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Army Allegedly Brutalizes Isoko Women On Peaceful Protest

By Kenneth Orusi, The Ngerian Voice,i Asaba
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Women of Isoko extraction of Delta State have alleged that military personnel attached to 222 Battalion, Agbara-Otor, Ughelli north local government area of the state purportedly molested them while they were on a peaceful protest against Heritage Energy Operation Limited.

Trouble started Friday 25th May 2018, when the women gathered at the company’s premises in Oleh, Isoko South local government area to register their grievances against the company which they alleged had over time refused to employ their sons and daughters while continuously employing non-indigenes to the disadvantage of parents that have sent their children to school.

Speaking to Journalists, one of the women leaders, Mrs Ewoma Ochewru, alleged that soldiers from the 222 Battalion, Agbaro-Otor unit allegedly brutalized them with four women sustaining various degrees of injuries while another woman leader, Chief Mrs Igbevia Erube, was forcefully thrown into their Hilux van and taken to an unknown destination.

Said she: “It is painful to see oil companies operating daily with thousands of barrels of oil carried away from the area and the people continue to wallow in abject poverty”.

According to Mrs Ochewru, the placards, chairs and canopy they brought were allegedly destroyed by the soldiers who blocked the road leading to the gate of Heritage Energy Operational Limited, manager of OML 30 oil block.

The women leader maintained that until their leader was returned, they would remain at the Olomoro/Oleh flow station premises, adding that information on the army brutality had been sent to HRM Anthony William Ovrawah, Omogha 1, the Odiologbo of Oleh kingdom and Chief Obaro Ekokobe, Chairman of Oleh Community Development Association.

When visited, Chief Obaro Ekokobe confirmed the protest while condemning the action of the army on the women who were on a peaceful protest.

He said that Oleh community had agreement with the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) since 2013 and government representatives but noted that none of the points of agreement reached had been fulfilled by the successive companies working in the area.

In his words, “I heard the women are protesting because Heritage Energy Operational Limited that took over from NPDC since March 22, 2017 with promises of developing the area is about handing over to another company not known to Oleh community, one A .A. P. Works, a non -governmental organization without consultation with the host communities.”

The women were at the Olomoro/Oleh flow station, chanting songs and displaying placards with various inscriptions.

Efforts made to reach Heritage Energy Operational Limited and the military authority was unsuccessful as at the time of filing this report.