Recently, there was a trending video on social media of a lady who was alleged to have stolen a phone as a result of which some persons forcefully inserted pepper into her vagina/female private part and the video uploaded on media as a punishment for her alleged offence.

It is a great shock beyond my human imagination to still have some of these occasions witnessed or heard of in Nigeria or some parts of Nigeria! This paper joins in solidarity with those already ensuring justice is secured for this victim and overpowered young lady.

This act of the perpetrators is entirely an act of wickedness to humanity. Most especially, Nigeria is a nation with a constitution. In analysis, stripping the female of her external clothing without her consent is unlawful. Also, stripping her of her under-wears to reveal her nudity without her consent is unlawful. Also, inserting any unconsented object into her vaginal is unlawful. Also, inserting pepper in her vaginal/private parts is very unlawful. Carrying out all these acts in public is unlawful. And uploading these acts on media including social media is unlawful. These acts are: barbaric, illegal, dehumanizing, inhuman, torturous, unconstitutional, cruel, brutal, wicked and unacceptable in our democratic civil society. It is also a form of disrespect to her female gender. Any custom that encourages such unconstitutional act is inconsistent with the Constitution and is thereby null and void and of no effect.

For instance, section 1 (1) and (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides thus ‘1.—(1) This Constitution is Supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  (3) If any other Law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other Law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.’. Also, by section 34 of the Constitution, the right to dignity of human person is well provided for thus 34.—(1) Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly— (a) no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment ; (b) no person shall be held in slavery or servitude ; and (c) no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.’. Even by international human rights laws, such as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, e.t.c., these acts are a form of oppression on the humanity of the victim. I also hope that she has parents and or family members from whom there are lots to hear about the story.

What I am saying in essence is that the criminal aspect of the acts of the perpetrators should not only be considered rather, inclusive of the violation of her human and or fundamental rights. Therefore, the allegation of having stolen a phone is another thing to be investigated by the law enforcement agency. So that where any person (including the owner of any property) arrests any person suspected to have stolen his property, it is his duty to hand such person over to the police or any other law enforcement agency for proper investigation and or prosecution according to law and such a person or community of persons do not have the right to seek self-help or jungle justice or punish the suspect by themselves, even with the slightest beat except in case of self-defence. The acts of the perpetrators too should also be investigated and whoever that is found culpable should be prosecuted according to the laws of the land. I also encourage the victim to expose those who did these inhuman acts to her for her to secure justice and to serve as deterrence to other perpetrators like them. The victim is hereby encouraged to take up enforcement of her fundamental rights against those perpetrators. Also, I must make it clear too that no person including our law enforcement agencies is or are permitted by human rights laws (both local and international) to violate the fundamental rights or human rights of any suspect except according and or as permitted by law, and any person who alleges that any of the provisions of the Chapter IV of the Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in any State in relation to him by any person may apply to a High Court for redress.

I enjoin those standing for her to ensure that she secures justice and not to relent in their efforts. The due process of the law should be allowed to take its cause.

Finally, I call on the Benin State’s/City’s authorities to prevail upon this situation to ensure an undistracted justice for this victim. I hereby tender my legal services for her where required!

e-mail: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

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