A woman has been beaten to a stupor, stripped naked, and paraded by the youths who accused her of collecting snails from a sacred site at Agunese Affam-Mmaku Autonomous Community in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The South East Human Rights Situation Room, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday by Blessing Igwe, condemned the dehumanizing abuse of the poor widow by the youths on Thursday 28th October 2022.
The Human Rights group said the victim 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.
The statement reads, “The information available to us revealed that 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.
In the time past, the Women Aid Collective (WACOL) a Gender justice Non-governmental Organization also received and handled similar case from the same community.
“The SE 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 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 Local chairman, as well as the State government to do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure that the perpetrators of these monstrous act prosecuted.”
Igwe, who is of WACOL, added that “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.
“It is our earnest desire as a group that communities and law enforcement agencies continue to raise the accountability stakes, and take proactive actions to protect the poor, and the vulnerable members of our society such as the woman in the viral video.
“We want to sincerely commend the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), other officers, and men of the Awgu Divisional Police for their swift action that led to the arrest of seven (7) perpetrators.
“We, therefore, request their prompt prosecution under the extant laws of the land.
“Furthermore, we also extend our deepest appreciation to Mr. Vincent Okafor Esq, for his effort so far in ensuring that the victim has access to medical treatment and for also ensuring that the case was reported to the police.
“Accordingly, we shall continue to work with all interested individuals, and agencies to ensure that justice is fully served in the matter.
“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.”