At least 100 women last Tuesday stormed the Enugu State Government House, protesting against alleged ritual killings and forceful marriages to traditional deities.
The women alleged that suspected ritual killers and chief priests of different deities in the Enugu-Ezike, Igboeze-North Local Government Area of the state had roles to play in the death of the deceased.
Wearing black dresses and holding palm leaves, the protesting women pleaded with Governor Sullivan Chime to ban forceful marriages to traditional gods in council areas.
The protesters also pleaded with Chime to come to their aid to unravel and stop the killing of women through fetish activities of chief priests and deities in Enugu Ezike.
Their demands were listed in a petition to the governor at the Government House gate. The petition reads in part:
"We also appeal for outright ban of any deity from forced marriage of our women as it violates sections 34 (1), 35 (1) and 42 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and Africa charter on human and peoples’ rights."
The protesters claimed that at Amachalla and Ugbaike communities, two ladies – Victoria Ugwuanyi and Rosemary Ugwuanyi – were forcefully "married" to a deity called "Iyakpala Ugbaike."
The chief priest of the deity is alleged to have also forced the daughter of a deceased man to marry him after claiming that the same deity killed the father of the girl.