From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Women Aid Collective (WACOL), Actionaid and other women groups, on Friday, challenged the Police authority to ensure proper investigation and prosecution of Prof. Zainab Abiola, who assaulted her police orderly for allegedly refusing to do house chores for her.
Prof. Abiola, was allegedly reported to had assaulted her police orderly, Inspector Teju Moses, on Tuesday, 20th September, 2022, at her residence in Garki, Abuja, following her refusal to carry out menial and domestic chores at her residence.
It was also reported that Prof. Abiola has been arrested together with her housemaid, Rebecca Enechido, while certain domestic servant and cohorts in commission of the alleged unlawful act remains at large.
The women, at a joint press conference in Abuja, on Friday, addressed by the Founding Director of WACOL, Prof. Joy Ezeilo and the Country Director, Actionaid, Ene Obi; commended the step (arrest) taken by the Police authority, urging them to go beyond that and ensure that she (Prof. Abiola) face the wrath of law.
Prof. Ezeilo in her remarks said they were disappointed with the action of Prof. Zainab Abiola who ought to be an Ambassador of peace and rights of women and girls.
She said: “The alleged criminal act by Prof. Abiola is without equivocation condemnable in all its entirety and should be condemned by all Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Women Groups and every well-meaning Nigerian, that a serving officer and in this case a female gender should be assaulted and brutalized by a fellow female citizen of Nigeria who she is assigned to as an orderly and for Police protection.
“This ugly episode underscores the existing inhuman condition of service, inhuman treatment and the abysmal discrimination which many Nigerian employees are subjected to by their employers. The trajectory of the case under reportage calls to question, both the character, mental disposition and the psychological well-being of the so called Very important Personalities (VIPs), who some of these female officers in the police force are attached to in the line of their official duties.
“The irony of assigning officers to VIPs is that these Force personnel, by the exigencies of their service are enrolled into service and assigned to VIPs under command without the option of refusal to be so assigned to any VIPs, regardless of whether it violates their free will to consent to be so attached to such VIPs.
“This is not the case with other employer/employee relationship, where the employee has the right to choose the person of the individual employer, he or she wants to work for.”
On her side, the Country Director, Actionaid, Ene Obi, called on the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba, to review the welfare of the officers assigned on special duties as well as other police officers to avert future occurrences.
In addition to that, state in clear terms the roles as Orderlies and Special Duty officers assigned to private citizens including celebrities and high-net worth executives, and also set up a panel to conduct a survey or assessment on how officers assigned to private citizens are being treated.
“It is important to hear feedbacks from these Officers to aid decision making. The IGP must also ensure that Nigerian Police Force support the development and implementation of workplace policy with special reference to the recent ILOC190 that seeks to address Gender Base Violence at the workplace. “This will ensure that the rights of all persons within the workplace are promoted and protected in Nigeria,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson, FIDA, FCT branch, Chibuzor Maureen Nwosu, in her remarks, condemned the action of Prof. Abiola and promised that the women lawyers in FCT will offer free legal services for the assaulted police woman if need be.