Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, WANEP-Nigeria has called on the authorities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, to halt what it called the serial assault on women.
National Coordinator, WANEP, Bridget Osakwe, in a statement noted with grave concern the arbitrary arrests and detention of women and allegations of sexual assault and rape by security agents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
She noted that last month, over 100 women were arrested and detained in different police stations after series of raids carried out at nightclubs in the metropolis.
Osakwe added that security operatives who made the arrests claimed it was an order to arrest prostitutes. “Allegedly, many of those arrested were threatened to plead guilty and those who declined were charged to court. Many of the women either bribed their way or succumbed to sexual abuse in order to gain their freedom.
“WANEP-Nigeria has been monitoring the situation in Abuja which is by far the most horrendous, to say the least, and is fast turning into a targeted violence against women by security agents who are supposed to be protecting the women. The activity of the security agents by targeting a particular sex for arrest where both sexes are culpable and the legality of their actions give credence to gender discrimination and requires urgent action. The Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 criminalises intimidation (S18) or threat in any form and totally condemns any assault on any person based on their sex alone.
“Already, civil society organisations in Abuja are calling on authorities to call the security agents to order so as to prevent the possibility of further targeted arrests, rape and molestation of women without evidence.