Image Credit: Public Complaints Commission
The young woman known as Hannatu Idris has more than a little problem. On June 3, 2011, she was shot in the leg and left bleeding on a sidewalk after a gun battle purportedly between two groups of policemen. On the one side were mobile police officers attached as security detail for the Abuja Environmental Protection Board; and on the other were police allegedly from the Garki Command.
During an interview with Daily Times Nigeria, Hannatu said that she had been forced into an unmarked bus by members of the Board around 8 pm on Thursday, August 2nd, outside Mr. Biggs in Garki 2, on suspicion of prostitution. However, on Friday, representatives of the Abuja Environment Protection Board insist that their staffers only patrol for “prostitutes after midnight” but admitted that due to “logistics problems” the teams that scout for hawkers and commercial sex workers often use the same vehicle. It is yet to be established why exactly Hannatu was picked up at 8.
The AEPB representative made the statement during a meeting organised by the Public Complaints Commission on August 19. During the same meeting, the lead counsel for the AEPB, one Barrister Eze Enyiam Eze, said that the Board was unclear as to whether the young woman present was in fact the Hannatu that was arrested. This statement was made after the National Secretary for the PCC, Mr. Eteng Otu, said that the Board owed some responsibility towards the woman injured on their premises, noting that although investigations are being carried out, the Board ought to “have a human face” and remember that the suspects they arrest are “human beings also”. Otu also charged the AEPB to review its interpretation of its Act and mandate to ensure best practices, adding that the Commission would assist in any way possible. He also said “this is not a court … We are not apportioning blame.”