Published On: Tue, May 7th, 2024

Delta:Peaceful Protest Turns Bloody In Ughelli As Trigger Happy Policemen Open Fire On Protesters

PROTESTING UGHELLI WOMEN

Protesting women from Oteri community

By Mathias Ogagbah

LAGOS MAY 7TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The peaceful community of Oteri-Ughelli in Ughelli North Local Government Area was thrown into mourning  as  trigger happy Nigeria Policemen of  Ughelli Area Command allegedly  turned the protest site to shooting range by firing gun shots indiscriminately at  the protesting women  thereby injuring many of the them.

The protest according to report was against police extortion and incessant harassment of people in that Oteri.

Recall that the protesting women in their hundreds stage a peaceful protest to the Area Command office in Ughelli  but were rebuffed by the men and officers of the area command who allegedly  used heavy teargas on the old women and shot one middle-aged woman in her left leg while others were beaten to  stupor.

Addressing journalists at the emergency ward of a general hospital, Ughelli where the injured protesters were admitted for emergency treatment, the President General of the community, Hon. Efe Erakpofoke Peter berated the action of the police saying that the women from the Oteri community were in peaceful protest to the palace of Ovie (monarch) of Ughelli kingdom, HRM Wilson Oharisi  and the Area Commander to register their grievances.

PROTESTING UGHELLI WOMEN 2

One of the injured protester receiving treatment at Ughelli General hospital

According to him, “The Area Commander called him to appeal to his people to go home that he would look into their complaints but before he looked police started shooting and tear gasing  the protesting women thereby shooting one in the leg and injuring many of them.

While given the reason for the protest, he noted that the community noticed with worries that their people could no longer access their community  as a result of several police extortions of motorists and cyclists plying in and out  the community.

” Once you come out of the community to Ughelli main town once is 8.00 pm you cannot get motorcycles or tricycles to carry you  because of police extortion. Our mothers and women have to  trek home from Ughelli main market every day because  police  harassment and extortion on the motorists.

“Recently,  the police embarked on incessant arrest and vandalization of houses belonging to the youths of the community and carted away their personal belongings, detailed them, and collected a huge amount of money from them without offense.

“The actions of Nigeria police in Ughelli contravene the police practice. Our community is a peaceful community with  law-abiding citizens. The police  should stop making  life difficult for these poor and innocent citizens”, he appealed.

Speaking to newsmen, representatives of the protesting women, Harvest Ugbhwiako and Mrs. Vivian Aphiare alleged that the police arrested and detained their children and wards who were on errand unlawfully and collected between one hundred,  fifty thousand and two hundred thousand Naira for  bail.

Earlier when contacted, ACP Adebayo told journalists that his office is looking into the complaints of the community with the view to sanction any erred police officer just as he disclosed that he has disbanded a squad of hunters in the command.

Reacting to the report in a statement made available to Urhobotoday, Delta State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) SP Bright Edafe  denied police shooting of anyone, adding that the protesters were justifiable dispersed with the use of teargas.

According to him, “The Command is aware of an alleged sponsored protest in Ughelli North LGA today 6/5/2024 and wishes to debunk the false narratives currently being circulated on some sections of the media that Policemen shot at peaceful protesters. The Command wishes to state that nobody was shot during the protest, however, the use of tear gas was rightly used to dispersed the protesters. For the avoidance of doubt and to put the record straight, the Command wishes to state as follows;

“On 6th May 2024, at about 1130 hours, some members of Oteri community, Ughelli approached the Area Commander Ughelli and requested that Policemen be withdrawn from the express road. The Area commander declined and informed them that the deployment was in compliance with the directive of the Commissioner of Police CP Abaniwonda Olufemi on the need to ensure police presence in that area to prevent kidnapping and other crimes. Surprisingly, women from the community in their numbers forcefully stormed the Area command premises in a violent protest, beating up a policeman in the process, and they were dispersed with the use of tear gas. The report making rounds that Policemen shot at peaceful protesters is false and should be completely disregarded.

“The Commissioner of Police Delta State CP Abaniwonda Olufemi sues for calm and reiterates that the Command will not succumb to pressure from any quarters because the adequate protection of life and property is the constitutional mandate of the Police and remains the priority of the Command.”

 

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