- The Court declared that the actions of the Joint Task Force in arresting women and infringing on their rights acted unlawfully and in violation of the rights to non-discrimination, liberty, freedom of movement and freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
- The Court denounced the actions of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board for being outside their mandate and powers.
- The Court granted a perpetual injunction to restrain law enforcement agencies from arresting women in similar circumstances without a court order.
- The Court awarded significant damages to each applicant, ranging between $5000 and $10 000 per applicant.
12 August 2021, Abuja – On 5 August 2021, the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abuja Division, per Justice Maha, handed down a groundbreaking decision against law enforcement agencies that violated women’s rights. The Applicants were among 71 women who were arrested at various public spaces in Abuja between 17 and 26 April 2019. The arrests were carried out by the FCTA Joint Task Team comprising the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Securities and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Police Force, Social Development Secretariat, and Abuja Environmental Protection Board. The Applicants were not informed of the reason for their arrest; they were sexually assaulted, verbally harassed, beaten, teargassed, and their phones were confiscated. They were denied basic sanitation during detention and treated in a degrading manner during their arrest and detention. Some women were released without appearing in Court, whilst others were instructed to plead guilty. The raids sparked a public outcry and led to the formation of the Abuja Raids Coalition of CSOs. The CSOs decided to engage in advocacy and legal action. Lawyers Alert, with support from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Open Society Initiative of West Africa, supported the filing of individual applications by the women. Lawyers Alert, with the support of SALC, also filed an amicus curiae brief in the case. The judgment is significant for several reasons: