Outraged by the harassment of women in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, a coalition of concerned individuals/organisations humbly requesting your help and support in signing a letter to the Honourable Minister of the federal Capital Territory to stop the barbaric act.
The Abuja Environmental Protection Board had in the last couple of months picked up young women in various parts of Abuja, under the guise of weeding the streets of prostitutes. These women are subjected to harrowing conditions, harassed and detained without protecting their fundamental human rights. Quite a number of innocent women have fallen victim of these maltreatment by a Government agency
Please find the letter below. If you’re interested in signing this letter, please drop a comment with your name, name of organisation and email (where applicable)
As soon as we have 100 signatures, the letter would be physically delivered to the office of the Honourable minister of the Federal capital Territory and 5 other Government agencies to include: The Minister for Youth Development, the National Human rights Commission, The Minister for Women Affairs, The Attorney General of the Federation and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority.
September 23, 2011
Senator Bala Mohammed
Honurable Minister of FCT
No. 1 Kapital Road
Area 11, Garki
HARASSMENT OF YOUNG WOMEN BY THE ABUJA ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION BOARD
Honourable Minister, our attention has been drawn to complaints that young women in Abuja are now constantly harassed on the streets of Abuja by your operatives from the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB). These agents, usually reinforced by a detachment of heavily armed Police and other security personnel, violate innocent women’s dignity and rights under the guise of curbing the menace of prostitution on the streets of our beloved city. While we abhor prostitution and condemn it as an immoral activity not be tolerated amongst youths, we worry that the current strategy of the AEPB has been to arrest every woman and young girl they spot at certain hours and in specific locations without any evidence or proof that they have been engaged in prostitution. Thereafter, the young women are subjected to detention and insulting treatment by the AEPB while waiting for family and friends to bail them from detention.
Honourable Minister, in this day and age when all stakeholders are working hard to improve gender equality at all levels we find the agency’s activities, which subject women to undue harassment and harrowing conditions, contradictory and retrogressive. If the goal of the AEPB patrol is really to curb prostitution (a responsibility that is not a part of its mandate), it would be useful for the agency to widely publish the laws guiding its actions to ensure that innocent youths are aware of the law and are not mistaken as prostitutes.
We call on you to use your good office to look into the activities of the AEPB. It is rather ironic that the agency responsible for policing the environment has not had reasons to investigate those indiscriminately polluting the environment nor has it effectively mobilised resources to clean up our dirty neighbourhoods. Rather the agency spends its time picking up young girls on the street and tagging them as prostitutes.
In fighting prostitutions, we want to highlight the much touted ‘Swedish Example’ as one instructive to our present plight. With this regulation it is not criminal to sell sex, but it is criminal to purchase sexual favours. The strategy here is to discourage the patrons of the prostitutes — who number much more than the prostitutes themselves. If such a strategy were implemented in Nigeria, we think that the men (and women) who patronise prostitutes would be discouraged (or prosecuted if they persisted) and gradually, the ‘sex industry’ in Abuja and elsewhere in Nigeria would come to a standstill, and prostitutes would be forced to find alternative employment. While we support the effort of your administration to give Nigeria a befitting national capital that is secure, beautiful and a tourist delight, we would advise that this quest to root out sex workers must be pursued within the framework of the rule of law and without compromising the freedoms of movement and association of all Abuja residents. We would be grateful if a decisive action is taken on the issues highlighted in this letter and we are open to engage in follow up discussions with the Honourable Minister and your officials.
Should reports of blatant violations of human rights persists on the streets of Abuja, we fear that we might seek legal action. We appreciate your audience.
Once again, please accept the assurances of our highest esteem and warm regards.
Save Our future
Global African Dialogue (GADO)
Africa Women and Youth Organisation
Head, Research, Policy and Advocacy,
Youth Action Initiative Africa
After School Peer Mentoring Project
Noble Missions for Change Initiative (NMI)
Ajani Olumide Faith
Blood Drive Initiative
Ukwo Joy Michael
Senior Programs Manager
Akinbo A. A. Cornerstone
Saving Lives Nigeria (SALIN)
Gender and Violence officer
Super Network for Adolescents and Youths of Africa (SUNAYA)
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria
God Bless Nigeria Project
Nigerian Women Resource Centre
Akure, Ondo state
Solar and Alternative Resources (SOAR)
Iyinoluwa O. Aremu
sustain Nigeria Research Project
Bella Anne C. Ndubuisi
Centre for Public Policy and Research
Ifeanyi Kelly Orazulike
International Centre on Advocacy on Rights to Health
Actors Guild of Nigeria
Light Up Nigeria
Olayiwola Joshua Aduroja
Paul A. Ben-Niboro
Agbai Emmanuel Agbai
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