Put an end to torture, CSOs charge FG

As a way of boosting the fight against torture in the country, a coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has called for the quick approval of the implementing rules and regulations for the Anti-Torture Act, in line with Section 12 of the Act.

The Project Director, Access to Justice, Mr Deji Ajare, who made the call in Abuja on behalf of the CSOs, comprising of 30 members on the occasion of the United Nations Day in support of victims of torture said torture is the intentional infliction of severe mental and physical pains or sufferings, by or with the approval of state agents.

The CSOs also called on the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to design the rules and regulations to compel law enforcement and security agencies to handover their operatives who commit acts of torture over to appropriate authorities for prosecution.

Ajare said in his speech on the occasion that the preventive mechanisms set out in the anti-torture Act, like the monitoring of detention facilities, effective oversight and speedy justice delivery have not been fully deployed to facilitate the prevention of torture in the country.

He called on all heads of law enforcement and investigative agencies to establish special departments to conduct training for members, monitor compliance with the anti-torture Act, investigate alleged contraventions of the provision of the Act and refer cases to appropriate institutions for prosecution.

“We urge the federal government to provide the resources that will enable the National Committee against Torture (NCAT) to function effectively. We regret that NCAT has not been able to discharge its functions as it ought to, due to lack of resources,” the CSOs noted.

The judiciary, according to the CSOs should do more in eradicating the use of torture in the judicial system and to hold those who perpetrate it accountable and added that the limited role played by the judiciary so far, contributed significantly to the country’s protection of the rights to be free from torture.

Earlier in his speech, the NCAT chairman, Dr Samson Ameh (SAN) commended the willingness of the federal government in ending torture in the country.

This, he noted was evident in the passage of the anti-torture Act in 2017 and the release of a consultative draft of the implementing rules and regulations in June 2018.

Ameh, while lamenting the congestion in the country’s correctional centres, called on the federal government to build more centres.

He said his committee, made up of 19 members had, in accordance to its obligation to the United National Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), received and examined complaints of torture from individuals, CSOs and government officials, visited detention centres and report quarterly to the United Nations subcommittee against torture.

 

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