What is going on in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city is really sad and embarrassing. Over the weekend, at least 100 women were arrested in or around nightclubs across the city, with police saying they were apprehended on the suspicion of prostitution.
Some of the victims have spoken out to activists on their ordeal, saying they have been sexually assaulted, some, with injuries in their vaginas.
Some say the officers used discarded sachet water plastics as protection to rape them. Majority of them women were just hanging out with friends, others were probably going home or attending an event when they were picked up.
The police say Nigerian constitution is against prostitution, but what about these women’s “client”? Why didn’t the officers pick up the men? Below is an insensitive and appalling tweet from a high-ranking police officer on the issue:
The country has even jailed 27 women, but nothing is being said about the assault by police officers and the unlawful arrest.
The women, who narrated their ordeal to reporters in Abuja, alleged that policemen attached to Utako, Life Camp and Gwarimpa police stations in Abuja, raped and physically assaulted them in custody.
They also claimed that they were compelled to plead guilty when they were arraigned before the court on Monday by the police. They all spoke anonymously for fear of being victimised by the police while facing the wall.
Some of the victims said they were arrested at a night club, thrown into a cell and repeatedly tear-gassed.
A fair complexioned victim explained that a policeman attached to the Utako Police station identified as ‘Yellow,’ hit her with a baton and horse whip several times, injuring her arm and face during the assault.
Her experience was corroborated by her co-convicts who lamented the alleged emotional abuse and physical torture they suffered while in police cell last week.
Another victim, who claimed to have been arrested at a shopping plaza, said the policemen attached to the FCT ministerial task raped her when she could not pay them. The unnamed victim said she was held down by three policemen while one of them raped her without a condom.
She also said two other girls were raped by the same policemen.
“Three of us were brought out of the van and raped by the policemen because we had no money to give them. We were raped behind the National War College.
They pushed me to the ground and held me there while one of them raped me. He didn’t wear a condom. The other girls were also raped by two others one of who used a pure water sachet as condom.”
Another victim said she was picked up by the police at a hotel where she attended a birthday party.
“I was invited to a birthday party at an apartment in a hotel. I came to the reception to get bottled water, a woman held my hands and pushed me out of the hotel and I saw a lot of people with cameras and some with mobile phones taking my pictures and shooting a video of the arrest.’’
An activist, Dorothy Njemanze, during the briefing, also narrated her experience in the hands of policemen who allegedly molested her.
Njemanze said she was awarded N6 million damages by the ECOWAS court in 2017. She lamented that the Federal Government had refused to pay the damages up till date.
A Twitter user, Stark also shared some of these women’s stories on Twitter and it’s quite disheartening to watch. She wrote:
”I’m at the Press Conference organized by Education as a Vaccine, FIDA, and Dorothy Ndjemanze Foundation, among others, on
#AbujaPoliceRaidonWomen. I’ll share snippets of video showing these women’s experiences. Caution: it’s grim stuff.”
Watch the videos HERE.
I’m at the Press Conference organized by Education as a Vaccine, FIDA, and Dorothy Ndjemanze Foundation, among others, on #AbujaPoliceRaidonWomen. I’ll share snippets of video showing these women’s experiences. Caution: it’s grim stuff.
— S. (@saratu) May 2, 2019
I met one of the women, a corps member visiting Abuja for Easter who was arrested while she was buying indomie by the road side.
She was beaten, can't share the photo of a big blood clot on her bum from the beating. She was violated too.
— Chioma Agwuegbo (@ChiomaChuka) May 2, 2019