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Rights group condemns violence on widow in Enugu, demands justice

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta 

The South East Human Rights Situation Room has condemned in totality the inhuman treatment meted on a window by the youths of Agunese Affam-Mmaku Autonomous Community in Awgu local government area of Enugu state, on Thursday October 28, 2022. 

Orient Daily gathered that the window was violently abused and stripped naked, is currently hospitalized as a result of the injuries caused by the physical and emotional torture she received from the errant youths of the community.

In a statement signed by Mrs. Blessing Igwe of the Secretariat of the South-East Human Rights Situation Room, and made available to newsmen on October 29, 2022, the group explained, “the victim received jungle justice for merely collecting snails from a sacred site which caused the boys and men in that village to subject her to this humiliation treatment, while the women watched and urged them on. The vile act was further recorded, and the video was shared on the internet.

“In the trending video also shared in the South-East Human Rights Situation Room by a member of the forum, the woman was seen beaten to a stupor, stripped naked, and paraded in the community like a common thief. This barbaric act is dehumanizing, satanic, and a violation of the human rights of this poor widow.

“The fact that a community in this 21st century can commit this heinous crime against their daughter, and wife all in the name of culture speaks volumes of their level of backwardness. Interestingly, this incident is not the first time that such flagrant desecration of women was perpetuated in this same community. 

“Regrettably in the past, the WomenAid Collective (WACOL), a gender justice non-governmental organization, also received and handled similar cases from the same community. 

“The South East Human Rights Situation Room reiterates that any cultural practice that is anti-human, is in conflict with the constitution of the Federation Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law of Enugu State 2019, and the Widowhood Law of Enugu, and also repugnant to natural justice.

“We also noted, that in recent times, there has been a spike in such nauseating acts of man inhumanity to women as recorded in our communities, especially in Igbo land, hence the need for urgent action to be taken by the stakeholders toward stemming the tide.

“It is disheartening and condemnable that despite high-level advocacy interventions carried out by CSOs in the county to create a gender-friendly environment where women and girls feel safe just like their male counterparts, women in Nigeria especially in the South-East geopolitical zones have continued to suffer huge physical,  emotional,  and psychological abuses, due to harmful cultural practices. Enough is enough!”, the statement read in part.

While calling for urgent action, the group added, “the traditional ruler and the cabinet members of the Agunese Afam-Mmaku Autonomous community should take urgent steps to check the excesses of their subjects, so as to prevent a repeat of such injustices against women.

We also appeal to the concerned authorities, especially the Awgu LGA chairman, as well as the state government to do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure that the perpetrators of these monstrous acts are prosecuted.

“Ndigbo should as a matter of critical urgency speak out in unionism in condemnation of harmful cultural norms that bring shame to the Igbo race, and perpetually project them in bad light before the comity of nations”.

The South East Human Rights Situation Room is a coalition of like-minded NGOs working in South East Nigeria. Our core objective is to protect the human rights of all residents of the zone through Advocacy, Dialogue, and Sensitization. Its membership is drawn from NGOs working in the area of Gender and Human Rights in the zone.

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