and civil rights groups to come to our aid by ensuring that Governor Umahi's agents whom he used to perpetrate these crimes are brought to book while Umahi's militia known as Ebubeagu Security Network should be disbanded by the federal government," she said.

When contacted on phone, Special Security Consultant to the State government, Chief Stanley Okoro Emegha, said the operatives received a security report that unknown gunmen will use the place to attack the state.

He said that August meetings were not usually done in the town and vowed that those arrested will be prosecuted.

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