By John Okunghae.
Members and residents of Odighi community who were mostly women, protested to the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Benin City over the continued detention of over 30 of their members arrested allegedly for killing cows and some fulani herdsmen. Families of the arrested members carried placards with inscriptions; “release our children now”, we want to know whether they are dead or alive”, “do not deny us our rights to freedom of information”, etc.
One of the protesters, Madam Josephine Aghahowa, whose brother was amongst those arrested lamented the injustices of the police in the manner her kinsmen where arrested, detained without prosecution for the crime they allegedly committed. More troubling, according to him is the fact no information is known about their existence. Nobody is talking to us. The fulani herdsmen are still destroying the left over of our crops in our farms. Everybody is afraid to go to their farms.
Mr. Osaro Amayo, a youth leader in the community asserted that if they actually committed the crimes as alleged that the fulanis would have invaded the community with their guns and kill any living object or thing in the community. He added that several protests have been carried out to seek the attention of government, but nobody wants to address the situation for one reason or the other. This is not fair, he said with his head tilted downwards.
An elder who does not want his name mentioned stated that the fulani herdsmen have been terrorizing them for many years. He said they didn’t get any protection from the police. He said “we wrote and made many complaints to the police about the fulanis destructive and inhuman treatments on our men and women, including raping, kidnapping and killing”.
The protesters were denied access into the building and restricted to the outside gate. No police officer was seen addressing them with respect to their demands, as at the time of this report.