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MURIC to Minister Uju: Get justice for molested nurse

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A civil liberties group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has called on the Minister for Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy Ohanenye, to fight for a nurse who was severely beaten for daring to come out during masquerade festival.

The group argued that the nurse, not the 100 orphan girls in Minna, needed the Minister’s urgent intervention.

MURIC’s call was contained in a statement circulated on Monday, 20th May, 2024 by its Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

He said further: “MURIC is in possession of a video clip in which a nurse in her white uniform who was being driven to work by a motorcyclist was beaten to a pulp by masquerades. The nurse, writhing in pain, ended up inside a dirty gutter. The only crime committed by the nurse was that she dared to come out during the masquerade festival.

“We strongly condemn the action of the masquerades. It is wicked, inhuman and barbaric. This is violence against women taken too far.

“The order given to women in the community to stay indoors during the masquerade festival was discriminatory, chavinistic and anti-feminine. It infringes upon Allah-given fundamental human rights of women. It also breaches Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which guarantees freedom of movement for all Nigerians regardless of their gender.

“It is similar to curfews imposed on women in the South West by traditional worshippers of Oro cult. Sometimes, week-long restrictions are issued against innocent women while men are allowed to roam freely. These Oro curfews and masquerade restrictions are tools of tyranny, male chauvinism and gender segregation. They are illegal, illegitimate, unlawful and unconstitutional.

“Interestingly, those who do this against women are fully aware of its illegality but they still do it. It is impunity of the highest order. Unfortunately the law enforcement agents who should stop them and protect women have become complicit. as these atrocities are committed under their noses.

“Traditional rulers in the areas where these curfews are imposed are equally guilty of favouring one faith over another. The same traditional rulers may also be responsible for the nonchalance of the security agencies towards the atrocities being committed by traditionalists.

“For whereas it is against the law for any unauthorized person to declare a curfew or enforce a restriction of people’s movement, masquerade and Oro worshippers do so with reckless abandon. Law enforcement agencies know that only the president, governor or chairman of a local government, as the case may be, have the power to impose a curfew or any form of restriction but they pretend not to be aware of the excesses of traditional worshippers.

“These are the areas where Nigerians need Minister Uju’s intervention. She must curb the overzealousness of traditional worshippers particularly what the latter exhibit against vulnerable Nigerian women.

“In particular, we need her now to get justice for the unknown nurse who was brutally manhandled by masquerades. It is interesting that the incident occurred in Nsukka, the same city where the minister obtained her first degree in law. She will therefore find it easy to trace both the victim and her traducers.

“We assure her that she will enjoy our full support stopping the excesses of Oro worshippers and masquerades who target women with illegal curfews and movement restrictions in the South East and South West.

“On the contrary, we do not need her to stop Muslim weddings in the North, whether mass or single. The myth of an uncivilized and uneducated North exists only in the figment of imagination of Muslim haters. Our Islamic scholars and Imams know when to allow or disallow an Islamic wedding. They need no official from Abuja to breathe down their necks.

“Minister Uju should get down to real business. Get justice for this molested nurse. Stop chasing shadows in Minna. Turn your searchlights to the South once in a while. Stop Oro worshippers and masqueraders from oppressing women down South.

“This lawyer minister has the penchant for litigation. She once threatened to sue the United Nations for allegedly misusing funds meant for Nigeria. She has actually gone to court over the proposed wedding of 100 orphan girls in Minna. But when will she sue the persecutors of innocent little girls who are disallowed from entering examination halls and from using hijab at all in the South West and South East? Or is her fight for womenfolk meant to be selective? Uju should let the Muslims go.”




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