The police raided Abuja nightclubs and arrested over 70 women, sexually assaulted them and we are furious

Even though we are deeply numb from the varying attacks, assaults, and human rights violations perpetrated by the Nigerian Police, there never seem to be an end to these issues. Recently, a lawyer on Twitter @martobono gave a grisly report of the arrest of women in Abuja by the Joint Task Force, on the grounds of clubbing and prostitution. At the station, the men of the JTF then proceeded to raping these women and stealing from them.

Sure, there are other unimaginable horrors these women have been subjected to, and while we are all feeling outraged and livid, we must look at the systems that enables these vile mistreatment and abuse, especially against women. The police men weaponized sex to terrorize and degrade the bodies of the women they arrested, and hence showing how patriarchy empowers men to disenfranchise women.

That said, what’s the logic of arresting women on the ground of prostitution only to sexually assault them? And that’s why sex work needs to decriminalised in Nigeria. The sex industry is one that has been in existence since forever, and Nigeria’s nauseating, hypocritical morality and flimsy, shallow arguement of ”African culture” have really fostered a repressive climate around sex work. Sex work is work because it involves labour, and decriminalising it will help in gradually eroding the stigma and allow sex workers operate without fear.

Because sex work is still illegal in the country, the police have seen the arrests of women as an avenue to enrich themselves on bail money. More and more, the police has given us reasons they don’t have our best interests at heart.


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