Police apparently abused Nigerian prostitutes

54

Nigerian police are investigating allegations that officers sexually assaulted women arrested in nightclub raids during a crackdown on prostitution.

There has been widespread public outrage over last month’s raids in Abuja.

Various women among the dozens arrested said they were not prostitutes and were detained randomly.

“They did all manner of things to us,” said a 27-year-old student, speaking on condition of anonymity among about 200 people during a weekend protest march.

The woman told Reuters she was groped, beaten and pepper-sprayed after being picked up in a club and held for three nights at the end of April. Other women said they were raped.

Long accused of widespread human rights abuses, the Nigeria Police Force said it was looking into the accusations.

“Investigations have commenced,” Usman Umar, deputy commissioner for Abuja police, said promising anyone found guilty would be “fished out” and punished.

At the protest, marchers carried messages such as “to be a woman is not a crime.”

Marcelle Umar, a member of Coalition to End Rape, said police ignored men involved in the prostitution and targeted women indiscriminately.

“Women are walking on the street, wearing short skirts and they are tagged prostitutes for nothing,” she said, as protesters chanted.

Similar to the global #MeToo movement, Nigerians are using social media to highlight mistreatment of women with hashtags #SayHerNameNigeria and #AbujaPoliceRaidonWomen.