ARREST AND PUNISH THE OFFICERS PUBLICLY” – ABUJA WOMEN PROTEST GROUP DEMAND

An unarguably angry mob, dressed in black and without even a line of lipstick took to the streets to protest the arrest of about seventy women by the Nigerian police. These women, some dressed in black tops and jean trousers or wearing black hijabs walked on their foot along the streets of Abuja chanting different songs in the expression of their grievances. One could hear the wailings from afar off. “Sex for pay is rape!” “To be a woman is not a crime!” “Women’s rights are human rights!”

These women have taken up what is in every sense of social responsibility. The only feel that they are just like the other women who were thrown into the prison and violated by some officers of the Nigerian police. Some men and surprisingly a police van driven by officers was a part of this angry procession. In the past three weeks, officers of the Joint Task force (JTF) Abuja have arrested over 100 women alleging that they were prostitutes. The tense situation exploded into its currently awry state when the joint task force arrested about 70 women detaining them in the cells where they were accused of having raped some of the captured ladies.
The protesters are saying that misconceptions are surrounding the incident since the police cannot ascertain that a lady was a prostitute by what she wears on her body. Some of the protesters who spoke said that officers of the Nigerian police lack an objective manner of carrying out their actions. They said that the police consider anybody putting on a skimpy dress a prostitute. They also added that whatever a person wore was a matter of choice and had nothing to do with whether or not she is a prostitute except there is evidence to support such claims.
The leader of the protest Aisha Yesufu said that the police were supposed to be the ones protecting women
and fighting for them rather than raping or raiding them. She said that they were tired of the constant harassment and violation of women rights in the FCT. Adding to this she also said that if someone has decided to wear a hijab and another, nothing at all, it was only a matter of choice and decision.
The protesters marched to the command office of the Nigerian Police, Gariki where the deputy police commissioner
in charge of operations addressed them. He said that the commissioner of police Bala Ciroma is not around, but he had formed a high powered delegation to investigate the matter. He said that the commissioner had made efforts to reach the complainants and assured the protesters the perpetrators of the act would be brought to book. He added that the punishment would be done publicly on the behest of the crowd.
The issue on the ground brings some questions about the objectivity of police action and accountability to the citizens it protects. Are all women wearing short dresses and standing by roadsides at night prostitutes? Are all women who attend night clubs also prostitutes? Happenings like this should be a tip-off to something the police could work with since prostitution is illegal. How then is the police supposed to ascertain whether or not a lady is guilty? I believe a lasting resolution ought to start from here.
Source: daily post ng

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