By Tony Adibe
The Traditional Ruler of Agunese Mmaku, in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, Igwe Cyprian Mmaduabuchi Nevobasi, has lauded the prompt intervention of the Enugu State Government on the issue of woman from his community who was stripped naked by angry youths for picking sacred snails from a local shrine.
NewsBits recalls that in a viral video of the woman on the social media, a mob also assaulted her physically and tied fresh palm fronts round her naked waist and neck before parading her round the village. Her alleged offence was that she reportedly picked snails from a sacred forest or shrine.
Igwe Nevo-Obasi who condemned the act, explained that it was not in their custom to stripe a woman naked for whatever offence, and promised that the perpetrators of the crime would face the full weight of the law to serve as deterrent to others.
The traditional ruler spoke during a joint press conference organised for the Enugu State Ministry of Gender Affairs, Awgu Local Government Area and the traditional ruler, Igwe Nevo-Obasi.
The native ruler said: “my eyes as a traditional ruler and custodian of the culture in Agunese Mmaku could not behold the babaric act in the trending video. I was really disappointed in those boys, who failed to have channelled the allegations to appropriate quarters in the community.”
“For more than 25 years on the throne as the traditional ruler, we have never stripped anyone naked for whatsoever offence or boundaries crossed.”
“Last week, the children of the victim were in school when some persons pointed at them as those their mother was striped naked. You can imagine the type of segregation and discrimination they have been exposed to.”
“But thank God that when the local Government Chairman of Awgu heard it, he transferred their academics to another school in a different environment to avoid exposing them to traumatic experience.”
However, the victim, Mrs. Okonkwo, in an interview earlier, said: “my customer who was caught by the angry youths brought them to my house where they broke into my window, dragged me out, tore my clothes, stripped me naked, burnt all my other clothes and stole about thirty thousand naira cash (#30,000,00) from my house and that was the all and all I had for the upkeep of my children.”
Also speaking at press conference, the Chairman, Awgu Local Government Area, Chief Pedro Okwidili Nwankwo, described the incident as barbaric.
Chief Nwankwo condemned the angry youths who took laws into their hands, saying “if actually the allegations were verified to have been true, they could have contacted the Igwe, Onowu or the chief priest. After all, why were they fighting for the gods who the woman has allegedly dared? Why not allow the gods handle the case the way that would appease him?
“I thank God for the Governor of Enugu State, the Ministry of Gender and the state Commissioner of Police for being in their interventions.” Also, the Enugu State Government has described as condemnable and barbaric molestation of the widow from Eziama-Affiam Mmaku in Awgu local government area of the state.
The commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Princess Peace Nnaji made the condemnation during a joint press conference by the Ministry, Awgu local chairman, Okwudili Nwankwo and the traditional ruler of Mmaku, Igwe Maduabuchi Nevobasi held at TARMA Sexual Assault Centre.
She said the Enugu State Government viewed the action against the woman as animalistic and uncivilized and expressed commitment to protecting the rights of woman using the instruments of the law.
“The unthinkable and unspeakable, dehumanizing act took place on the 27th day of October 2022 at about 10am in the morning. On getting the information, I directed the top senior staff in my Ministry to swing into action and intervene immediately.