Some protesters flooded principal streets in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, last Saturday, May 10, 2019, to condemn the Nigerian Police Force for the unlawful arrest and alleged manhandling of women by the Police in Abuja.
Hundreds of protesters converged at some principal streets in Accra to protest against the Nigerian Police Force for the unlawful arrest and claims of assault of women by the police in Abuja.
The Accra march began at the 37 Military Hospital vicinity and ended at the Nigerian High Commission at Roman Ridge.
Ghanaian and Nigerian women attired in black chanted as they marched through the streets of Accra while they held placards with inscriptions such as, “To Be A Woman Is Not A Crime”, “Unlawful Arrest is Evil”, “Her Today, Could Be Me Tomorrow” and “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.”
The protest organized by several women’s rights groups was one of a set of coordinated protests in 5 different cities across 3 countries following the Abuja police raids in April 2019 where over 100 women were randomly dragged out of clubs, bars and lounges in Abuja and arrested for prostitution without any evidence.
Testimonies from the women who were arrested included disturbing stories of physical manhandling by police officers.
The police raids and the subsequent violation of the arrested women by police officers sparked outrage in the news and on social media.
“We hear our Nigerian sisters and we march in solidarity with them because gender-based violence is a human rights violation that women everywhere suffer,’’ a representative of the Eye of African Women (TEAW) and co-convener of the march, Fatima Derby said.
She described the situation as ''shameful and we call on the Nigerian government to investigate the matter and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. The police are supposed to protect women, not molest and assault them.”
At the Nigerian High Commission, the protesters asked to have an audience with the High Commissioner to Ghana.
Adaku Ufere-Awoonor, a representative of Stand to End Rape Initiative and co-convener of the March, said the women will no longer sit in silence and allow injustice to prevail.
“We are here to tell the Nigerian High Commissioner to go and tell the Federal Government of Nigeria that No means No, that we are tired of being [...] and assaulted. We will no longer sit still while our bodies and autonomy are constantly violated by patriarchy.”
She stressed that, ‘‘each and every single one of us is valid and deserving of respect. Not one woman is better than the other. Because we are all bound by the same shackles in different degrees, and until all of us are free, none of us is free” .
The protest ended with a statement by the group saying that they are keenly following development on the case and will continue to hold the government accountable for police violence against women.
Meanwhile, another march was held in London as part of protests against #AbujaPoliceRaidonWomen .
The Accra and London demonstrations follows the march in Nigeria with hashtag #sayhernameNigeria which was held on May 4, 2019.
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