Sterling Centre for Law and Development (SCLD) has stressed the need for the Nigeria Police to step up its internal monitoring activities to reduce and eliminate torture of suspects for confessions or punishment for detainees.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during a rally to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, its Coordinator, Deji Ajari, said the police should be more open to external monitoring by opening up its facilities to local and international groups who should be allowed to interact with detainees to ascertain if they were being subjected to torture.
According to Ajari, the police, as law enforcement agents in the country and having more contact with members of the public, was saddled with the responsibility of securing lives and property, as well as investigate and resolve crimes.
It also maintains peace in the society, but ironically it is the agency with the most cases of torture reported against it .
“The law criminalises the use of torture and sets in place mechanisms for the prevention, detection and prosecution of cases of torture against Nigerians.
“Implementation of the act will drastically reduce the use of torture in the country. We also commend the police for the steps so far taken to end the use of torture in the country.
“These steps have started to yield results, but more should be done to accelerate the positive returns of the reforms,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) yesterday called on nations to seek ways of reducing torture and improve victims’ access to seek redress.
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said torture was unacceptable and unjustified at all times, urging governments and countries to expedite action to eradicate the practice.
He said observing the day on June 26 every year was instituted to acknowledge and honour survivors of torture globally, including those tortured for their political or other views, those caught in the fight against terrorism or those tortured because of their differences.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) also charged security operatives to obey the rule of law and adopt international best practices in the discharge of their duties.
Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Chairman, Board of Amnesty International, Nigeria, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, said despite the country’s laws protecting detained people from torture and mistreatment, severe pains were being inflicted on suspects to force confessions from them.
In a statement, National Coordinator, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), Chino Obiagwu, urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Committee Against Torture (NCAT) and CSOs to document incidents of torture and demand prosecution of offenders in line with the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act.
Culled from The Guardian Website.