Women protest in Nigeria's oil-rich delta – naked
Nearly 100 naked women protest "unacceptable siege" on their community
By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS (AA) – Nearly 100 women on Sunday walked naked through Nigeria's oil-rich town of Kokori in the Delta State to protest what they called the "unacceptable siege" on their community, eyewitness told Anadolu Agency.
"Everybody was surprised to see these women protesting naked on Sunday afternoon," Freeman Ehinor, a local eyewitness, told Anadolu Agency by phone.
"They… defied soldiers to shoot them or leave their community. They were chanting mourning songs," he added.
"The women said the military men, whose presence had led to the flight of their husbands, should come and perform their husbands' duties," Ehinor claimed.
Nigerian troops are currently laying siege to the community following a violent attack last Friday on the palace of local monarch Ogurimerime Ukori I by armed youths thought to be members of a notorious kidnapping gang whose kingpin, Kelvin Oniarah, was recently arrested.
Oniarah is accused of masterminding the kidnapping of numerous oil workers and government officials in the region.
His arrest has sparked unrest in the community and led to the deployment of troops tasked with "maintaining order" and preempting criminal activities by Oniarah's gang.
The troop deployments have led to a mass exodus by local men fearing arrest in connection with recent kidnappings.
Lt. Colonel Ifeanyi Otu, the military Joint Task Force commander in the area, told AA that he had heard about the naked protest, but cautioned the community against provoking the security agency "whose sole duty is to ensure that nothing breaches the fragile peace currently being enjoyed."
He added: "We won't be here if all is well, so we urge the women to exercise restraint. We are not here for nothing."
In most parts of Nigeria, public nudity is considered unacceptable.
History, however, records several naked or half-naked protests by Nigerian women, including some during the colonial era.
Such protests have usually been triggered by displeasure with government policies or incidents seen as too dangerous to be ignored.
Most naked protests in the past succeeded in achieving their objectives.
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