Former Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Ibim Seminitari, is leading women and civil society organisations in Rivers State in a street protest against recent serial killings of young women in hotels in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The street protest, scheduled for Wednesday will take off at the Moscow Road Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ. It will involve all the 11 Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt, 27 other women and youth groups and individuals who feel troubled by the serial killings.
“Because no one is safe, let’s all come out and demand action,” said Seminitari in her message to participants and residents of Port Harcourt.
Among organisations joining in the protest are the Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Women in Colleges of Education, Nigerian Girls Association, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, MWAN, Ijaw Women Connect, IWC, and Mater Dei Girls Centre.
Speaking on the killings, Semenitari said, “It is truly a sad time in Port Harcourt City. We have a serial killer or group of ritual killers on the loose and they are preying on our women, the custodians of our future generations and guardians of our continued existence.
“Evil prevails when good men sit back and do nothing. It’s time to begin to care about the next person. Our problem is not corruption, it’s not bad leadership or poverty but the continued lack of respect for the next person which is slowly turning us into less than animals in the wild.”
She said everyone needed to play a part in the campaign to stop the serial killings. “Play your part. Join the women (and men) who are coming out to protest. You don’t have to be paid for a good deed.
“If you have information, give it to the authorities and go with company to safeguard yourself. When you see anything suspicious, intervene or report immediately. If you find yourself in a tight spot or difficult situation raise an alarm,” she said.
Dabota Jumbo, one of the volunteers, said she was joining to restore sanity to Port Harcourt. “I am a Port Harcourt Girl; original; born and raised in Great Garden City. It was not so from the beginning. Something must be wrong somewhere.”
Another volunteer, Bill Christian said, “That insane serial killer must be exposed and brought to book. Why should our women be killed like chicken? The security agents must step up their game.”
At least three ladies had been strangled in three different hotels in Port Harcourt in the last few months. This has raised apprehension in the city.
But Chucks Enwonwu, a deputy commissioner of police in Rivers State had told a group that protested to the police headquarters the killings had been related to prostitution and urged residents to advise their female relations to avoid prostitution.
Soibi Jack, who organized the earlier protest, criticized the police chief, saying “even if they (victims) were sex workers, their lives matter too.”