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Police Invite Activist Who Accused Officers of Raping Sex Workers, Say She Won’t be Detained

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The Police in Abuja have invited a woman for questioning after she accused officers of raping suspected commercial sex workers with sachet water nylons.

Dorothy Njemanze, an Abuja-based women’s rights activist, raised the allegation on social media on Thursday. It came as police and social development authorities intensified their crackdown on alleged sex workers across the federal capital.

Abuja Police Commissioner Bala Ciroma told PREMIUM TIMES the activist was only asked to turn up at the FCT police headquarters to assist detectives with information about officers responsible for the gruesome abuses.

“The allegations are too grievous for our institution to ignore,” the police chief said. “We hope the woman will have useful information that will aid our investigation.”

Mrs Njemanze said she learnt from some of the women arrested and profiled as prostitutes that officers traded the women’s release for sex.

“We learnt that some of the women were raped with sachet water nylons because there were no condoms left,” Mrs Njemanze told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday evening.

The police invited her because she had put out a video and wrote posts on her social media handles alleging the incident earlier this week.

“I will be honouring the commissioner’s invitation on Thursday (today) morning,” she told PREMIUM TIMES. “We are partners in progress.”

Mr Ciroma said he looked forward to receiving Mrs Njemanze on Thursday, and she will not be detained no matter how the invitation turned out.

Out on a limb

Dozens of women have been arrested at night clubs in major parts of the city within the last two weeks. They were accused of “offences” ranging from prostitution to indecent dressing, despite social media outrage that some of the women might have been hanging out with male acquaintances or even alone.

At least 70 women were arrested in a joint raid by the police and Abuja social workers between April 29 and 29. The arrests were in addition to dozens of women who were taken into custody at Caramelo, a famous gentleman’s club in the posh Utako neighbourhood.

The Nigerian Constitution is silent on commercial sex activities, but there are subsidiary legislation in some local jurisdictions that prohibit such acts. After the purported invasion of Abuja by young women repeatedly made headlines in 2011, there were rumours that Ike Ekweremadu was sponsoring a bill to legalise the commercial sex work in the country. The Enugu senator, who became the deputy senate president in 2015, however, denied the reports at the time.

The police summarily arraigned some of the women at an improvised courtroom, but many were reportedly freed amidst unclear circumstances. Some of those convicted received up to six months’ imprisonment, while a few others were slammed with fines.

Even though the clubs were filled with both sexes, only women were arrested. This has elicited allegations of gender-based violence against women, which could render them even more vulnerable than they had been.

‘No vagina is safe in Abuja’

Mrs Njemanze said she had been gathering evidence about the alleged rape of women with sachet water nylons, but her personal experience sufficed to conclude that officers were capable of committing such acts.

“When I was arrested in 2012, my breast and buttocks were terribly fondled by some of the officers,” Mrs Njemanze said.

She made headlines that year after being arrested for alleged prostitution. She sued the Nigerian government at ECOWAS Court and won. The court determined that her rights were violated because she was arrested only because she was out at night.

“In most cases of prostitution, you will have a man and a woman,” Mrs Njemanze said. “If you arrest only the woman and profile her as a prostitute, then it becomes gender-based violence.”

She said only 10 of about 70 women who were arrested last week were arraigned before a mobile court near the Federal Secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday.

“Police officers freed most of the women after they were given sex and money,” Mrs Njemanze said.

She said she will demand a review of the circumstances under which the most of the women were released without charges — including an interview of all the officers that took part in the arrests and some of the freed detainees.

‘Just plead guilty’

Mrs Njemanze said one of the major concerns she would raise with Mr Ciroma will be about officers’ “unethical practice” of ensnaring suspected prostitutes into admitting their guilt.

“Whenever they arrest women at night clubs, be they strippers or commercial sex workers or whatever, they usually ask them to just plead guilty in their kangaroo court so they could be fined for a small amount rather than sent to jail,” she said.

The officers use the tactics to avoid the responsibility of proving that the women were actually prostitutes as required in criminal proceedings. Only a few of victims of discriminatory police arrests know their fundamental rights as Nigerian citizens, she added.

“I respect the commissioner because he has been proactive against sexual and gender-based violence,” Mrs Njemanze said. “But the officers have failed to emulate his professionalism.”

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Army Apologises to Corps Member Molested by Commissioned Officer

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By Eric Elezuo

The Nigerian Army has apologised to a Corps Member, identified as Ezeiruaku Ifeanyinwa Fidelis, who was seen in a viral video being molested by female soldier, identified as Let Chika Viola Anele.

In a statement signed by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the army notes that the actions of the said officer was ‘highly unprofessional and unacceptable’, adding that the erring officer has been ‘identified and sanctioned on the interim and would be made to undergo regimental orders (trial) in line with the extant provisions of the Armed Forces Act.’

The statement also denied rumours that the army intended sweeping the matter under the carpet, stressing that the Force has zero tolerance for indiscipline.

Read the detailed statement:

OFFICER DEHUMANIZING CORPS MEMBER IN VIDEO HIGHLY UNPROFESSIONAL AND UNACCEPTABLE

The Nigerian Army (NA) has taken cognizance of a video clip currently making the rounds on the social media, where a female officer was seen dehumanizing a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Calabar, Cross River State. This act is not only condemnable, but unprofessional and against established precepts of discipline in the NA.

