NHRC kicks against use of torture in interrogating suspects

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2020 International Day in support of victims of torture today, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has lamented the use of torture in interrogating suspects by law enforcement agents.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu said in a statement on Thursday that the spate of torture and other related human rights violations which come in forms of domestic violence, assault, rape etc in the country have become worrisome.

The NHRC Boss said the presidential panel on State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Chaired by the Commission in 2018 revealed that “torture was predominantly the means of collecting evidence from suspects” by SARS.

He called on Law Enforcement Agencies and their Officials to abide by the provision of UN Minimum Standard Rules for Treatment of Persons under any form of detention and urged them to mainstream human rights in their operations, saying that, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the Anti-Torture Act 2017 and other legislation and international instruments to which Nigeria is a party are there to help them in carrying out their lawful duties void of any form of human rights violation.

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Ojukwu further called on Law Enforcement Agents and all Nigerians to see themselves as advocates against torture and inhuman treatments which has remained a sore point in the country’s human rights records.

He noted that the International Day Against Victims of Torture is very significant because it provides the opportunity on yearly bases to reminisce and review conducts, as individuals, groups, security operatives, executives, legislature and judiciary as well as Ministries, Departments and Agencies and to ensure that they are in conformity with the laid down human rights standards and norms.

He urged the Law Enforcement Officials and other categories of persons to desist from all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as these are not acceptable in any national, regional or international law.

According to Ojukwu, the Commission has recorded several cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) associated with torture which has since assumed different dimensions.

“The sudden surge in rape and other related SGBV cases is a source of worry to the Commission because of the senseless and bestial manner in which these crimes are committed in recent times, all of which are tantamount to torture to the victims”, Ojukwu said and called on stakeholders to make concerted efforts in playing their roles in stemming the tides of the ugly trend as no single institution can deal with the issue alone.

The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is observed on 26 June annually in honour of the Convention Against Torture.


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