By Temitope Owotoki
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said on Sunday that it had reached a resolution with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and other agencies of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to suspend the raids of nightclubs and other leisure places in Abuja.
Mr. Lambert Oparah, the Director Corporate Affairs and External Linkages of the NHRC, said in a statement that the resolution was reached at a meeting between the representatives of the NHRC, the AEPB and some civil society organisations.
Oparah recalled in his statement that the NHRC had on May 10, 2019 issued summons on the Director of the AEPB following complaints received from some civil society organisations “over allegations of raids on nightclubs, arrests, molestations and sexual assaults of some women by agents of the FCT led by the AEPB”.
He said in obedience to the summons, the Coordinator of Abuja Municipal Metropolitan Council, Alhaji Baba Lawal alongside the Directors, Security Services, Social Welfare, Development Control and AEPB, appeared before the NHRC on May 16.
He said the representatives of the various civil society groups led by the Head of the Amnesty International Mr. Osai Ojigho, were also in attendance.
“At the end of the meeting the summary of the resolutions were as follows:
“That further raids by the FCT Task Force should be put on hold pending the mainstreaming of human rights into their operations.
“That issues concerning the distortion of master plan of the FCT should be targeted at business owners and the FCT officials themselves who approve such alterations and not the innocent citizens of the FCT using the facilities provided.”
It was also resolved that an investigation would be “carried to fish out and bring to book those officials and security agents who perpetrated the various acts of violation and impunity in the course of the raids”.
“A meeting between the clubs, similar business owners, and the FCT be facilitated by the NHRC to reduce noise pollution in Abuja, ensure respect for the right of others, the rule of law and compliance to official regulations”, the statement added.
Oparah noted that the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, had observed at the meeting that the allegations over the molestation of women in FCT had raised a lot of public concern.
Ojukwu was said to have explained that the NHRC’s intervention in the matter, in line with its powers and mandate, was not a witch-hunt but to correct the wrongs, and forestall future occurrences to check impunity.