Nigeria: Police Brutality in Delta State: Women Shot, Injured as Protest Turns Violent

Nigeria: Police Brutality in Delta State: Women Shot, Injured as Protest Turns Violent

By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria

In a distressing turn of events, a peaceful protest by women in Ughelli, Delta State, took a violent turn as they were met with forceful dispersal by operatives of the Delta State Police Command. The women, hailing from Oteri-Ughelli in the Ughelli North Local Government Area, were demonstrating against alleged harassment and extortion by policemen in their community.

Eyewitnesses recount that what began as a peaceful protest quickly escalated into a bloody confrontation. The hundreds of aggrieved women had gathered at the Police Area Command office in Ughelli to voice their grievances. However, they were met with resistance from the men and officers stationed there.

Carrying placards with various messages such as “Oteri-Ughelli is a peaceful community with law-abiding citizens, stop making life difficult for us” and “Police are making life difficult for our poor and innocent citizens,” the women hoped to draw attention to the injustices they were facing.

Unfortunately, security operatives responded with excessive force, using tear gas against the unarmed women and even resorting to shooting. One middle-aged woman was shot in her left leg, while others were subjected to severe beatings. The scene quickly turned chaotic and chaotic, leaving many injured.

Harvest Ugbhwiako and Mrs. Vivian Aphiare, two leaders of the protesting women, spoke out about the unjust arrests and detentions of their children and wards. They claimed that their loved ones were unlawfully apprehended and only released on bail after paying exorbitant sums ranging from N150,000 to N200,000.

The President General of the community, Efe Peter, expressed his disappointment with the police for resorting to such violent measures against peaceful protesters. He recounted how the women had intended to register their grievances at the palace of the Ovie (monarch) of Ughelli kingdom and the Area Commander. However, before any resolution could be reached, the police began shooting and tear-gassing the women, causing injuries and chaos.

The community has been grappling with ongoing incidents of harassment and extortion by the police. Residents have reported being unable to access their community or travel outside without encountering these abuses. The extortion is particularly rampant in the evenings when motorcyclists and tricycles refuse to transport anyone for fear of police extortion.

Efe Peter further highlighted the recent wave of arbitrary arrests, vandalism of houses belonging to youths in the community, and the extortion of money from innocent individuals without any valid reasons or offenses.

In response to the incident, the Police Area Commander in Ughelli, ACP Adebayo, acknowledged the complaints and assured that the command would take appropriate action against erring officers. He also disclosed that he had already disbanded a squad of hunters within the command.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for police reform and the protection of citizens’ rights. The use of excessive force against peaceful protesters is a violation of their fundamental rights and undermines the trust between the police and the community. It is crucial for authorities to address these issues promptly and ensure that justice is served.

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