Nigeria: Challenge to arbitrary arrest of women during sweeping exercises

Salc : Anneke Meerkotter

Factual Background

The applicants are among 50 women arrested and detained on 22 February 2017 by the joint task force comprising members of Nigeria Police, Nigerian Army, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and other law enforcement agents. The applicants are represented by Lawyers’ Alert.

In the High Court

The applicants filed a human rights case before the Federal High Court of Abuja in May 2017, seeking a number of declaratory orders, including that the respondents action of breaking into the applicants homes at night and arresting them in the name of enforcing an alleged Abuja law banning prostitution in Abuja, amounts to a violation of their constitutional rights and their rights under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. They also sought a declarator that the respondents’ constant assault, indecent search, arrest and detention of the applicants from their houses without any reasonable suspicion of their having committed any criminal offence amounts to perpetual violation of their constitutional right to dignity of their person, personal liberty and right to private and family life.

The case is set for hearing on 13 November 2019.