Wild condemnation is trailing the beating to pulp of a nurse by a group of masquerades in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State on Sunday.

DAILY POST reports that the action has attracted outrage, with individuals and groups demanding justice for the nurse who was racing to her duty call.

The victim has been identified as Miss Blessing Ogbonna, a staff of a private hospital in Nsukka.

In a video trending online, the nurse, properly kitted, was flogged until she fell down from a motorbike.

As she managed to get up and run, the hordes of masquerades continued beating her till she fell into a deep drainage.

Miss Blessing told an online TV owned by Mr Chinedu Anichi that a tipper blocked her view while she was riding to the hospital, adding that before she could see the masquerades, it was too late to run.

While calling for justice for her and other victims, she disclosed that she had remained traumatised as they showed her no mercy.

The development has drawn the ire of many Nigerians, who are calling for the outright ban of the ‘Oriokpa Nsukka masquerade’, which they said was now notorious for committing all manners of crime.

Apart from always beating people to a pulp for not parting with money, they have also been accused of bearing arms.

Reacting to the sad incident, a rights group, Heroine Women Foundation said the action of the masqueraded and their handlers must be probed and proper sanctions meted out on them.

The Executive Director of the Foundation, Amb. Onyi Mama, said this act against the female nurse shouldn’t be tolerated by the relevant authorities.

“Watching the video of the attack on this helpless lady is so painful and I wonder what has happened to our humanity,” Amb. Mama said.

“What is even more sad is that this is a nurse in the business of saving lives and was on her way to work when these conscienceless individuals descended on her and were having fun in her pain.

“How do you even begin to define this as a cultural display? I call on the relevant authorities to round up anyone involved in this act to serve as a deterrent to others,” she demanded.

Similarly, a pressure group in the Nsukka zone, Otobo Nsukka Cultural Zone Community Developmental Initiative, has rallied authorities to ensure justice for the nurse.

In a statement signed by Prince Chibeze Onah, Convener and Agu Chineme, Head of Administration, the group announced that it has traced the nurse to where she is receiving treatment and that justice was underway.

“We are happy to inform the general public that the leadership of Otobo Nsukka Cultural Zone Community Developmental Initiative NGO, led by Prince Chibeze Onah (Tallest), Convener, and Agu Chineme Mc O one, Head of Administration, today, Tuesday, April 30th, 2024, took swift action to locate the nurse in question.

“We met her at a hospital in Nsukka, where she is receiving medical treatment. After interviewing her, we discovered that she was mercilessly beaten by the Oriokpa masquerades at Echara Nsukka while on her way to answer an emergency call from a patient.

“We thank God that she is responding to treatment as of the time we met her.

“Otobo Nsukka Cultural Zone Community Developmental Initiative NGO is calling on the Igwe, PG, and youth leaders of Echara Nsukka to ensure that those behind the incident are brought to justice, so that such an incident does not repeat itself. Culture should be revered, not used as a cover for hooliganism.

“It was possible that through the leadership of Otobo Nsukka Cultural Zone Community Developmental Initiative, Blessing Ogbonna, was opportune to speak with the government of Enugu State officially.

“We look forward that the office of the Ministry of Gender and Children Affairs, in conjunction with the Office of the First Lady of Enugu State will do the needful, for Blessing Ogbonna to get justice.”

Also speaking on the development, a renowned university don, Professor Damina Opata described the development as disturbing.

Opata, a professor of English and literary studies said “The current Oriokpa phenomenon is a very disturbing trend. Oriokpa has not always been like that. It has become a threat to peace and security. But it can still be restored, to a very large extent, to what it used to be.

“Oriokpa is part of the Omaba masking system. Some people call it ugwa. In the olden days, Oriokpa did not beat strangers, it did not beat any person carrying a child; it did not beat any person who on being pursued ran into a yam farm; when pursuing a young person and the person bent down, touching the soil as a mark of surrender, the Oriokpa would use the cain it is wielding to touch the person at the back, and let go. The Oriokpa did not beat married women.

“Beyond these, the Oriokpa was like a cultural and moral guard. If there was a man who habitually wasted himself on a widow, a group of Oriokpa would compose a satirical song about the man and his exploits and sing it around the community at night. If there was a young lady or girl who was habituated to going from one man’s bed to another, the same type of song would apply to her.

“If there were young boys who were becoming hooligans, the same musical pattern would apply to them. They even composed songs about known thieves in the community. Through this method, they helped to enforce some sense of morality in the community.

“In the olden days too, the Oriokpa did not go about begging for money. I suspect that begging for money by Oriokpa is the influence of Uraga/ Manwu Christmas. Recall how children those days, after Xmas mass, would move from house to house and to different villages, begging for money. They even shunned food and drinks and preferred monetary gifts.

“The Oriokpa too did not wield any form of weapons. Maybe, this is an influence of criminal modernity.

“Another reason for the current dangerous behaviour of Oriokpa is the lack of continuity in mentoring new entrants into the Omaba institution. Christianity demonised the institution. Some Christian parents even prevented their children from committing the sin of watching Omaba performances. Many Omaba houses in different village arenas fell into disuse, and were totally abandoned.

“Luckily, there is a great momentum and resurgence of the Omaba institution across a variety of Omaba masking communities. Some communities have evolved regulations that control the outing and performance of Oriokpa, and these appear to be working.

“The real danger is that some reckless youths even from outside Nsukka Omaba culture areas go into the bush, don Oriokpa outfit, and begin to waylay people on the road, forcefully extorting money from innocent citizens, and even beating people who refuse to give them money. One way out of this is for village vigilantes and the police to arrest Oriokpa who block main roads, begging for money. The Igwes should also play a part in controlling the excesses of the modern Oriokpa.”

Meanwhile, as of the time of filing this report, no word has come from the traditional ruler of the Nsukka community where the incident took place.