The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has decried the recent arrest of sex workers and closure of brothels in Umuahia, the Abia capital, on the orders of the state government.
Uche Nwokocha, the Coordinator of NHRC in Abia, described the action as “the criminalisation of poverty” by the government and its agencies.
Ms Nwokocha said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia on Wednesday.
The state government had ordered the immediate shutdown of some brothels in the state capital, alleging that they had become hideouts for criminals.
It also directed security agencies to rid the brothels of suspected hoodlums, a situation which led to the arrest of the sex workers by the police.
However, the NHRC boss described the action as an abuse of the right of the sex workers, adding that the arrested ladies were being punished because they were poor.
She said: “There are other women elsewhere doing similar things and they are not being arrested.
“If you are looking for criminals go to their families. These are just poor women they are preying on.
“The only difference is that these people are poor and they don’t have the opportunity others have.
“And because of that, they are being punished. How many of them are being prosecuted, it is wrong,” she said.