Akwa Ibom State women, numbering over 2,000, yesterday, protested in Uyo, over the rape and murder of 26-year-old job seeker and graduate of Philosophy, University of Uyo, UNIUYO, late Miss Iniubong Umoren, last Thursday.
The women were demanding justice for the late Iniubong.
The women carried placards, some of which read: “We want justice for Iniubong”,“Justice for one is justice for all”.“No more rape, no more gender violence”,“#Stand in Solidarity with Akwa Ibom State women and demand justice for IniubongUmoren”, “#Rape is a crime punishable by law,” among others.
The state’s First Lady, Dr Martha Emmanuel, who addressed the women, expressed sadness over the incident, assuring them that the state government would leave no stone unturned to get justice for Umoren, saying such matter would not be treated with kid gloves.
She said the women were not just angry at the recent happenings but were saddened by the fact that despite much advocacy in this regard, some monsters were hell-bent on scuttling the efforts.
She said: “I am deeply saddened by the cruel hand of fate that has located this innocent woman. My heart is broken and that of Akwa Ibom women, who have once again said enough is enough to these crimes against women and humanity.
“For this singular act, we are saying enough is enough. Iniubong has paid the final price, this will not happen again. And I want to assure you that this monster and all his accomplices will not go unpunished. The suspect has committed rape, and murder and the case cannot be overlooked.
“I call on the security agency to unmask all those behind this cruelty. All accomplices must be brought to book and no one should go unpunished. This should be the last in the series of these crimes in the state.”
She sent her condolences to the bereaved family and all victims of rape, and prayed to God to grant them comfort in their moments of grief.
Also speaking, Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Princess Felicia Bassey, decried the injury done to the family of late Iniubong, stressing that the murder of Iniubong has reawakened the voices of women against the heinous crime of rape, adding that all people of good conscience should condemn the act in its totality.
She urged the women to leverage the law against Gender Based Violence, GBV, and report any act of harassment to appropriate authorities in the state for swift action.
State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Ini Adiakpan, emphasized the need to nip in the bud the increasing cases of sexual molestation and harassment in the society.
Speaking in the same vein, Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, Emem Etteh, assured that the organisation would continually defend women, stressing that a lot has to be done on the orientation of the male folks on their duties and roles as defenders of women.
The women, who took off from the popular Ibom Plaza and protested through major streets within Uyo metropolis before gathering at the globe along Wellington Bassey Way, chanted solidarity songs and dirges.
They were led by the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Adiakpan; Deputy Speaker of the state Assembly, Bassey; State Chairman of FIDA, Etteh, among others.