Gunmen suspected of being members of Ebubeagu attacked the site of a women’s meeting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state on Saturday.
The incident occurred at a location along the Abakaliki-Enugu highway.
It was said that the meeting was called by more than 17 women’s groups in the 13 local government areas of the state for the empowerment of some women.
The armed men stormed the scene in the middle of the meeting, shooting into the air. The women ran in different directions for their safety, eye wtin6esses reported.
Some people were arrested and taken out of the meeting place by the armed men, according to the sources.
Journalists covering the event were chased away, while the armed men were said to have taken the canopies and chairs from the place to an unknown destination.
Subsequently, the women regrouped and held a protest in some streets of the city.
In a statement signed by Amaka Chukwu and three others on behalf of the protesters, the women described the disruption of the meeting as a violation of their fundamental human rights enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
“This heinous act was carried out by Ebonyi State Executive Governor Dave Umahi through his attack dogs, the Ebonyi State Ebubeagu Security Team.
“It is neither new nor alien to the Igbo race that all women come together every August to discuss and map out the best possible ideas and development projects to improve the well-being of our people,” they said.
The women protesting said the governor has a history of working against women in the state.
“This includes the persecution of Ebonyi South APC Senator hopeful Princess Ann Agom-Eze, who is currently in exile for seeking to serve in her senatorial district.
“Two previous disruptions and harassment of Ebonyi women’s legal gatherings, and today’s attack on the August 2022 Ebonyi Women’s Annual General Meeting, in which some people were kidnapped by Governor Umahi’s Ebubeagu security militia and taken to Ebonyi State Government House, beaten and stripped naked.
“In addition, the Afikpo delegates were forced back by another detachment of Governor Umahi’s Ebubeagu militia who fired sporadically at the hapless women.”
Special Assistant to the Governor for Homeland Security Panchris Eze said the Ebubeagu were there because of a tip that some pro-separatist groups were gathering there.
He said the group chased the women from the scene to prevent any security breaches in the area.
He, however, denied that his group undressed any women.
Ebonyi State Government security consultant Stanley Emegha also confirmed the disruption of the meeting.
He said Ebubeagu received a security tip that the site was being used to plot attacks against security teams in the city.
Emegha promised that those arrested would be brought to justice.
He warned against such a meeting in Abakaliki.
“Anyone who wants to do the August meeting should go to their respective towns and do it,” he said.
Ebubeagu’s ugly past
Ebubeagu, which is backed by the Ebony State government has been linked to torture and death.
In January, members of the security team were caught on video torturing a state resident.
The victim, Nnaogo Amyum, later died as a result of torture.
Young people from the community staged a violent protest over the incident, burning houses belonging to members of the security team, including a house belonging to the president of a local government council.
In addition, a government critic and spokesman for the Peoples’ Democratic Party in the state, Nwoba Chika, was attacked and beaten by Ebubeagu agents in January.
He was charged to court, remanded in custody, but was later released following public outrage.
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