One of the conveners of the #ArewaMeToo movement, Maryam Aiwasu, was arrested on Tuesday at her office in Kaduna, transported to Abuja and detained for over six hours.
Aiwasu’s arrest was connected to the online campaign, seeking justice for the victims of sexual and physical violence, especially in the north, according to members of the movement.
Aiwasu was said to have been arrested by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian police, a unit that was claimed to have been scrapped.
One of the conveners, Fakhrriyyah Hashim confirmed Maryam’s release in a post on twitter, stating that the arrest was connected with one of the accused offenders, Musadiq Aruwa.
She said the accused had reported that the group was threatening his life.
Twitter users had gotten furious with the news of Maryam’s arrest with over 11000 tweets calling for her release.
While reacting to the development, Director, Amnesty International Osai Ojigho, had decried that her arrest appears to be an attempt to intimidate and harass both her and other women supporting #ArewaMeToo.
“While arresting Maryam, the police attempted to gain access to her laptop and mobile phone by force; this is clearly an effort to access the sensitive evidence she and other human rights defenders have been gathering to seek justice for victims of sexual violence.”
“Maryam and the other brave human rights defenders, working with the #ArewaMeToo movement must not be silenced or punished for the vital work they do. For too long, Nigeria’s women have been facing various kinds of sexual violence that seldom receives proper attention from the country’s law enforcement agencies.
“It is unacceptable that women working on behalf of these victims are subjected to such arrest and intimidation, and we fear that these actions may prevent victims of sexual violence from pursuing justice” Ojigho said.