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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

Abuja, FCT

 

Dear Sir,

 

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.

 

 

SIGNED

 

Rotimi Olawale

Co-founder

Youthhubafrica

rotimi@youthhubafrica.org

 

Deshola Komolafe

Executive Director

Save Our future

Abuja

adesholakomolafe@gmail.com

 

Rosanwo Babatunde

Global African Dialogue (GADO)

rosanwo@gmail.com

 

Anwo-Ade Babatunde

Cobweb Solutions

Mastat17@yahoo.com

 

Ewajesu Asala

Country Director

Africa Women and Youth Organisation

ewajesu@awyo.de

 

Samson Itodo

Head, Research, Policy and Advocacy,

Youth Action Initiative Africa

Samlaw04@yahoo.com

 

 

Esther Essiet

Founder

After School Peer Mentoring Project

Esther.essiet@gmail.com

 

Bisola Edun

Creative Director

Taé

Bisola@taeafrika.com

 

Chime Asonye

#Thisgeneration

Casonye2@gmail.com

 

Charles Omofomwan

Founder

Noble Missions for Change Initiative (NMI)

charlesmentor@gmail.com

 

Damilola Ade

Founder

Sprout Consulting

damiiiilolo@gmail.com

 

Wale Salami

Coordinator

Y-count!

 

Ajani Olumide Faith

Director, Advocacy

Blood Drive Initiative

 

Ukwo Joy Michael

Senior Programs Manager

MMSHF, Abuja

 

Akinbo A. A. Cornerstone

Project Director

Saving Lives Nigeria (SALIN)

 

Omowunmi Kuye

Gender and Violence officer

Super Network for Adolescents and Youths of Africa (SUNAYA)

 

‘Gbenga Sesan

Executive Director

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria

 

Wahab Isiaka

God Bless Nigeria Project

Abuja

 

Abigail Odogun

Administrator

Nigerian Women Resource Centre

Akure, Ondo state

 

Ajoyo Sowande

proNG

ajsowande@gmail.com

 

Babajide Aroyewun

Damaroy Foundation

Lagos

 

Joycee Awojoodu

Solar and Alternative Resources (SOAR)

Abuja

 

Iyinoluwa O. Aremu

sustain Nigeria Research Project

abuja

 

Bella Anne C. Ndubuisi

Centre for Public Policy and Research

Abuja

 

Ifeanyi Kelly Orazulike

International Centre on Advocacy on Rights to Health

 

Chukwu Mary

Actors Guild of Nigeria

 

Amara Nwankpa

Light Up Nigeria

lightupnigeria.org

 

Abimbola Ojo

Olayiwola Joshua Aduroja

Paul A. Ben-Niboro

Roseline A.

Joy Mbalaso

Marvellous chikezie

Agbai Emmanuel Agbai


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rotimi

Rotimi Olawale, co-founder of youthhubafrica.org is a youth development expert. For more than six years he has been involved in leading youth advocacy efforts mainly around the Millennium Development Goals. In 2006, he represented Nigeria as a youth ambassador at the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Summit held at the UN Headquarters in New York. Rotimi has held several global leadership positions including; member, UNFPA Global Youth Advisory Panel for 2 years; member, African Youth Panel. Rotimi is currently involved in shaping local, national and global policies to benefit youth and also leverage opportunities for young people. He was listed by the Nigerian government as one of 15 Nigerian youth on the world stage in 2008.
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