The Nigerian Atrocity Against 100 Igbo Women, By Charles Ofoji

100 women

It is only in a country peopled by mad people that over 100 women, some of them pregnant and nursing mothers, would be arrested and slammed into prison without any crime committed.

It is also in a country without regard for people and family that such atrocity could take place.

Yes, it is an atrocity to scatter over 100 families simply because those in charge have no stomach for dissent. A family is bound to be distressed once the mother is missing.

Old habits die hard. Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, no matter the pretence and lies being told, is not a democrat. In Buhari’s Nigeria, questions are not supposed to be asked nor expression of grievances tolerated.

The retired general, now president, has no regard for the rule of law, neither has he shown that he has the temperament needed to lead a „democratic“ multi-ethnic country like Nigeria.

How can a sane leader, born of a woman and who retire each night to the comfort provided by a woman in bed, order or condone the incarceration of such number of women, who did nothing than express their consitutional rights of peaceful protest and assembly, as guaranteed by Sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution?

Of course, this kind of brutality and abuse of citizens’ rights can only take place in Igbo Nation, inhabited by a “conquered people,” who have lost their voice and influence in the union called Nigeria.

But wait a minute, how could over 100 innocent mothers of a nation (Igbo) be so unjustly dehumanized and such a race pretends that nothing happened? Not even noise making. In fact, a grumble would have sufficed in the absence of nothing.

I have always held the view that Nigeria would have been far better than what it is today if we had a corruption-free and courageous judiciary.

A magistrate was sitting in his court, and one crazy prosecutor shoved into his presence over 100 women, who the magistrate should know, by virtue of his training, to have done nothing, yet he remanded them to prison – on the excuse that he lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter.

If he lacked competence to entertain the case, from where did the authority with which he sent them to prison emanate from?

In a situation, where a court lacks jurisdiction to try a person, such zero jurisdiction must be fully recognised and adhered to, including non admittance of the arraignment of the suspects connected to the zero jurisdiction matter.

In fact, it is shocking that the charge sheet was allowed to be read in open court.

If those at the bench in Nigeria were the last hope of the commonplace people, that magistrate should have harshly admonished the police (prosecutor) for wasting the time of the court and chased away the arresting and detaining authorities for their folly in bringing before him a case they should have known the court has no jurisdiction.

He should have ordered them to take their detainees to the appropriate high court.

So the question begging for answer is; why then did he send the women to prison when he had no power to do that? Was he part of actors playing out a script, possibly written by the government?

For the avoidance of doubt, the over 100 innocent Igbo women, now wrongfully in deplorable Nigerian prison, committed no offence known to the laws of the nation.

On 17th of August, they embarked on a peaceful street protest to express their grievances and demand answers to their legitimate questions. They had no gun or rifle of any sort. They had no IEDs found in their possession or from any of them; except flags and insignias and other faith objects such as bangles, chaplets, bibles, necklaces, sachets of water, etc.

The rights of those women of courage were violated the moment they were touched by security operatives.

“The street protest was organised by the unarmed, defenseless and innocent women to express their deep displeasure over persecutory policies of the present central Government in Igbo Land including ceaseless killing in hundreds by the same Government of unarmed and defenseless pro Biafra activists and maiming of hundreds of others as well as planned “Army Python Dance 111” and non disclosure of the whereabouts of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and his royal parents, HRH, Eze Israel Okwu and Lolo Ugoeze Nnene Kanu who reportedly went missing following the military invasion of their Afara-ukwu Palace near, Umuahia on 14th September 2017,“ the Daily Post had quoted the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) as saying .

Yet they were arrested, detained, tortured and labeled “terrorists” and “treasonable felons.” And the so-called Igbo leaders are tight-lipped due to selfish political and pecuniary calculations.

Well as Igbos, they should know the efficacy of a mother’s cry. And the tears of those betrayed women will surely wash away their relevance in the Igbo Nation and whatever they have dubiously gotten by siding with the tormentors of their people.

Also worthy of note is the silence of the Ibadan-Lagos axis Press over the historic injustice meted out to these Igbo women. But this cruelty will surely go down in history as the Nigerian atrocity against over 100 Igbo women.

Rights groups and some eminent Nigerians have asked the Nigerian and Imo State Governments to drop, withdraw and discharge all the 10-count charges of treasonable felony, conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and terrorism levelled against the over Igbo 100 women.

I guess that is the last thing Governor Rochas Okorocha will freely do for now. Mr. Okorocha, is doing all to please his new political godfather, Buhari in his bid to realize his inordinate ambition of becoming Nigeria’s next president in 2023.

The ordeal of these Igbo women shows that Buhari’s government merely played to the gallery, due to 2019 elections, when it sacked the DSS chief, Lawal Daura for his assault on the National Assembly.

If this government cared about the rule of law, those women would not have been arrested in the first place for a peaceful protest.

Ex-NSA Sambo Dasuki would still not be in custody about three years after his arrest, despite multiple court orders for his release. Not to mention the case of the detained Shiite leader, El-Zakzaky.

This government wants to teach those agitating for Biafra a lesson and I doubt if those innocent mothers would be set free without dragging them through the slow grind of the Nigerian justice system.

But lets be clear, the agitation for Biafra can never be silenced by brute force or by serving injustice to those clamouring for it. The pythons have danced at least twice. I have heard of a third dance; as if pythons have an indefinite lifespan.

The clamour for Biafra can also not be quenched by calling the agitators terrorists. The struggle for Biafra will never cease until fairness is extended to those who are saying they are unfairly treated by their own country – or at least a process to deliver that fairness is seen to have been activated.


Categories: Column, Opinion


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