FG working to end torture in Nigeria, says Solicitor-General
The Nigerian government has taken strategic measures aimed at unequivocally rooting out torture in the country, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, has said.
Jedy-Agba who is also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, said this on Monday in Abuja at a three-day training on Medico-Legal documentation and rehabilitation of torture victims, organised for medical and legal practitioners.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports her as saying that the ministry was working closely with law enforcement agencies, Civil Society Organisations and International Organisations to achieve the target.
She said Nigeria would not only fulfil its international obligations, but also review anti-torture legislation and institutionalise anti-torture measures in law enforcement and detention facilities.
The Solicitor-General said that the ministry, as lead anti-torture agency, would work closely with stakeholders and development partners to end torture in the country.
“We recognise that the government also has the responsibility to ensure restitution and rehabilitation of victims of torture, this is one area which the government is committed to review, particularly, in relation to the provisions contained in our anti-torture local framework,” she said.
Jedy-Agba said that the basic principle for treatment of prisoners, required all prisoners to be treated with the respect due and dignity, as well as valued as human beings.
She added that these principles have been codified in the Nigerian Constitution, which prohibits cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of persons.
The Solicitor-General revealed that Nigeria was signatory to various international treaties and conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Others she said included the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention against Torture, all of which guaranteed human rights of citizens, including those in detention.
“To this end, the Federal Government has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT), Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and enacted the Anti-Torture Act to prohibit and punish acts of torture committed by Public Officers.
“In addition to these legal frameworks, the Federal Government established the National Committee Against Torture (CATNigeria) as well as the National Preventive Mechanism in compliance with the provisions of OPCAT.
“I wish to state that both the government as well as stakeholders have the inherent responsibility to support measures aimed at unequivocally rooting out torture in the Nigerian society, ” she said.
Jedy-Agba therefore called on stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors, to speak with one voice against the perpetrators of torture, and those who suffered in their hands.
This she said was necessary to build a better and more humane society for all.
According to her, consistent and deliberate efforts at capacity building and harnessing of modern tools such as ICT would help to apprehend perpetrators and address incidences of torture in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the training was organised by Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Actions, UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, Independent Forensic Expert Group, and International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.