LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS AND AGENCIES MUST COMPLY WITH
PROCESS AND PROCEDURE LAID DOWN BY LAW TO EFFECT ARRESTS
Constance Nkwocha. & 15 Ors. V. Minister of the Federal Capital Territory & 5
WHETHER THE ACT OF BREAKING INTO THE APARTMENTS AND THE ARRESTS OF
WOMEN BY SECURITY AGENTS AND AGENCIES IN THE NAME OF STEMMIMG SEX
WORK DOES NOT INFRINGE ON THE WOMEN’S RIGHTS TO PRIVACY AND TO THE
DIGNITY OF HUMAN PERSON AS GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION?
A government task force comprising the Abuja Environmental Protection Board
(AEPB), the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army had gone about harassing
and intimidating sex workers in the city of Abuja, the nation’s capital. On the 22 nd
day of February 2017, the same Joint Task Force stormed Mabuchi, a suburb of
the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, at about 11 p.m.; breaking into the
apartments of 52 women suspected to be sex workers and unlawfully searching
them and their rooms. During the serious assault of these women, many of them
were arrested, tortured and taken away to be detained at a fenced space known
as the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Garki, Abuja.
The detention of the women at the ground was, according to the Task Force, to have them prosecuted the following day at a mobile court. At the parade ground, many of the supposedly detained women suffered alleged rape, harassment, extortion, beating and other acts that infringed on their rights.
Lawyers Alert subsequently filed a case at the Federal High Court in Abuja on
behalf of these women.
On the 18th day of December, 2019; the court entered judgement in favour of the
women. Delivering the judgement, the Judge held:
“The law has laid down process and procedure for effecting arrest,
law enforcement agents and agencies should ensure at all times to
follow the laid down guideline by the law”.
Monetary compensation was also awarded against the respondents in the case.