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Thursday, July 01, 2021

Day of Torture: Despite laws, cases of human rights abuse worsening in Nigeria say PRAWA - ITREALMS

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Despite enacting laws and ratifying international and regional laws, cases of gross human rights abuses in form of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment perpetrated against individuals in the society by security agents is worsening in Nigeria, leading human rights organisations have said.
PRAWA, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Forum on Detention and Corrections in Nigeria in a statement issued on the occasion of the 2021 celebration of UN Day in Support of Torture Victims, decried that the incessant use torture and ill-treatment worsens everyday and remain widespread.
The statement made available on Wednesday by the Deputy Director of PRAWA, Ms.Ogechi Ogu, noted that beyond ratifying international treaties on torture and in addition to existing local laws such as the Anti-Torture Act 2017, Nigeria is losing previous milestones seemingly achieved in the fight against the cases of human rights abuses.

“In spite of existing laws, incessant use of torture remains common place in Nigeria. There remains very weak or near absence of Accountability mechanisms. The situation on torture and ill-treatment worsens everyday and remain widespread, in particular in places of detention.

“More worrisome is the fact that there is no clear data on the number of persons in detention and lack of access to these detention facilities remain a serious challenge.

“The picture today maybe worse than what it was when Amnesty International reported that ‘‘torture is a routine occurrence in Nigeria, largely used to extract confessions or as punishment for alleged crimes”, the statement read.

They noted that the response of law enforcement agents to the COVID 19 Pandemic lockdown, the security sectors’ response to the #ENDSARS Campaign and general policing in the face of deteriorating security situation in the country, including responses to activities of armed bandits, kidnappers, ‘Unknown Gunmen’, separatist agitators, have exposed in glaring terms the consistent and incessant resort to torture by law enforcement agents in the course of performance of their duties.

Though the law clearly provides for the liability and punishment of perpetrators, the CSOs noted that the general public are yet to see cases of torture successfully prosecuted in the country.

“Perpetrators still get away with their crime, a situation which further emboldens others to engage in torture” the statement read.

They further regret that perpetrators are not brought to book, and the victims/survivors of torture do not get the needed treatment.

“Trture victims/survivors are left with trauma, psychological, mental and physical scars. Regrettably, an important intervention necessary for the restoration of the victims/survivors of torture to normal life missing in the Nigerian legislation is the right of victims to rehabilitation.”

They reiterated that the use of torture is avery serious abuse of human rights and no circumstance whatsoever can justify the act.

“This opportunity of 2021 celebration of UN Day in Support of Torture Victims should be utilized for sober reflection on the progress Nigeria has made in the fight against torture.”

The CSOs therefore called on the government to live up to its responsibility by ensuring that the needful is done to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the laws on torture focusing on prevention, protection, accountability and access to justice for torture victims and provision of requisite rehabilitation services to victims/ survivors of torture.

“We hereby make eternal call to action on every Nigerian to pay attention and kick against all acts of torture. Nigerians should form part of interventions targeted at prevention of torture and protection and rehabilitation of torture victims/survivors.”

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