Tuesday, September 17, 2019 5:57 pm
Calls for Mass peaceful protest tomorrow
…Hotels without CCTVs cameras to be shutdown
…Rivers govt assures of efforts to nab suspects.
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
As over 40 women groups, in collaboration with the Rotary International, plan a peaceful protest against serial killings of women in hotels in Rivers State, former Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, has described the ‘prostitution’ tag on victims by the Police as insensitive.
The peaceful protest which will start at 7 am on Monday September 16, from the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union Journalists, NUJ to Police Headquarters was to demand action from Police to arrest the suspects, parade and charge them to court.
Semenitari said the tagging of the victims of the alleged serial killer as mere commercial sex workers is not enough reason for them to be killed without any efforts being made to apprehend their killers.
Semenitari gave example of two ladies killed at a hotel in Peter Odili area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State yesterday, Monday September 16, who were said to waitresses and were responding to room service calls.
She recalled in the last couple of weeks, Port Harcourt, has witnessed serial murders of young women in hotel rooms.
She said “Of course as is expected, Nigeria’s moral police, all of whom have gaping clinks in their armour have announced to us that “prostitution is no option.”
She pointed out that it is the height of insensitivity to walk over the dead bodies of any human painting it with a slur brush and shaming the dead a tag of prostitution and so, deserve to be murdered.
According to her, as fate will have it more recent narratives have suggested that these ladies may just be innocent and unfortunate victims.
Regrettably, however, Semenitari said our society has decided that slut shaming women is the only way people get their solution and rather than focus on finding the killers, the police (known I suppose for their high moral rectitude) sermonise telling us to please advise our daughters not to go to hotels.
As veteran Journalist, she recalled that being a guest in hotels as she carried her job was always not an becoming option.
“I started my professional life as a 21 year old in Lagos. As a reporter I pounded the streets at night and far into the wee hours of the morning. I was in hotels, bars, night clubs as part of my job. Whenever I travelled out of town I stayed in hotels and if I covered an assignment very late and couldn’t get home I slept in a hotel. As a cub reporter, my take home was barely anything so I didn’t sleep in the most fancy of hotels. But as a young girl I also had a right to decide that I wanted to give myself a treat now and again.
“I recall that our trio of Ibim Toby, Joy Ege and Eki Gbinigie would do the jazz club rounds from Jazz et al on Allen, Jazzville in Yaba and Jazz 38 on Awolowo road Ikoyi, then maybe on a good day, back to nightshift for a good girls nights out. We no send and we no owe. I guess we deserved to die for living life going by the myriad of unsolicited advice whited sepulchres are giving dead victims.
“The point is that young girls are being killed. Young girls with a bright future. Young girls who are struggling to eke out a living. Young girls who just want to survive. Young girls who didn’t realise that the city they had grown up in, known, loved and felt safe in had suddenly turned on them. How were they to know that the slide was so bad and everything had gone to the dogs? But here is the real story.
“The former Spokesperson for the administration of former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Semenitari warned that “if we do not nip this in the bud and cage this monster now, it will spread and other cities will begin to feel this kiss of death.This isn’t a threat. It is the reality that we have come to see in Nigeria. Remember when kidnapping started in the Niger Delta? We assumed it was ” their” problem. Today we see that it is “our” problem.”
She stated that sequel to the unresolved serial killings ,women, men, young and old will people go on a peaceful march to demand action on Wednesday.
She asked people to gather at Rivers NUJ Secretariat in Port Harcourt for the march and demand action.
“This is about our lives, our safety and our city. If you live, work, do business or are associated with Port Harcourt, then join us and let us demand for action from those whose job it is to keep us safe.”
Meanwhile, Eugene Waozi, the Chairman of Hotels and Hoteliers Association, claims that from their findings so far, hotels where the serial killings have taken place are not members of the association.
According to them, the hotels and are substandard with security checks and balances.
He announced that any hotel operating in the state without Close Circuit Television Cameras, CCTVs, will be shut down by Taskforce set up by the Commissioner of Police.
As part of the new procedures, “checking in and Checking out” must pass through stringent security procedure with data captured. Installed CCTV cameras must be working 24/7″.
Meanwhile, workers who were on duty in the motel in Rumuola where a young girl, the latest victim of the suspected serial killer have been arrested.
As at Monday, September 16, about 11 young women have been killed in hotels through strangulation with the victims legs tied with white handkerchiefs with mouths stuffed with tissue paper.
In similar development, the Secretary to the Rivers Government, Dr Tammy Wenike Danagogo has assured that the Rivers State Security Council is working round the clock to ensure that the recent disturbing killing of young women is stopped and the perpetrators made to face the full weight of the law.
Dr Danagogo stated that over the last few weeks, the State Security Council under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has put in place measures to secure the lives of young women who have been targeted by serial killers.
He stated that the security agencies have been mandated to work with hotels and their management to implement security measures that will end the ugly trend.
Danagogo said that the Rivers State Government remains committed to protection of lives and property of the people.
While assuring that the Rivers State Security Council will end the ugly trend, he added that the government through relevant agencies is embarking on mass sensitization of the people on security measures.