17 January 2013

Nigeria: Rights Commission, FIDA Condemn Rape By Soldiers

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has condemned reports of alleged rape of women by men of the Nigerian Army.

The commission in a statement called on the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and the Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command to investigate the allegation that some men in army uniform abducted and raped some women under the guise that they were prostitutes.

The commission requested that the Chief of Army Staff and the Commissioner of Police FCT should update the commission on any action taken on the matter to enable it take further necessary action in line with its mandate.

The commission also stated said it was ready to ensure that the rights of the victims were enforced.

In a similar vein, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria has also condemned the rape and violence allegedly perpetrated by soldiers from the Brigade of Guards of the Nigerian Army.

The National President of FIDA, Hauwa Evelyn Shekarau, in a statement in Abuja, stated that the association was worried at the seeming silence, nonchalant and outright complicity of law enforcement agents in addressing the high rate of violence against women, especially rape, assault, sexual harassment as well as defilement of young girls.

She noted that the acts were crimes already codified in law books such as the penal and criminal code.

Shekaruh said: "The impunity with which women and girls are raped, defiled and violated in this country is completely unacceptable."

"It is quite sad and ironic to see people who are paid from state coffers and charged with the responsibility of protecting the citizens and maintaining law and order being the same people that are perpetrating crimes against the same citizens.

"A situation where the bodies of women and girls are seen as objects to be acquired willy-nilly by men without their consent leaves much to be desired.

"FIDA Nigeria therefore calls on the leadership of the Nigerian Army to investigate and ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly acts are fished out and made to face the of the law."

The NHRC said it monitored the report of the incident as aired by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) on January 14, 2013, in which it was reported that on the 20th, 21st and the 22nd of December 2012, some women were allegedly abducted by men in army uniforms in an unidentified black Hilux Van around Wuse 2, Abuja, under the guise that they were prostitutes and taken to an unknown destination, where they were beaten and raped.

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