The recent reports of arrest and subsequent abuse of over a 100 women by officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) as well as other security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja has sparked outrage and led to the creation of campaigns online calling for justice.

The AEPB is a task-force the city’s authorities established in 2011 in what they described as “a total war against prostitution in Abuja.”

The women, most of whom were people hanging out with friends or spouses, or walking on the streets, were arrested, physically and sexually abused by the officials, and forced to plead guilty to prostitution.

A similar experience was suffered by actress and activist Dorothy Njemanze in 2012. She eventually sued the federal government at the ECOWAS court and won the case.

And in 2016, she created a documentary titled “Silent Tears” with the aim of telling the stories of some of the women who have had to endure unwarranted brutality and sexual abuse at the hands of security officials.

According to the documentary’s caption on YouTube, “The documentary also features commentary on Gender Based violence across the country, particularly perpetrated by security officials and law enforcement agents. Winner of the Audience Choice Award, African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) 2015. An Amateur Heads Production supported by a grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).”

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