Seventy-two women’s organizations, activists, scholars, civil society and human rights organisations in Nigeria, on Tuesday, strongly condemned recent raids, alleged assault and sexual harassment of over 100 women in Abuja.
The operations were carried out by agents of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Joint Task Team, which is comprised of the Department of Development Control, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and the Social Development Secretariat (SDS).
In a joint statement made available to DAILY POST, by Isa Sanusi, the coalition said: “These agents raided the “Caramelo night club” and other clubs on two different occasions within one week in Abuja (17th and 26th April). During the raids, they arrested several women, who reported that they had been sexually assaulted and sexually harassed, some who were raped.
“The assaults left injuries in the vaginas of some of the arrested women and many were psychologically traumatised by the experience. It appears that the FCTA joint task team had unilaterally, and without respect for human rights, chose to contain any “environmental nuisance” the night club allegedly was causing to target and attack young women in the club, particularly dancers and strippers.
“The agents appeared to be specifically targeting women – while no male guests were arrested or harassed. In fact, several female guests in and around the night club were also targeted and harassed. 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 can get away with it.
“We were further shocked by the reports that a mobile court at the old parade ground in Area 10, Abuja on the afternoon of 29th April 2019, convicted many of these women in unfair trials and some of them were sentenced to prison or fined for an offence that is unknown to law.
“Nigeria is signatory to many international and regional human rights treaties including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), which protects the human rights of women to dignity, equality, liberty and freedom from violence.
“The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act applicable in the FCT also prohibits all forms of violence against all persons irrespective of gender, and regardless of whether it was committed in private or in public, while stipulating punishments for offenders and remedies for victims.
“The 1999 Nigerian Constitution equally provides for fundamental human rights including the rights to dignity (section 34); right to fair hearing (section 36), and right to freedom from discrimination (section 42).
“In October 2017, the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in the Dorothy Njemanze & 3 Ors v. the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pronounced that the act of targeting women and harassing them by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and other state security agents constituted gender based discriminatory treatment, torture, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment.
“The Court also recognised that Nigeria has a duty to investigate, discipline and prosecute persons responsible for violating these human rights therefore, the failure or refusal to do so in the cases reported to it amounted to a further violation of the State’s international obligations.
“These raids by the FCT Joint Task Force are in contravention of the laws and treaties which Nigeria is bound to uphold. We therefore demand, that the federal authorities particularly the Police and the FCT Minister, investigate all the allegations of abuse, ill-treatment and violence including rape and other forms of sexual assaults, to which these women were subjected, and where the agents are found culpable, they must be brought to justice before a competent court that meet international human rights standards without delay. The government should also provide psychosocial support and compensation for the victims.
“We call on the government to account for the wellbeing and bodily integrity of all the women for the period they have been held in detention by the state. We call on the government to release the women immediately and unconditionally from this unlawful and discriminatory detention and from the proposed “forced” three months arbitrary rehabilitation at the FCT rehabilitation centre in Lugbe, Abuja, which would further violate these women’s rights to equality, dignity and liberty.
“The continued harassment of women by the FCT joint task force should stop immediately as it constitutes gender discrimination, a violation of human rights, is unlawful, unconstitutional and carried out with total disregard for the rule of law.
“The undersigned will not hesitate to take legal actions to challenge the constitutionality of the raids, targeted against women, if the state does not take immediate action to stop these harassments.”
Reacting, the acting Secretary of the Social Development Secretariat, Hajiya Safiya Umar, told DAILY POST on Wednesday that the allegation of assault, theft and rape were untrue.
”This is a false statement… a matured mind will even know. A woman who was picked on the street will look for a defence mechanism to get something.
”How can government officials rape them? and I would allow that? everybody there would allow that? It is not true. This is a false alarm. I was there myself, I witnessed everything myself.
”If you [those arrested] are looking for compensation because you were embarrassed, say it out…don’t lie to gain any favour or any pity. This is what is killing Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the groups and individuals who formed the coalition that condemned the raids are as follows:
African Women Empowerment and Childcare Initiative (AWECI)
African Women’s Initiative
Alliances for Africa
Amnesty International Nigeria
Arise Nigerian Woman Foundation
Centre for Nonviolence and Gender Advocacy in Nigeria
Change Managers International Network
Country Associates Network (CANET)
Deaf Women Aloud Initiative
Deaf Women Association of Nigeria Abuja Nigeria
Devatop Centre For AFRICA Development
Development in Practice Gender and Entrepreneurial Initiative (DIPGEI)
Dorothy Njemanze Foundation
Echoes of Women in Africa Initiatives (ECOWA)
Education as a Vaccine
Gender Advocacy for Justice Initiative
Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI)
Girl Child Africa
Girls’ Power Initiative
Haly Hope Foundation
HEIR Women Development
Josephine Effah Chukwuma
Juliana Itohan Oyegun
Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP)
Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome
Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN)
Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF)
Ovie Brume Foundation
Partners West Africa Nigeria
Partnership for Justice
Project Alert on Violence Against Women
Sesor Empowerment Foundation
Society of Media in Public Health
Spaces for Change
State of the Union Coalition (SOTU)
Transparency International Nigeria
Vision Spring Initiatives
Widows Development Organisation
Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
Women Aid Collective (WACOL)
Women Environmental Programme
Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative
Women Foundation Nigeria
Women In Politics Forum (WIPF)
Women Information Network (WINET)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Nigeria
Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA)
Women’s Rights and Health Project
Youth Hub Africa
Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC)
Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.
President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.
Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.
He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.
He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.
“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’
“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.
“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.
“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.
“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.
“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”
However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.
He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.
“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”
CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers
The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.
“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?
“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.
“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.
“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”
Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.
“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.
“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.
Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike
Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.
Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.
The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.
Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.
Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).
The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”
On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.
The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.
“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.
The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”
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