Seven ladies who were arrested in Abuja and convicted by a mobile court for prostitution have alleged that policemen attached to the Utako and Gwarimpa police stations in Abuja raped and physically assaulted them in custody.
They also claimed that the police compelled them to plead guilty when they were arraigned before the court on Monday.
Narrating their ordeal to journalists on Thursday, the ladies, who spoke anonymously, said after their arrest at a night club and a hotel, the police allegedly threw them into a cell and repeatedly tear-gassed them.
One of the victims, explained that a policeman attached to the Utako Police station, who was simply identified as ‘Yellow,’ allegedly hit her with a baton and also flogged her with a horse whip several times, injuring her arm and face in the process.
Her explanations were also corroborated by her co-convicts who lamented the alleged emotional abuse and physical torture they suffered while in detention.
Another victim, who claimed to have been arrested at a shopping plaza, said the policemen attached to the FCT ministerial task allegedly raped her when she could not pay them.
She stated, “Three of us were brought out of the van and raped by the policemen because we had no money to give them. We were raped behind the National War College, Abuja. They pushed me to the ground and held me there while one of them raped me. He didn’t wear a condom. The other girls were also raped by two others one of who used a pure water sachet as condom.”
Another victim said she was picked up by the police at a hotel where she attended a birthday bash.
She stated, “I was invited to a birthday party at an apartment in a hotel. I came to the reception to get water and a woman suddenly held my hands and pushed me out of the hotel. I saw a lot of people with cameras and some with mobile phones taking my pictures and shooting a video of the arrest.
“They took me to Zone 6 police station and from there to the Utako police station. I was on my period and I begged a policewoman to help me with a pad, but she refused. We were not allowed to make phone calls to our family members; I don’t know how my sister got to know, and she brought a pad for me.”
“When I wanted to use it, a male policeman followed me inside the toilet and was watching me. This is not fair. A policeman, Yellow, beat me when I demanded my phone. The next day, they took us to Life Camp police station after which they took us to Area 3. The policemen said we should plead guilty before the court otherwise, we would be remanded in prison.”
An activist, Dorothy Njemanze, also narrated her experience in the hands of policemen who allegedly molested her, adding that she was awarded N6m damages by the court in 2017.
She lamented that the Federal Government had refused to pay the award.
The acting FCT police spokesman, ASP Gajere Danjuma, said the commissioner of police was aware of the allegations which he said were being investigated.
By Adelani Adepegba, The Punch