By Dennis Agbo
ENUGU- NO less than 63 Women’s Organizations, Activists, Scholars, Civil Society and Human Rights Organisations in Nigeria have threatened to take legal action against violation of rights of over 100 women who were allegedly assaulted, humiliated and sexually harassed at an Abuja night club, last week.
Agents of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Joint Task Team, had raided a night club on 17 and 26 April 2019 in Abuja, and arrested several women, who allegedly were severally assaulted and sexually harassed, some were raped, leaving injuries in their private parts and psychologically traumatised.
In a statement through one of the CSOs, Alliance for Africa, the coalition said the women were brutally dragged out by male officers who beat them, and some women were stripped naked, adding that the victims suffered the treatment because they were women and the officers were confident that they can get away with it.
“We were further shocked by the reports that a mobile court at the old parade ground in Area 10, Abuja on the afternoon of 29th April 2019, convicted many of these women in unfair trials and some of them were sentenced to prison or fined for an offence that is unknown to law,” the group noted.
Alliance for African communication officer, Chinwendu Anozie recalled that 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, among others.
“These raids by the FCT Joint Task Force are in contravention of the laws and treaties which Nigeria is bound to uphold. We therefore demand, that the federal authorities particularly the Police and the FCT Minister, 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.
“We call on 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.
“We call on the government to release the women immediately and unconditionally from this unlawful and discriminatory detention and from the proposed forced three months arbitrary rehabilitation at the FCT rehabilitation centre in Lugbe, which is an attempt to further impact on the women’s dignity.
“The continued harassment of women by the FCT joint task force should stop immediately as it constitutes gender discrimination, a violation of human rights, is unlawful, unconstitutional and carried out with total disregard for the rule of law.
“The undersigned will not hesitate to take legal actions to challenge the constitutionality of the raids, targeted against women, if the state does not take immediate action to stop these harassment’s.”