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36 Organizations Condemn Unlawful Arrest, Rape Of Women By FCTA Joint Task Team

We were further shocked by the reports that a mobile court at the old parade ground in Area 10, Abuja in the afternoon of 29th April 2019, convicted many of these women in unfair trials and some of them sentenced to prison or fine


36 human rights organizations, activists, scholars, civil societies and women organizations have risen to condemn the indiscriminate arrest, detention and conviction of over 100 women in Abuja.

Officials of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Joint Task Team, which comprises of the Department of Development Control, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) stormed Caramelo night club to arrest the women.

It was gathered that not only did the officials arrest women inside the club, but they also carried out an illegal raid and arrested passers-by and traders.

According to reports, some of the women arrested had been sexually harassed with many brutalized and injured.

A lawyer and rights activist who witnessed the detention of the women said: “70 girls were arrested and brought to Utako Police station last night. This is in addition to the ones who were arrested on Friday night. Their offence; clubbing and in some instance, prostitution. Some have been assaulted with injuries in their vaginas.”

The rights organizations said the women were tried at a mobile court and were convicted of various crimes.

“We were further shocked by the reports that a mobile court at the old parade ground in Area 10, Abuja in the afternoon of 29th April 2019, convicted many of these women in unfair trials and some of them sentenced to prison or fine for an offence that is unknown to law.”

It was also noted that the convictions and harassments contravened various international law and protection against women as well as the constitution of the country that guaranteed rights of every Nigerians.

“These raids by the FCT Joint Task Force are in contravention to the laws and treaties which Nigeria is bound to upload. We therefore demand, that the federal authorities particularly the Police and the FCT Minister to, investigate all the allegations of abuse, ill-treatment and violence including rape and other forms of sexual assaults, to which these women were subjected, and where the agents are found culpable, prosecute them before a competent court without delay. The government should also provide psychosocial support and compensation for the victims.

“Nigeria is signatory to many international and regional human rights treaties including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); and the Protocol to the African Charter Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) which protect the human rights of women to dignity, equality and freedom from violence. 

“The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act applicable in the FCT also prohibits all forms of violence against all persons irrespective of gender, and regardless of whether it was committed in private or in public, while stipulating punishments for offenders and remedies for victims. 

“The 1999 Nigerian Constitution equally provides for fundamental human rights including the rights to dignity (section 34); right to fair hearing (section 36), and right to freedom from discrimination (section 42).”

Similarly, in October 2017, the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in the Dorothy Njemanze & 3 Ors v. the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pronounced that the act of targeting women and harassing them by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and other state security agents constituted gender based discriminatory treatment, torture, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment.

The right organizations urged the Nigerian government to immediately order the unconditional release of the women immediately from the proposed forced three months arbitrary rehabilitation at the FCT rehabilitation centre in Lugbe.

They also charged the government to account for the wellbeing and bodily integrity of all the women for the period they have been held in detention by the state.

The undersigned rights organizations are: ACTS Generation, Alliances for Africa, Amnesty International Nigeria, Betty Abah, Bridget Osakwe, CEE-HOPE Nigeria, Change Managers International Network, Country Associates Network (CANET), Dorothy Njemanze Foundation, Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives (ECOWA), Education is a Vaccine, Equity Advocates, Fame Foundation, FIDA Nigeria, Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI), Girl Child Africa, Haly Hope Foundation, Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, Josephine Effah Chukwuma, Juliana Itohan Oyegun and Lillian Okenwa

Others are: Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome, Ovie Brume Foundation, Partners West Africa Nigeria, Partnership for Justice, Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Society of Media in Public Health, Vision Spring Initiatives, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Women Environmental Programme, Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative, Women Foundation Nigeria, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Nigeria, Women’s Rights and Health Project.

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