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Delta Women Protest Against Okowa Over Policies, Pronounce Curses On Him

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On Thursday morning, more than 5,000 Isoko women embarked on a protest against Delta State Governor Okowa’s “inhumane” and “draconian” policies. The march, which nearly turned violent, took place at Oleh, the headquarters of Isoko South Local Government Area (LGA).

The visibly angry women marched through the streets of Oleh carrying green leaves and placards and chanting war songs. As they marched they pronounced curses on Governor Okowa. Their march effectively shut down the entire town including local institutions such as banks, schools, and the Isoko South secretariat.

Speaking on behalf of the marchers, a woman who identified herself as Mrs.Theresa Akpo, said they were protesting against Governor Okowa’s taxation on farm crops and roads, his increase of the ticket levy, from N70 to N150, for motorcyclists (AKA Okada Riders), the compulsory weekly payment of N200 by every shop owner in town, and the N200 levy on market women.

“The movement of people and properties has been made nearly impossible since the Okada riders went on strike and the few who manage to work are charging us triple the supposed fare.

“The Nigeria police force is another problem we have in the area, their extortion is too much. There is a compulsory payment of N100 at every police checkpoint on the road for free passage, and this has made life unbearable for us,” Mrs. Akpo explained.

Because of these policies, Mrs. Akpo stated, the women of the area decided to place a curse upon Governor Okowa. She went on to accuse the governor of possessing a “devilish mind”.

“We the women, mothers have placed curses on Governor Okowa because the child who said his mother will not sleep, such a child will not sleep too.

“It is only a man with a devilish mind who can take the steps Governor Okowa has taken so far. We dare say Mr. Okowa is a devil.” Mrs. Akpo said.

The assembled women called upon Governor Okowa to immediately reverse all his actions. They warned that failure to acquiesce to their demands would result in their taking their protest to the government house in Asaba, as well as contacting every media house in Delta State.

The women of Isoko were the second to protest Governor Okowa’s policies in just two days. On Tuesday, more than 2,000 Okada riders staged a march against the State government over the increase of their ticket levy. A few of these protesters were arrested over an alleged scuffle with men of the Nigerian Police and Army.

Addressing the over 5,000 protesting women at the Council Secretariat, the State Chairman of the Association of Local Governments Of Nigeria (ALGON) who is also the Chairman of Isoko South LGA, Constantine Itakoro Ikpokpo, appealed to the women to remain calm.

Mr. Ikpokpo took pains to explain to the women that the increment and the road tax were from the State government and,not, from the local government as was rumored. He noted that he had no ability to ameliorate the issues, but he assured the marchers he would pass on their grievances to the appropriate parties.

He did, however, attempt to explain that the road taxes were intended to create more Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in order to allow the State government to deliver services.

“The State government under the Road Tax law is constitutionally empowered to collect fees from commercial road users. The order is a State government directive aimed at boosting the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the State towards the effective delivery of essential services,” Mr. Ikpokpo explained.

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