The Rotary Club of Port Harcourt South, the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and 73 other women groups in Rivers State, on Wednesday staged a peace walk in protest over the killing of young women in hotels in the state.
No fewer than 11 young women had been strangled to death in hotels located in parts of Port Harcourt, the state capital and Omoku, headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of the state in less than two months.
The Nigeria Police, which has insisted that only eight women were killed within the period, has sealed two hotels were corpses of two young women were found as well as arrested two suspects in connection with the killings.
The peace walk, which started at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Port Harcourt, moved to Government House, Port Harcourt and later to the office of the Department of State Services (DSS) and headquarters of the Rivers State Police Command.
The protesters, who carried sever placards and banners that read; ‘Protect the Women Life, Stop the killings’, ‘Respect the women, don’t kill them’, ‘Women have right to life’, amongst others.
At the Government House, the protesters presented a copy of their petition to the Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG), Dr. Tammy Wenike Danagogo, who received them on behalf of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
Presenting the petition, President of Rotary Club of Port Harcourt South, Rita-Marley Idonoh, said women in the state are worried over the killings.
Idonoh called on security agencies in the state to step up their operations and ensure that the pepetrators of the act are arrested.
She demanded for a public apology from the Rivers State Police Command for referring the young women killed by the serial killers in the state as prostitutes.
Also speaking, former Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ibim Semenitari, said women in the state are burdened because people are dying in the state without cause.
Semenitari said: “We are here to make a demand from the Governor of Rivers State as the Chief Security Officer of the state. We are here to make a demand because our mothers are being killed. We are here to make a demand because our daughters are being killed.
“We are here to make a demand because our sisters are being killed. We know that he will be able to do something about it and we have come with a petition to Government House, Rivers State. We are burdened because people are dying in our state without cause.”
Receiving the petition, Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Wenike Danagogo, apologised to women in the state over the statement credited to the authorities of the Nigeria Police.
Danagogo, who said the state government was on top of the matter, advised residents of the state, especially young ones to be security.
He said: “We doubt if the Commissioner of Police or the Police PRO had said something like that but we sincerely apologise to Rivers women over such statement. A lot of the victims might have been careless but it will be wrong to address them as prostitutes.
“All of us must understand that the Nigeria of today is not like Nigeria of yesterday where some of us grew in. We have to be very careful. That time you can stay anywhere till anytime and nothing happened.”
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