The NA has remained undoubtedly the pride of the nation, a symbol of national unity that has consistently being in the vanguard of respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry. It is against this premise that the NA condemns this unimaginable level of infraction by a personnel in its ranks. The NA therefore, condemns in strong terms, this act of gross misconduct. Undoubtedly, the officer’s actions has caused the NA monumental embarrassment and is highly regrettable. This unfortunate act of indiscipline does not in anyway represent the NA and will not be condoned in its entirety.

For the records, the ugly incident happened in 13 Brigade, Calabar. The Brigade Commander immediately instituted an investigation and the officer involved has been identified and sanctioned on the interim and would be made to undergo regimental orders (trial) in line with the extant provisions of the Armed Forces Act. The submission that the Brigade attempted covering up was therefore misleading, as the NA remains a professional force that has zero tolerance for indiscipline amongst its personnel.

The NA wishes to reiterate and assure the general public that such infractions would not be tolerated from its personnel. The NA also reassures that the rights of the citizenry is sacrosanct and must be respected by all personnel of the NA, as any form of infraction will be severely dealt with. Therefore, the general public is enjoined to continue to report such infractions, as Human Rights Desks in all formations of the NA are emplaced to deal decisively with such erring personnel.

The NA further wishes to tender unreserved apology to the victim, her family members, friends, National Youth Service Corps and to Nigerians in general for the unwholesome treatment meted out to the Corps member.

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Four Children Who Died After Eating Suya Buried in Umuahia

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Tears flowed on Saturday as four of the seven children who died after allegedly eating Suya were buried in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.

The four victims are Kelechi Chibuzor, 12; Sunday Chibuzor, 10; Oluomachi Chibuzor, 8; and Kingsley Chibuzor, 3.

The children died on August 25.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the actual cause of the death was still being investigated.

Speaking at their funeral on Saturday, the Bishop of Goodnews Pentecostal Church, Umuahia, Ugochukwu Ogbonna, urged their parents to take heart.

While speaking on the topic, ‘The journey of this life and the call of eternity,’ Ogbonna maintained that everyone is a sojourner on earth and no one knows when he will die.

The cleric lauded the victims’ father, Ikwunze Chibuzor, and his wife, for showing the kids the way of the Lord, as he prayed God to grant their souls peaceful rest.

In his remarks, the President General of Ohuhu, Chief Obi Aguocha, urged the parents and relatives of the kids to be strong at their difficult time.

He said, “It is painful to wake up one day and lose your entire family. People lose one or two, but not four. It should not happen again.

“Children are supposed to bury their parents; but their father is giving back to God what He gave to him.”

He disclosed that the clan gave the family the sum of N4.8m “and something else for the children that would come afterwards.”

While appealing to the bereaved couple to see their fate as the beginning of a new life, he called on members of the community not to forget the family.

At the funeral, a member representing the Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Ifeanyi Onuigbo, who was represented by Henry Eleogu, promised to stand by the family, just as he prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.

Speaking, the bereaved father, Ikwunze, thanked all those who supported his family through financial means and words of encouragement.

He revealed that amid speculations that his kids died after eating Suya or inhaling generator fumes, autopsy results on the deaths would be out in the next two weeks.

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Police Arrest Killers of Na’Allah’s Son, Greenfield University, Bethel Baptist Students’ Abductors

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The Kaduna State Police Command on Thursday said it arrested kidnappers of students of Greenfield University and students of the Bethel Baptist High School, all in the state.

Also in the police net are kidnappers of the 37 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in Igabi LGA of Kaduna State.

Both the Greenfield University and the Baptist Bethel High School are located in Chikun LGA of the state.

While parading suspects on Thursday at the Command’s Headquarters along Bida Road in the state capital, the Command’s spokesman, Mohammed Jalige, also announced the arrest of the suspected killers of 36-year-old Captain Abdulkareem Na’Allah, a pilot and son of Senator Bala Na’Allah.

Jalige said one Usman Mohammed from Bukuyum in Zamfara State was apprehended by operatives of the command in connection with the kidnap of the students of Greenfield University, Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, as well as Bethel Baptist High School, all in the state.

He said, “On the 29th August, 2021 at about 0900hrs, based on credible information, Operation Yaki Surveillance team with FIB STS Force Headquarter, Abuja, jointly raided a house along Ring Road, Asikolaye area of Kaduna, where one Usman Abubakar, ‘m’ 41 years old, a native of Adakpa village, Bukkuyum LGA of Zamfara State, a notorious kidnapper terrorising Chikun, Igabi and Giwa LGAs of Kaduna State, was arrested.

“He confessed to have kidnapped many people and collected several ransoms; he also has links with recent attacks on Greenfield University, Bethel Baptist Academy and School of Forestry Mechanisation, Mando, Kaduna.”

Speaking on the killers of Na’Allah’s son, the police spokesman noted that two of the three members of the gang that killed the pilot were in the custody of the command while one was at large.

He named one Bashir Mohammed, a neighbour of the slain pilot as principal suspect, while identifying another suspect as Nasir Salisu, also known as Uban Dana, adding that the third suspect, one Usman Kano, was at large.

Jalige explained that the three suspects conspired, broke into the house of Captain Abdulkarim and killed him before taking away his SUV vehicle and other valuables.

He added that the suspects sold the late pilot’s SUV vehicle in Republic of Niger at the cost of N1m.

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