PRAWA urges FG to strengthen implementation of laws on torture

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The federal government has been called upon to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the laws on torture focusing on prevention, protection, accountability and access to justice and provision of requisite rehabilitation services to victims/survivor.

The call was contained in a statement signed Tuesday in Abuja by the Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) in collaboration with 16 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Forum on Detention and Corrections in Nigeria in commemoration of the the United Nations (FDCNUN) Day in support of torture victims in Nigeria.

The statement said the CSO forum posited that the use of torture is reprehensible and a very serious abuse of human rights which should be condemned by all, noting that various international, regional and national legal instruments absolutely prohibit torture.

The statement also stated that no circumstance whatsoever should justify the use of torture, adding that the absolute prohibition of torture is reinforced by the fact that it is an abuse of rights which gets to the root of the right of individuals to dignity and respect as captured in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Beyond ratifying international and regional treaties on torture, National Assembly of Nigeria took bold steps to enact the Anti-Torture Act 2017. The Anti-Torture Act defines and prohibits torture; clearly enlists actions that can amount to torture and persons that can perpetrate torture and in what circumstance.

“To ensure that the field is covered, Section 13 of the Anti-Torture Act provides that ‘All laws, rules and regulations that are contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this act are repealed or modified accordingly.’

Notably, Section 34 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) also prohibits torture,” the statement noted.

“Regrettably, in spite of the robust legal framework, incessant use of torture in Nigeria remains the order of the day, raising genuine concerns regarding the willingness and capacity of responsible government institutions and agencies to effectively and efficiently implement the several laws prohibiting torture and bring perpetrators to book. This is so as accountability for perpetrators of torture remains a mirage.”

“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,” the statement added.