24th December, 2013
The Women Arise for Change Initiative, a rights based in Nigeria’s city of Lagos, has petitioned the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, over the inhuman treatment meted out to two women in the Ejigbo area of the state.
A video of the women which surfaced on the internet early this month shows the women stripped on allegation of stealing by some men whose identities were not revealed.
The women were first made to kneel and, then, flogged severely while they rolled on the ground in an attempt by the men to forcefully make them confess to committing the crime. They also forcefully inserted various objects into the women’s private parts after bathing them with pepper.
A compact disc containing the video was attached to the petition by the group which is seeking the House to immediately investigate the inhuman act with a view to getting the culprits punished.
The petition titled: ‘Dehumanisation Of Two Women In Ejigbo, Lagos State’ and signed by the group’s President, Joe Okei-Odumakin, stated that the women were recently subjected to the most vicious forms of human rights abuses and ” unspeakable horrors of brutality by certain depraved and savage men.”
According to the group, the video of the cruelty against the women had, since it was posted online, drawn global outrage.
The petitioners said: “as Nigerians and fellow citizens of the world watched the horrific scenes, they wondered if these were shots taken in the dark ages of savagery and primitivism.
“Strangely enough, a statement this month by the Chairman of Ejigbo LCDA, Kehinde Bamigbetan, at the height of the furore, acknowledged that this unimaginable horror took place in his domain in February this year, and that the victims were a mother and step daughter accused of stealing pepper, and that the husband and father was a palm-wine tapper; but Bamigbetan’s statement sadly to say, failed to outline the measures his office had taken since then to assure justice for the victims and ensure that the perpetrators are punished.
“Ironically, it is the same Bamigbetan whose gruesome kidnap few months back elicited genuine emotions and public goodwill, and the Lagos state government and concerned Nigerians spared nothing to guarantee his release, and bring the kidnappers to book.
“Why did he appear to have turned a blind eye over the ordeal of the victims, and why is he just acknowledging to the public these atrocities after ten good months? Or is it that the victims’ lives are of no value to him because they are pepper sellers from the household of Mr. Palm-wine tapper?”
The petitioner said the group believes that everybody, including women, is created equal by the Almighty God, and should therefore be equal before the law.
The group said it wanted a panel of inquiry to be set up to dig into “this shameful incident and compel the Ejigbo LCDA Chairman, Kehinde Bamigbetan, to share his knowledge of the crime and what he has done in tracking down the purveyors of these bestialities so that they can be brought to justice; adequate provisions must also be made to rehabilitate the victims.
“We strongly believe that there is a redemptive value for Lagos state in fishing out these criminals for punishment so that the state is not seen as a haven for atrocious human rights abuses, where barbaric and savage acts are tolerated by government officials.
“That is surely not a good face to present to potential investors and tourists to the commercial hub of the nation.
“This is certainly one issue that will not die until justice is done, and we trust that you will act quickly and ably, and use your good offices to ensure that justice is done, for justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
After deliberating on the petition, the House appointed a 5-man panel made of the House Leader, Ajibayo Adeyeye, Olumuyiwa Jimoh, Adefunmilayo Tejuoso, Omowunmi Olatunji-Edet and Wahab Alawiye-King to investigate the issue and report its finding to the House