By Bukola Olasanmi
The National Human Rights Commission says it has summoned the Chairman of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board to appear before it on Monday in relation to alleged raids of nightclubs and relaxation centres in the Federal Capital Territory.
A statement by a senior official of the commission, Mr. Lambert Oparah, said the summons followed a petition received by the commission.
The statement added, “The summons followed a protest visit to the Commission on Friday by a coalition of Civil Society Organisations working in the field of human rights in Nigeria which brought a petition of gender-based rights violations against the authorities of the FCTA and the Nigerian Police.
“The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, issued the summons upon receiving a statement of demand by the CSOs led by the Executive Director Partner West Africa, Kemi Okenyodo.”
The statement indicated that the NHRC boss vowed that said no human rights violations would be swept under the carpet.
Ojukwu was said to have vowed that the commission would ensure that justice was done on the case of the alleged raids and gender-based violence against women in Abuja “by agents of the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Nigerian Police.”
He said if there any situation warranting the relevant authorities to carry out raids, such must be carried out within the confines of the law, devoid of gender-based violence, including rape as alleged by victims of the said raids.
Earlier, the Executive-Director of Partner West Africa, Okenyodo, who led a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Nigeria, called on the Federal Government to prioritise the promotion and protection of the human rights obligations which it voluntarily acceded in the interest of justice and human rights.
She also called on the Office of the Vice President to immediately issue a directive to all government agencies involved to cease the raids against women on suspicion of sex work as well as rein in the Abuja Environment Protection Board to discharge its mandate in line with the Act establishing it.
In his remarks, the representative of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Umar, said it was the duty of the police to maintain law and order while protecting the rights of citizens.
He said that the police were looking into the allegations of human rights violations with a view to ensuring that justice was done.