The Kogi Government on Thursday condemned the inhuman and degrading treatment meted out on Blessing Abbah, a widow by a gang of youths in Ogugu community, in Olamaboro Local Government Area.
The Director-General of the Office of the Public Defender and Citizens’ Rights Commission (PDCRC), Mr Abdullahi Zakari, made the promise while addressing newsmen in Lokoja.
”Abbah, was ridiculed, molested and exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment in a video that went viral.
”The victim was married to Goodnews, in November 2020 and both of them are from that community.
“Unfortunately, Goodnews died few months after the marriage, and the members of the community alleged that it was the abominable conduct of Blessing that led to his death.
“As Abbah was mourning her late husband, a gang of youths invaded her family house, took her to a public square, accusing her of the husband’s death.
“They exposed her to inhumane treatment and undermined her dignity as a person as protected under the Nigerian Constitution.
”Gov. Yahaya Bello remains committed to the welfare and rights of women and children and expressed great concern about the violation of the victim’s rights,” he said.
He said that Gov. Bello instructed the PDCRC and the Ministry of Women Affairs to collaborate with other relevant stakeholders, to immediately intervene in the matter and ensure that justice was done.
In furtherance of its mandate and the instruction of the state governor, he said, other key actors such as the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and Kogi Ministry of Women Affairs, immediately formed a coalition to investigate the matter and ensure that justice is done.
He noted that the coalition team visited Ogugu community where the incident occurred on Tuesday, for on-the-spot assessment and to obtain the needed facts.
“We also interacted with various leaders in the community including the paramount traditional ruler of Ogugu, the Ochogu, youths leaders, some community leaders and security agencies in the area.
“We also went for the purpose of rescuing the lady because it was obvious she was no longer safe and her life was under threat, if she continues to stay in that environment.
“Our findings revealed clearly that there were cultural and traditional issues, but they are not of concern to us. Our concern is the human rights of Abbah.
“This is an opportunity for us to talk to the human rights community both nationally and globally that the state government has the necessary machinery in place, to ensure that the rights of every resident of Kogi is protected.
“We will ensure that justice is done because what happened constituted a violation of the young girl’s rights. We will also ensure that those involved in the dastardly act pay for it, by following due process of the law.
“As we speak, the security agencies in the state had been instructed to ensure that those involved in the act are brought to book.
“They will be investigated and prosecuted accordingly, and that is what the PDCRC, FIDA, and the Ministry of Women Affairs, stand squarely for,” Zakari said.
Also speaking, the State Chairperson of FIDA, Lilian Okolo, said that the victim is safe and secured.
Okolo assured that FIDA will ensure that the culprits are prosecuted. (NAN)