Group Calls For End Of Torture, Ill Treatment Of Detainees By Security Agencies

A group, Sterling Law Centre, has called on security agencies in Nigeria to stop the use of torture and ill treatment of detainees.

The group in a statement by its Executive Director, Wuyep Desire, said that torture in police custody had been normalised to the extent that those involved in criminal investigation accept it as an inevitable and sometimes routine part of their work.

Desire said despite an enactment of the Anti-Torture Act in 2017, torture as well as other forms of cruel inhuman and degrading treatment was still being employed as a tool of investigation by security agencies.

The group said the Nigerian state had failed victims of torture for too long. 

The statement reads, “As the world marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we at Sterling Law Centre find it appropriate to seize the opportunity that the day presents to call for complete end to torture. We also call on all men and women of good conscience in our dear country to spare a minute to imagine the horrors that are inflicted upon our people everyday at the hands of the police and other law enforcement agencies.

“Examples of violence used include systematic beatings, head-banging, use of ruffle butts, forceful uprooting of nails and jumping on stomach; and those most susceptible to police torture are usually from marginalised sections of society, including students, job seekers, daily-wage workers, artisans and domestic workers. Gender based violence is also evident in reports of police torture, with accounts of rape, sexual assault and humiliation of female suspects.    

“The Nigerian constitution explicitly makes the right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment a non-derogable right, while the Anti-Torture Act, 2017 clearly criminalises torture and protects victims and witnesses of torture. We call on the AGF and other stakeholders to work towards full implementation of the Act and to put in place mechanism to ensure compliance so as to completely eliminate torture in Nigeria.

“Sterling Law Centre wishes to take liberty of this significant day to reiterate the need to establish a truly independent and external structure to investigate incidences of torture and address the complaints of victims. Together we can kill the monster that torture is.”

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