Soldiers Manhandle Aged Women Protesting Against Oil Firm In Delta

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BEVERLY HILLS, March 03, (THEWILL) – Soldiers attached to PRESCO Oil Company in Delta state on Wednesday threw caution to the wind as they descended on community dwellers protesting against the oil firm, among who were elderly women said to be in their 80s.

Sources said the soldiers flogged, booted and assaulted hundreds of the women during the peaceful protest at Ovre-Eku (Iwevbo) community.

Two journalists including a Vanguard reporter, Perez Brisibe, who were at the scene to cover the protest, were also assaulted by the rampaging soldiers.

After they had been forcefully dispersed, the soldiers who went berserk invading parts of Ovre-Eku community where they destroyed not less than nine motorcycles and 13 bicycles belong to the residents of the community.

The sight of the soldiers who arrived in a white Hilux van were said to have forced the residents to flee their homes for dear lives.

The women were reportedly at PRESCO to protest against the company's stance in the disputed land between Edo and Delta states which was sold to the oil firm.

The women numbering about 500 had besieged the entrance of the oil firm from Eku community where they first converged wearing black attires and carrying a coffin covered with palm fronds to express their grievance on the alleged sale of the land to the oil company.

Sources say that just after the protesters got to the company’s gate, the soldiers, who were hired by the oil firm, accosted them and ordered them to vacate the site but the women were said to have insisted on being addressed by a representative of the company before they leave.

Witnesses report that angered by the stand of the women, a senior military officer identified to be the Unit Commander at the site; Lt. E.D Oworobo cocked his riffle and ordered his men to flog the women.

As the women were fleeing, the fierce-looking soldiers chased them around even as they fled into adjourning bushes, one of the journalists at the scene said, describing the incident as return of the dark days of the military era.

“It was a pathetic sight as some of the women in their 80s who could not run where caught up by the fierce looking soldiers and trampled upon with their boots while others where flogged with thick tree stems.

“As at the time we left the scene, scores of the women were missing while it was gathered that the soldiers had detained some of the protesting women with others still hiding in the bushes”.

The reporter said that when they tried to talk to the Unit Commander, Lt. Oworobo on why the women were treated like that, he call their bluff and insulted them.

Story by Joe Ogbodu