20 November 2012

Nigeria: Body Condemns Indiscriminate Arrest of Women in FCT

The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, has said that the indiscriminate arrest of female Nigerians perceived to be prostitutes is a violation of their rights.

Angwe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that while the commission condemned prostitution, it was wrong to assume that every woman on the streets of Abuja is a prostitute.

He said Nigerians, including women, are free to go about their daily activities without molestation.

"The commission is in support of the arrest of criminals. What we condemn is this idea of raiding female Nigerians on the street with the believe that they are prostitutes. Nigerians are free to move about so long as they are not going out to commit crimes and so long as there is no suspicion that they are about to commit any form of crime.

"People have the right to go to places of their choice, except to places where restrictions are placed by law.

Angwe urged security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory to avoid the indiscriminate arrest of women and advised that suspects be charged to court when apprehended.

"It is not so easy to tag a person as a prostitute. How do you begin to ascertain that a person is a prostitute unless a person is so described or confirmed to be a prostitute? Where the law is against some forms of behaviour, it is the duty of security agencies to apprehend culprits and then charge them to court."

He reiterated the commitment of the commission to protecting the rights of all Nigerians, particularly women.

"If any of such cases is brought to our attention, the commission will invoke its powers to protect the rights of such persons concerned. I advise complainants to file their petitions before the commission and the commission will take it up," he said.

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