From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The pristine and serene status of Ekpetiama kingdom in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State has been desecrated. Crime and criminality has taken roots in the seven communities in the kingdom and shattered the peace of the people.
Kidnappings, drug abuse, rape, cultism are now order of the day forcing hundreds of women in the kingdom to take to the streets calling for an end to the insecurity. The protest led by the Queen, Timinipre Dakolo, Ibenana-Arau of Ekpetiama kingdom was huge.
Tagged ‘Ekpetiama Women Speak’ the women armed with placards with inscription such as ‘No to Criminals hiding in Ekpetiama communities’ ‘Ekpetiama is no hideout for wanted criminals’ ‘No to abduction of persons’ ‘No to drug abuse’ ’No to rape’ said they could no longer keep quiet with the deteriorating security situation in the kingdom.
Investigation revealed that after observing that the men in the kingdom were indifferent to the sad security realities and with the backing of King Bubaraye Dakolo, Ibedaowei of Ekpetiama, Agada IV, the women concluded that a protest would draw the attention of all stakeholders to the issues affecting the people. “Nowadays our youths are not behaving well before of cultism. Our girls are into all kinds of things. We the women looked at the situation and saw that the men are not doing anything about it; we decided to come together and save the lives of our children” says the woman leader Mrs Okpotolomo Dimipre. “Enough is enough for bloodletting, cultism, child and drug abuse and rape in Ekpetiama Kingdom” added the chairperson of Federation of International Women Lawyers FIDA) Bayelsa state chapter Mrs. Tariere Egbegi. She assured the gathering of enthusiastic women that FIDA has the capacity to deal with any miscreant or groups that take the law into their hands.
Queen Dakolo explained that the security situation in Ekpetiama Kingdom has never been this bad. She lamented that the once peaceful kingdom has been turned into a haven of fugitives and criminal elements.
“Traditionally, women expect men to protect the family. But in Ekpetiama Kingdom, and indeed most of Nigerian communities, this is becoming an aberration and so the Ekpetiama women felt they should not sit back and get consumed. We decided to do something where the men are apparently failing,” Queen Dakolo said.
King Dakolo, who gave thumbs up to the women for the initiative, noted that the protest was “aimed at attracting law enforcement agencies, especially the Police to be aware that most of the criminals they are looking out for in this country are hiding out at Ekpetiama Kingdom. They should come and pick them. It is also for the wanted criminals hiding out in the Kingdom to give themselves up for possible rehabilitation. That is the objective of the protest.”
King Dakolo said the women drew inspiration from the exploits of women who had risen up to the occasion to salvage a difficult situation.
“In Ekpetiama Kingdom, people have raped young girls and are still walking freely. In the kingdom, people are selling marijuana, Cocaine etc. So why should the women feel safe? The women believe men have been laid back for too long. They remembered the Aba women riot, Queen Amina of Zaria. The long and short of it is that they were able to ginger law enforcement agents to be up to their responsibilities.”
The monarch expressed sadness that the security situation which got bad in 2015 when the acting Amananowei King Christian Otobotekere, 91, was kidnapped from his home, has not improved.
The protest appeared to have paid off as the people have agreed to hold a meeting to tell all non-indigenes involved in criminal activities to leave the community. The hope is that criminal elements within would listen and change for the better to return Ekpetiama to its years of innocence.