3,000 women protest husbands? killing
From JUDEX OKORO, Calabar
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Women refugees in 23 communities of Ofonokpan Mbembe in Nta-Nsele clan of Ikom and Obubra local government areas in Cross River State have taken to the streets to protest what they described as indiscriminate killing of their husbands and children.
The over 3,000 angry women clad in their native attires, also kicked against government?s negligence in resettling them in their ancestral homes since 1993.
Sunday Sun investigation revealed that the Ofonokpan-Mbembe people had been living as refugees in the last 18 years in Obubra and other communities following a communal clash with neighbouring villages.
The protesting women, who went round the council secretariat to register their anger over abuse of their human and socio-cultural rights, carried placards with inscriptions such as, ?18 years as refugees, why??, ?why kill our husbands and children at random??; ?we want killers of our people to be brought to book? and ?let justice be done to our land.?
Speaking with Sunday Sun, spokesperson of the group, Mrs. Jenny Ober Agagra, said it was unfortunate and degrading that Ofonokpan-Mbembe people had been living as slaves in Ochon, Ohana and Agaragha villages all these years in spite of repeated appeals to government to look into their plight.
Mrs. Agagra disclosed that in the last 15 years or thereabout, over 10 lives had been lost to neighbouring communities, while the women had been undergoing series of torture and all sorts of human indignities just because they are foreigners in another man?s land.
In an emotion-laden tone, she stated, ?Mr. Samuel Ebokpo suddenly disappeared in his farm at Ohana village in 1996, leaving no trace till date; Agara Aminika went to fetch firewood at Ochon village in 2003 and never returned; Mrs. Theresa Emmanuel was killed in 2009 at Agaragha village; Raphael Onyukwu was killed at Ochon in 2011, and a host of others.?
Another woman, Mrs. Rose Usim, wondered what Ofonokpan-Mbembe people did to government to have been ?badly treated and discriminated against, as several recent communal crises had been settled without being politicised unlike our case.?
?Why has government refused to resettle the 23 communities for 18 years in spite of a White Paper released in 2000 and which specifically stated that Ofonokpan-Mbembe people should go back to their ancestral home?? Usim said.
Chairman of Obubra Local Government Area, Pastor Chris Obasse, expressed shock at the incessant killings of Ofonokpan-Mbembe people and promised to look into their demands of re-settlement.
Pastor Obasse, who commended the women for their orderly conduct, however, said he would draw attention of the state government on how to tackle their problems, adding, ?I will write to the governor and suggest that he resettle you as they did to Bakassi people or build refugees? camp for you.?