Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, at the weekend, virtually came to a halt when over 50 women from Ivo Local Council stormed the city to vent their anger over the suspension on “a trumped up charge of drunkenness and boarding a tricycle,” of the member representing their constituency in the House of Assembly, Princess Lillian Igwe.
With pain clearly etched on their faces, the women told journalists they were in “Abakaliki to protest the mischievous and malicious act of discrimination and intimidation against their representative,” and called for a redress of the false allegations against Mrs. Igwe.
While indicating that the matter might get to the National Assembly and the Presidency, spokesperson of the group, Mrs. Obiageli Doris, noted that the suspension of the legislator was also a crime against women and people of Ivo Constituency, who Igwe represented.
“We, therefore, want to use this opportunity to urge the House leadership to immediately look into the matter and rescind the vindictive suspension. This is the minimum remedy we expect from the House leadership unless the House is prepared to face the consequences that the grave error of judgment would attract. We wish to state our resolve to pursue this matter to the National Assembly and the Presidency until the truth is made open and justice done,” she declared.
The visibly infuriated women, accusing male politicians of intimidation and marginalization of female politicians, wondered how “the only woman from the senatorial zone among the four women in the House of 24, a woman of virtue, a wife and a mother,” could be linked to the alleged offence of drunkenness.
Stressing that “the allegations were false, baseless and confounding”, the women said the false allegations on their representative were to “bring the woman’s name, the entire women and people of Ivo Local Council to shame”, even as they queried when it became an offence for a legislator to board a tricycle also called Keke NAPEP.
Her words: “Even if the female legislator boarded Keke as alleged as one of the offences for which she was suspended, she must have done that to feel the pulse of the people she is representing at the House of Assembly. Must she buy a helicopter just because she is in the House of Assembly? She is our representative and we support her feeling and humility”.
Speaking further to the thunderous acclamation of the throng, Mrs. Obiageli declared that the womenfolk in the constituency were prepared to fight with their last blood for justice to prevail and if possible take the matter to the wife of Mr. President, Dame Patience Jonathan, for necessary condemnation.
A prominent stakeholder in Ivo, Chief Cletus Dogo Ekene Obodo who accompanied the protesters regretted that “members of the State Assembly abandoned their legislative functions to chase shadows,” stressing that there were male members in the House who actually committed more grievous offences but were allowed to go scot-free.