…Accuse Police of Unlawful, Inhuman Detention The Women Arise for Change Initiative has protested in Oshogbo, Osun state against the illegal detention of a nursing mother, Mrs Rofiat Oladepo and her nine months old son by the Zone 11 of the Nigeria Police Force. The protest, which was led by Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, president of
…Accuse Police of Unlawful, Inhuman Detention
The Women Arise for Change Initiative has protested in Oshogbo, Osun state against the illegal detention of a nursing mother, Mrs Rofiat Oladepo and her nine months old son by the Zone 11 of the Nigeria Police Force.
The protest, which was led by Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, president of Women Arise and the winner of the American Government’s Award of International Woman of Courage, had over 200 women and men protesters who defied the scorching sun on Monday, to express their displeasure over the illegal detention of Oladepo and her son, who were arrested and kept in custody of the Nigeria Police at the Zone 11 Headquarters in Osogbo in lieu of her husband.
The organization described the action of the police as a violation of the victims’ universally recognised fundamental human rights and the law of the land.
In her remarks while being received by Mr Leye Oyebade. assistant inspector general of Police in charge of the Zone, and his management team, Okei-Odumakin said that, “We are pained and disappointed that the Nigeria Police held in custody a nursing mother and her baby, in lieu of her husband. Not only were they arrested and detained by proxy, they were also detained beyond the constitutionally sanctioned period.”
According to her, “It is most nauseating to learn that Mrs Oladepo and her baby who were arrested on the 24th April, 2019 at Dural Toaheed, Oke Anu area of Ede and taken to Zone 11, Gbogan road, Oshogbo, were kept in inhuman conditions, only to be released later and given the sum of N500 (five hundred Naira) only as their transport fare back to Ede”.
Okei-Odumakin further informed Oyebade that since their release from Police custody, Oladepo and her baby have been hospitalised.
She therefore demanded that the officers and men of the Nigerian police who conducted such unprofessional and illegal act be unmasked and brought to book while also requesting for the payment of medical bills being incurred by the victims at the hospital and immediate public apology to Oladepo and son.
Responding to the demands of Women Arise president, Oyebade appealed to the protesters to please suspend further action as he would carry out immediate investigation into the matter and ensure that justice is done forthwith. “One of the hallmarks of our ethics is policing with the fear of God aside the general rule of policing with integrity.” he said.
He further said that such impunity would never be allowed to thrive under his purview as he further expressed the willingness of the Nigeria Police Force, under the incumbent leadership, to collaborate with the civil society in promoting a people’s friendly police force that would ensure total compliance with human rights violations.
In a related development, some human right activists have condemned the recent raid, alleged assault, and sexual harassment meted to over 100 women in some Abuja clubs by agents of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Joint Task Team.
The condemnation was highlighted in a statement signed by 36 civil society groups, non-governmental organisations, media organisations, and gender activists, including Amnesty International Nigeria, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, and Girl Child Africa.
They also threatened to take legal actions to challenge the legality of the raid.
About two weeks ago, some officials of the FCTA, raided a popular night club, Caramelo, and arrested 34 female nude dancers.
Another 70 were also arrested in different night clubs on Wednesday and Friday respectively. The women were taken to Utako police station, Abuja and detained.
Some of the women were reportedly released after they were profiled, while others were charged for prostitution. A few others were allegedly sexually assaulted.
Although prostitution is illegal in the Nigerian capital, law enforcement officials have used it as an excuse to assault and harass innocent women who go out at night in the city.
When the officials raid night clubs, they usually molest women they believe are ‘scantily dressed’ and accuse them of prostitution.
Such women are sometimes sexually abused by the security officials. No culpable operative has been brought to justice.
The activists condemned the latest assault, expressing disgust in their joint statement.
“It appears that the FCTA joint task team had unilaterally, and without respect for the rule of law, chosen to contain any environmental nuisance the night club allegedly was causing.
“It targeted and violated young women in the club, particularly dancers and strippers. No attempts were made to question the club proprietors or arrest the male guests.”
“Several female guests in or around the night club were also arrested and harassed. Mostly, young women were brutally dragged out by male officers who beat them, and some women were stripped naked.”
“The violence inflicted on these women was vicious and targeted. They suffered this treatment because they were women and these officers were confident that they could get away with it.”
The group urged the federal authorities to investigate all the allegations of abuse, ill-treatment and violence, including rape and other forms of sexual assaults against these women.
It also called for immediate persecution of agents found culpable.
It called for the immediate release of the women arrested from the proposed “forced three months arbitrary rehabilitation at the FCT rehabilitation centre in Lugbe.”
It also urged the government to provide psychosocial support and compensation for the victims.
Photo: Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, president of Women Arise during the protest in Oshogbo, Osun state.