NHRC calls for urgent action against torture

Mr Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday called for urgent action against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

Ojukwu made the call in a statement in Abuja to commemorate the 2020 International Day in support of Victims of Torture observed every year on June 26.National Human Rights Commission - National Human Rights Commission

” The Law Enforcement Agents and indeed all Nigerians should see themselves as advocates against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments which have remained a sore point in our human rights records.

“ International Day Against Victims of Torture is very significant because it provides the opportunity on yearly bases to reminisce and review our 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 said.

Ojukwu therefore 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.’

He expressed worries over the spate of torture and other related human rights violations which come in various forms including domestic violence, assault, rape among others.

Ojukwu lamented that although Nigeria has ratified several major International Human Rights Treaties, and has also passed the Anti-Torture Act 2017 into law “torture still remains a weapon used by Security Agents for interrogating and intimidating suspects.”

“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.

“The Law Enforcement Agencies and their Officials must abide by the provision of UN Minimum Standard Rules for Treatment of Persons under any form of detention.

“They should mainstream human rights in their operations” he said

According to him, 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.

Ojukwu said that, 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 these, are tantamount to torture to the victims.

” Stakeholders should 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.

He commended the efforts of the Federal government in signing the Anti-Torture Act, Gunshot Victims Act and Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.

He said it will go a long way to check incidences of torture and other related issues in the country.

“All the states yet to pass these regulations are urged to do so without further delay” he stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN ) reports that the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is annually observed on June 26 to remind people that human torture is not only unacceptable and a crime.(NAN )

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