NO to the War On Women! – Briefing Paper by the Nigerian Feminist Forum, 15 May 2019.
On the 22nd of April, 2019, agents of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) carried out a raid on Caramelo Club in Utako, Abuja. Of the mixed clientele, men and women, only women were arrested. All the 27 women arrested were profiled as strippers, regardless of whether they were or not. Women were dragged out of the club in the nude and manhandled by male law enforcement agents. The 27 women were coerced into “confessing to prostitution”, without legal aid or counsel, and sentenced to one month’s imprisonment or a fine of N3000.
Barely a week later, further raids were carried out on several nightclubs in Abuja, on the 28th of April. Individual women were also abducted, including one who had simply gone out to buy noodles and another who was in front of a supermarket. In all, 70 women were abducted from different parts of Abuja and profiled as “prostitutes” because they were out after working hours. At a press conference, the arrested women gave testimonies of a range of violations: abduction, physical assault, mental anguish, and sexual assault. One woman who was menstruating at the time was ogled and humiliated by policemen. Women who wore wedding rings were released. The arrested women either paid between N5000 and N10,000 to be granted bail or, if they could not pay, were coerced into sex for bail. Download the policy brief to know read more