Following the recent arrest of over 100 females in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) Nigeria has called on the federal government to ensure prompt implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) act (2015) and passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities (GEO) bill to law.
In a statement signed by its National Coordinator Mrs. Bridget Osakwe, the VAPP Act, 2015 criminalizes intimidation (S18) or threat in any form and totally condemns any assault on any person based on their sex alone.
The statement recalled that on April 2019, over 100 women were arrested and detained in different police stations after series of raids carried out at nightclubs in the metropolis. Security operatives who made the arrests claimed it was an order to arrest prostitutes.
According to the statement, security agents targeting a particular sex for arrest where both sexes are culpable gives credence to gender discrimination.
“WANEP-Nigeria has 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.
” Many of those arrested were threatened to plead guilty and those who declined were charged to court, adding that many of the women either bribed their way or succumbed to sexual abuse in order to gain their freedom,” it said.
“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,” it added.
The statement therefore demanded urgent action from authories, noting that already, other 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.
urged the Nigeria Police Force (NPF)
to respect the rule of law and human rights of the citizens they are supposed to protect when carrying out their duties.
“Stop targeted arrests of women and young girls when both men and women are found at the location of the arrest.
“The Police authority should carry out a thorough investigation into these allegations and ensure that the officers involved in sexual exploitation of detainees face the full wrath of the law. This will prevent future occurrence of taking laws into their hands,” the statement stressed.