The Presidential Investigative Panel on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Nigeria has so far received over ninety-one complaints from victims of Sexual and Gender Violence across the five geo-political zones of the country.
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as well as the Chairman of the Panel, Mr. Tony Ojukwu who sated this during the Public Sitting of the Panel for the North-Central Geo-Political Zone in Abuja, while assuring other victims of adequate protection of identity also urged others who were victims of SGBV to forward their complaints to the Panel.
Ojukwu who said the essence of the public sitting is to check the scourge of the sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria as well as the increase access of Nigerians to the services of the NHRC to seek for accountability where there is evidence to indicate that any officer or individuals have been involved in acts of sexual and gender based violence.
“The public sitting is to provide opportunities for fair hearing to both complainants and alleged violators and to mainstream human rights norms and tenets into the operations of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Law Enforcement Officials and members of the public.”
“As you can recall, this panel was constituted as a result of the complaint received on Friday the 26th of April, 2019, where armed security personnel led by the AEPB under the auspices of the FCT Joint Task Force raided night clubs and streets of Abuja. They claimed that the raids were intended to arrest prostitutes. About 71 women were arrested and held in different police stations. In these raids none or very few men were arrested. Victims of the raids made serious allegations of rape, sexual harassment; cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, he said”.
A victim who said her name is Josephine Aseme revealed that she was harassed twice by a police officer and a male friend. She said the experience had left a traumatizing effect on her.
While revealing that she was having drinks with friends at a public park when police officers invaded the place and arrested them, when she tried asking questions as to why she was arrested, the officers started beating her.
“whenever I see that scar, it always brings me back to what actually happened that day. You see the one on my mouth was given to me by a guy who wanted to go out with me while the one on my forehead was as a result of beating from a police officer who also harassed me sexually”, she lamented.
Another victim who said her name is simple Patience revealed that she was arrested by police officers while on her way to buy noodles for dinner. The victim who alleged that after all plea by her to explain to the officers where she was going, they still insisted on arresting detaining her. They collected N15,000 from her before she was released the following day.
She further revealed that on several occasions police officers invades their area to arrest young girls who they forcefully demand sex and money from them.