By Okey Maduforo Awka
Commercial activities in Umunze Community in Orumba South local government area of Anambra wash shut down when over 3, 000 women took to the streets protesting the murder of a 72 year old woman Mrs Charity Okoli by suspected three suspected ritualists alleged to have been indigenes of Abakaliki in Ebony state.
Recall that last week that the late Charity Okoli had her breasts, finger , tongue and private part harvested while alive after the three suspected ritualists had raped her at her home .
But luck ran out for one of them who under the influence of hard drugs could not escape from security operatives but hid himself under the bed and was cought in the process.
The suspect according to police reports has already confessed to the crime adding that they are a gang of five that resides at the neighboring Ezira community before the incident but are now at large.
The protesting women with green leaves and placards also demanded for mass exit of all Abakiliki Indigenes out of Umunze town for the atrocious and condemnable killing Mrs. Charity who was rapped and murdered two weeks ago after the suspect harvested her private part, tongue and two nipples of her breasts for money making rituals.
Already, the prime suspect is cooling off his heels at the State Criminal Investigative Department (SCID) of the Anambra’ State Police Command in Awka while two other are on the run.
The women took their complaints to the Umunze Area police command headquarters, the palace of His Royal Highness, Igwe Promise N. Eze, the Abilikete 11 of Umunze, and the Transition Committee Chairman of the the local government Hon Neville Uchendu as well as other relevant bodies.
They expressed bitterness over the unbearable and hostile activities of Abakiliki Indigenes in the area who according to them allegedly indulge in many crimes including charging outrageous bills for manual labour, rape of young girls and other heinous crimes.
The women further called on the authorities to wade into the dangerous and unbecoming attitude of their guests as they have outlived their usefulness and must therefore leave for peace to return in the area.
Spokesperson and President of the Women in the area, Mrs. Enekwechi Bridget said “The entire Umunze resolved to come together today for a peaceful protest because Abakiliki people resident in our community raped one of us in Ubaha village and cut off her tongue, one of her fingers, two nipples of her breasts and her private part. So, that’s why we are here to complain to the Transition Committee Chairman of the local government area so he can take our report to Awka the state capital for necessary action.”
She stated that, “We are demanding for justice and that the suspects should face the full weight of law because women are not supposed to face such torture and suffering in the hands of heartless criminal elements, Sadly, these Abakiliki people resident amongst us have been having secret meetings against us despite our hospitality towards them. They charge us as high as N5, 000 to cultivate a seed of yam for us and N200 to cut down per head of ripped oil palm and they charge us a cording to the number of heads of the oil palm nuts per tree.”
“Besides, of you hire them for work, they will not do the work but wait till it’s 3pm when they will leave the workplace and begin to demand for money for work not done even as they threaten to kill the person who fails to pay them as agreed. At times they seize farmlands belonging to our people to the extent of laying ownership of such land after planting and harvesting their crops.
The President General of the Umunze Progressives Union, Chief Hippolite Uchechukwu Olua who addressed the women commended them for their peaceful conduct and urged them to go about their protest in peace as their complaints would be given prompt attention by the police and other relevant authorities.
He told newsmen that,”Our relationship with Abakiliki people in Umunze is becoming a very bad one. It’s not favouring us anymore because the way and manner they commit crimes in Umunze that we have console for a while, is too much.”
“Of recent our wife,Mrs. Charity Okolie who was butchered while alive by Abakiliki men in a gruesome way but we said no as a community; while we have accommodated these people as our brothers from Abakiliki,they are killing our people,they are harassing our women and raping them in their farmlands.”
“They are increasing labour costs at will; they wake up every morning and change the cost of labour at their dictates but we said no. So, our women are aggrieved, they are not happy and that’s why they are protesting.”
Traditional Ruler of Umunze community Igwe Promise Eze ; the Abilikete 2 lamented that his subjects have suffered so much in the hands of the Abakaliki people who came to the town to do farm work and other jobs .
He noted that the victim died due to loss of blood which made her to be unconscious after she was rushed to the hospital in Amawbia where she later died, a development that angered everybody.
The monarch however urged the people of area to remain calm as police and leaders of the community are working round the clock to ensure that justice is done at the end of the day.
“I have told the PPO who’s closest to us here that the suspect must be charged to court for murder and he has assured me that the matter would not be swept under the carpet. I have instructed the youths to exercise restraint while awaiting the outcome of the case.”he said.