By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
No fewer than 200 women from an Anambra community on Thursday stormed the Agu-Awka government house to protest the change of the town’s name from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu.
They called on governor Obiano to wade into the crisis in the community, even as they accused Maduka of reigning terror on them.
The community located in Orumba South Local Government Area of the state was originally known as Nkerehi but was changed to Umuchukwu.
New NIgerian gathered that the community’s name was changed to Umuchukwu following a condition allegedly given by one of their influential son, Dr Godwin Maduka.
It was learnt that the American based medical practitioner before he embarked on the transformation of the community charged the community elders to change its name and allow for God’s light to come in and that led to the change to Umuchukwu.
The women who were all dressed in black displayed placards with various inscriptions, and banners, showing pictures of those who thugs allegedly loyal to maduka maimed.
Spokesperson of the women, Dr Mrs Maureen Igwike who addressed government officials on behalf of the protesters said, “we are Nkerehi people in Orumba South LGA. Dr Godwin Maduka has been using his brother, Kenneth Maduka to terrorize us.
“They killed my husband recently, and took the corpse away. The problem is that in 2007, they changed the name of our community, and many objected. Since then, they have been visiting the homes of some of us who insist we remain Nkerehi.”
The community has been in crisis since a referendum championed Maduka caused a change in the name of the community from Nkerehi to Umuchukwu, but a part of the community has, however, insisted that it will continue to bear the old name.
Addressing the protesters, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, Mrs Vera Okonkwo commended the women for coming to notify government of the anomaly happening in their community, rather than taking the laws into their hands.
“I am here on behalf of Anambra government to receive you people, and to thank you for a peaceful protest. I know that whatever could make you people to be wailing like this is not a joke.
“I advise you to be calm, the governor is a calm man and does not allow intimidation, so he will not allow you to be intimidated by anyone, now that he knows. We have your petition, and the governor will look into it,” she added.
Dr Godwin Maduka has however denied being involved in any case of intimidation, harassment and molestation among women in his community.
He described the protest as one aimed at tarnishing his image.
In his reaction, Mr Obinna Okafor, Special Adviser to Dr. Godwin Maduka on Media & Strategic Communications said, “The alleged cases of molestation, intimidation and harassment were untrue and non-existent. Such futile political blackmail could simply be described as hand of Esau, voice of Jacob.
“No doubt, Dr. Maduka’s (Okosisi Orumba) presence in politics has changed the narratives; a lot of desperate political merchants are uncomfortable with what he’s bringing to the table for Ndi Anambra. Hence, they continue to seek ways to smear the widespread grassroot support and towering reputation of the Umuchukwu born globally renowned medical expert.”
According to him, due process of a referendum was followed in changing the name of the community, and the name was gazetted by the Anambra State Government.
He stressed that the dissenting families were less than three and constituted those mobilized by political opponents for the protest.
Dr Maduka is currently aspiring to take over the leadership of the state under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in the November 6 governorship election in state.