The women were arrested on Saturday, April 27, 2019 during a raid on nightclubs in the Federal Capital Territory and were detained at the Utako Police Station.
Martin Obono, a lawyer and activist, first raised alarm over the arrest when he took to his Twitter account (@martobono) to reveal that some of the women were molested and assaulted with injuries in their private parts.
Since his revelation, Nigerians have jumped on the incident to question why the women were arrested to begin with and condemn the alleged sexual abuse.
Obono earlier revealed that they were arrested for clubbing and tagged as prostitutes by the authorities.
The Nigerian constitution is vague on the criminalisation of commercial sex, and given the questionable nature of the Police Force on indiscriminately arresting people and charging them for crimes without probable cause or proper investigations, many have questioned how the authorities may have reached the conclusion that the arrested women were sex workers.
Nigerians have even more sternly condemned the alleged sexual abuse of the women as another manifestation of the inhumane conduct of officers of the Force.
There have been allegations in the past that officers routinely sexually abuse sex workers that they arrest during night raids. Many are allegedly typically forced to exchange sexual favours for their freedom.
Even though the arrest and alleged abuse took place on Saturday, Nigerians have been relentless in their criticism of the treatment of the women several days later.
The Police Force is yet to issue an official statement three days after the incident. Attempts to reach the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, for a reaction on the incident failed as he disconnected several phone calls from Pulse.
However, the Head of the Force Public Complaint Response Unit, ACP Yomi Shogunle, reiterated to "those making noise on the clampdown on prostitutes" that sex work is illegal in Nigeria. Posting the tweet on his Twitter account (@YomiShogunle) on Tuesday, he said prostitution is a sin under two main religions of FCT residents.
Shogunle, a controversial figure, further said the medical field says prostitution is spreading sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and also serves as a lifeline of violent criminals.
He concluded by declaring that Nigerian culture frowns on prostitution and that prostitutes don't pay tax to the government.