Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, and other agencies of the Federal Capital Territory Administration , FCTA, will put on hold further raids on Night Clubs and other locations in Abuja pending the mainstreaming of human rights into their operations.
This was part of agreement reached when AEPB, and other agencies of the FCTA, visited the headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC to answer allegations of human rights violations following raids on Night Clubs and other locations in Abuja.
The NHRC had on May 10th 2019 summoned to the Director of the AEPB following complaints received from some civil society organizations CSO’s over allegations of raids on night clubs, arrests, molestations and sexual assaults of some women by agents of the FCT led by the AEPB.
Other resolutions during the meeting were that “issue concerning the distortion of master plan of the FCT should be targeted at business owners and the FCT officials themselves who approve such alterations and not the innocent citizens of the FCT using the facilities provided, that a training programme to mainstream human rights is to be organized by the NHRC and other development partners for the personnel of the FCT and the Task Force, an investigation to be carried to fish out and bring to book those officials and security agents who perpetrated the various acts of violation and impunity in the course of the raids.
“A meeting between the clubs, similar business owners, and the FCT be facilitated by the NHRC to reduce noise pollution in Abuja, ensure respect for the right of others, the rule of law and compliance to official regulations.”
The Coordinator of Abuja Municipal Metropolitan Council, AMMC Alhaji Baba Shehu Lawal had appeared before the Commission alongside the Directors, Security Services, Social Welfare, Development Control and Abuja Environmental Protection Board.
The representatives of the CSO’s led by the Head of the Amnesty International Mr. Osai Ojigho read out the complaints which centered on the violations of the rights of the victims of the raid, especially women who were alleged to have been discriminated against, sexually molested and manhandled by agents of FCTA.
The CSO’s also provided video clips of the testimony of victims alleged arrests, sexual assaults and violation of the rights of the women by the agents of FCT to support their claim.
Agencies in attendance were parts of the team that constituted the Task Force that carried out the raids. Each of the Heads of the Departments were given time to speak on the raids.
The Executive Secretary NHRC, Tony Ojukwu Esq. noted that the allegations over the molestation of women in FCT has raised a lot of public concern. The NHRC, he explained is acting within its powers and mandate by wading into the matter. The purpose he explained is not to witch hunt but to correct what is wrong and forestall future occurrences to check impunity and further violations of human rights. The right to freedom of movement, association, Leisure, recreation and privacy are necessary entitlements of the people of Nigeria and FCT in particular.
The Director AEPB said the action to raid the clubs were not meant to humiliate the women or anybody but to ensure that the Abuja Master Plan is not undermined.