February 1, 2021

The month of January 2021 witnessed a huge number of human right abuses across Nigeria. These included human trafficking, gender based violence, rape, child abuse among others.

The Child Rights Act of 2003 provides that children must be protected from abduction, removal or transfer from lawful custody, child labor and unlawful sexual intercourse. There are a lot of International Treaties that protect the rights of children, which Nigeria has ratified. Despite the provisions of the law, children all over Nigeria suffered various forms of abuses in January 2021.

Months after northern state Governors banned Almajiri practice, hundreds of Almajiri have returned to the streets. Daily Trust reports that in Bauchi, an increasing number of Almajiri thronged different markets, motor parks, petrol stations, local food joints and prominent junctions in the state capital, where they spend the day begging for alms. This is a situation that exposes them to danger. According to Surajo Hamza, 13, “our Malam, Malam Sani, went to our village two weeks ago and brought us back to Bauchi. I was among hundreds of Almajiri who were repatriated from Bauchi State to our state of origin”.

On January 20th, there was some positive news on trafficking. It was reported that no fewer than 18 children trafficked from some areas in Gombe State and sold to a syndicate in Anambra State at N200,000 each have been rescued in Anambra by the police while a member of the syndicate has been arrested. According to Daily Trust, the children were suspected to have been stolen by a woman named Hauwa Usman on October, 2019, in Gombe and taken to her accomplice in Anambra.

On January 25th, Sahara Reporters revealed that a 17 year old Nigerian girl from Delta State, trafficked to Mali for prostitution, has cried out for help to secure her return to Nigeria. According to reports, the young lady was taken to Mali alongside four others by an unidentified “aunt” who trafficked them for the sole purpose of prostitution. When she refused to comply, she was abandoned. So far, there has been no further information about her current situation.

The Katsina State Police Command arrested four suspected rapists for sodomising five boys between the ages of six and ten. Spokesman of the command revealed this on Thurday, 21st January. The victims who are between the ages of eight and ten, were raped through their anus against the order of nature. According to the police, investigations are on-going, and hopefully, the victims will get judgement.

On Saturday, 23rd January, gunmen invaded Rachael’s Orphanage Home in Naharati, Abaji Council, Abuja, abducting seven children. According to The Punch, the attackers also abducted a security guard, including two housewives, during the attack. This took place around 1am, according to a resident of the area. Security agencies said they were working hard to rescue them and apprehend the perpetrators.

A mother, Rose Solomon, had alleged that her husband, Samuel Solomon, defiled their seven year old daughter a number of times and wiped the young girl’s private part with a white handkerchief each time he was done with the act. She told Sahara Reporters that the abuse had gone on for two years before she knew about it. The case was handed over to the Family Support Unit of the Area F Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos, where the suspect is currently detained.

On January 29th, Sahara reporters revealed that the police in Lagos State have arrested a 13 year old boy named Chibuzor for allegedly defiling a six year old girl several times in Ikotun area of the state. The victim confessed to residents that it was not Chibuzor’s first time, which angered the people and the matter was reported to the Ikotun Police Division and a human rights group. The police said the suspect will be tried in a juvenile court.

Gender based violence was not left out in the plethora of human right violations as there were so many cases of deaths resulting from misunderstandings between partners. The Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act, was enacted in 2015 in response to the problem of GBV in Nigeria. Unfortunately, GBV has been on the rise lately.

A 17-year-old girl, Esther Alex, reportedly set her boyfriend ablaze in Benue State. According to a neighbor, the love birds had a misunderstanding, which has been happening regularly in their relationship. But this time, Esther set her boyfriend ablaze at about 2am. The victim, Chidimma Omah, later died in the hospital. Sahara Reporters revealed on 19th January that the accused has been arraigned in court where the charge was read, and has now been remanded in the correctional center and the case adjourned to 5th March, 2021.

On January 27th, it was reported that one Obijofa Chukwuemeka, a 28-year-old man from Anambra State, went berserk, killing his wife and their four-year-old daughter. The State Police Public relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, revealed this in a statement on Wednesday, 27th January. Mr Obijofa attacked his wife and daughter with a shovel, hitting them in the head. The victims were rushed to the hospital for medical attention where the doctors on duty certified them dead.

On 23rd January, there was a report that at about 6:30am, a girl fell down from the 5th floor of a five storey building at No. 6 Orakwe Close, Fizzle Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State. Police operatives attached to Awada Division visited the scene, photographed the victim and rushed her to Bex Hospital, Onitsha but she was certified dead on arrival by a medical doctor. Neighbours confirmed that the deceased was pushed down by her boyfriend, Nonso Eze, following a misunderstanding. The suspect was subsequently arrested and search executed in his apartment where a pair of female slippers was found.

On January 28th, it was reported that a 65 year old hunter, Uchechukwu Nweke, allegedly killed his wife, son and shot himself in Awka North Council Area, Anambra. He also set his house ablaze. When rushed to the hospital, all victims were confirmed dead on arrival. Investigations are on-going to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Several other human right violations have gone unreported and this is quite unfortunate as it makes it increasingly difficult to keep record of the abuses that occur every day. Hopefully, the government, human right organizations and individuals will do more to bring every culprit to book and secure justice for victims.

Report by Offiong Ekanem,

TALKAM Content Development Volunteer



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