Protesting Rivers women block airport entrance, allege community’s neglect

Written by silvernewsng

By Onyeche Wofurum Igwe

For the second time in three months, women from the Ipo community in Rivers State blocked the entrance of the Port Harcourt International Airport, protesting the lack of power supply and other amenities in the area.

The women said despite being the host community to the airport for decades, they were not getting commensurate development, including good schools.

The women who stormed the main entrance of the airport in Omagwa at about 7 am on Tuesday displayed placards with several inscriptions, singing in their dialect and dancing.

Some of the writings on the placards read, “We deserve better treatment as the host community,” ‘We demand our citizens’ rights, ‘We want electricity in our community”, and “Ipo women are on a peaceful protest,” among others.

The protest caused a gridlock from the Airport Roundabout to the Omagwa Roundabout leading to Igwurita, as passengers could not access the airport, while others travelling along the route were stranded.

One of the women, identified as Orinda, said, “In March this year, we came here to protest over lack of power supply and other basic amenities. They promised to look into the matter.

“But till now, nothing has been done. That is why we are here. You can see our pots, we will cook here and stay here. We will be here until they answer us.”

Our correspondent reports that in March when a similar protest was held, it took the intervention of the former Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, Sergeant Awuse, to calm the protesters.

Awuse had appealed to them to return home and that he would liaise with stakeholders and meet with the airport authorities to resolve the issue.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said calm had returned to the area after the intervention of the state commissioner of police, Olatunji Disu.

Iringe-Koko said, “There is calm in the area now and the women have returned to their homes after the CP directed the Area Commander to contain the situation.

“From what we gathered, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria officials also addressed them. But I can say that there is calm now and even traffic is flowing well again.”

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