AGF frowns against use of torture by Police, security agencies

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Tuesday frowned at the use of torture during investigation by the Police and other security agencies.

The minister made this known in a keynote address he delivered at a two-day capacity building workshop for Civil Society Organisations on the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act, Anti-torture Act and the Draft Rules that guide its implementation organised by the Access to Justice in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission, National Committee against Torture and the Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee.

The minister, who was represented by a Director in the ministry, Victoria Ojogbane lamented that Nigerians now are fearful of their encounter with security agencies including the Police.

The minister said his office and other concerned parties shall ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against torture is finally included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.

According to Malami, his office, with the approval of the President will make rules and regulations that would ensure the effective implementation of the Anti-Torture Act.

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He reminded that the Police Act provides for personal liability of a Police officer for any act committed by him which is beyond his authority, adding that, it should not be business as usual as Section 251 of the Penal Code provides for a punishment of a term of imprisonment of 7 -10 years for any act of torture voluntarily causing hurt for the purpose of exporting confession of information which may lead to detection of an offence.

While making case for more sensitization of the public on the Anti-torture act, Malami stressed the need the production of the Act in small pamphlets (if possible in three Nigerian languages) and shared to the public during sensitization.

In his speech, the chairman of the National Committee against Torture, Dr. Samson Sani Ameh (SAN) said his committee was set up to help in eradicating the use of torture against persons.

He identified inadequate funding of the committee as one of the major problems confronting the committee, even as he called for financial independence of the committee.

Ameh also called for a separate office from the Ministry of Justice so as to put the Committee in a proper position in the fight against torture in the country.

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