By Stephanie Ikanone
Thousands of women (Egweya) on Saturday protested against Chief Augus Omasoro who allegedly crowned himself as the new king of Idjerhe Kingdom in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State last week.
The women also protested alleged incessant attacks by suspected herdsmen on farmers of Idjerhe Kingdom.
Some chiefs from the kingdom had allegedly crowned Omasoro last Saturday night as successor to His Royal Majesty, Edward Igho Otadaferua, Erhiekevwe 1, who joined his ancestors in 2018.
But protesters stressed that the kingdom is yet to select a new king from the royal families, adding that anyone parading himself as Idjerhe monarch is an impostor.
The protesters drawn from various communities in the kingdom however appealed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to immediately intervene in the kingship tussle and herdsmen attacks before the incidents result to serious security threats to his administration.
The protest which started from Boboruku to Oyubru and onward to Jesse main town had in attendance women of various age grades in the kingdom.
Addressing newsmen on behalf of the protesters, Mama Margaret Obukukwho described the action of Omasoro and 12 other chiefs in the kingdom as sacrilege against the gods and ancestors of Idjerhe Kingdom.
“This action carried out by Omasoro and his cohorts have never happened before. A king is crowned after the ruling house and kingmakers have reached a consensus but Omasoro’s own was different. We want him to remove that bead on his ankles”, Obukukwho said.
She pleaded with the state governor to quickly act to avoid breakdown of law and order in the area.
Lending her voice in condemnation of the royal crisis in the kingdom, another protester, Mrs Ejenavi Ogheneyoma noted that the emergence of Idjerhe king usually follows laid down traditional rites and procedure before the king-elect is presented to the people of the kingdom.
She added that Idjerhe king is not crowned in secret as it was done in the case of Omasoro.
On herdsmen attacks, she lamented that women in over 20 communities in the kingdom were no longer going to their farms over fears of being attacked, adding that the prices of food stuffs had gone up thereby increasing the level of hardship in the area.
Mrs. Ogheneyoma said “We are begging Senator Dr Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa to intervene on the issue. We want him to remove Omasoro for us. We are trying to deal with herdsmen issue when Omasoro’s issue came up. We are begging Okowa to help us chase herdsmen away and facilitate the process for us to get a new king.
“I no longer have a source of livelihood. I’m a major producer of garri before now but as at today, I now buy garri for my household from other women who bought from other places. I am even scared to go to the farm to harvest my plantain to avoid being raped by herdsmen.
Also, Mrs Esther Omonigho, said that the herdsmen attacks have brought untold hardship on the people of Idjerhe kingdom.
According to her, “The people of Idjerhe kingdom are predominantly farmers and they depend on their farm produce for survival. We are tired of the herdsmen attacks, our fellow women have been raped, killed and assaulted by herdsmen. We want them to leave Idjerhe kingdom, and we want them out of Jesse.”
See protest photos below: