ABUJA (Min of Justice Report) – The Federal Government has declared that torture is a violation of human rights and it is a criminal offence in Nigeria, with the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act 2017.
The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, Esq, made the declaration during the commemoration of the 2019 United Nation’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, on Wednesday 26th June, 2019, in Abuja.
He said that the declaration of United Nations Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, does not merely remain as such without any coercive power. He added that the lofty idea is implemented by Nation States or State Parties, the United Nations went a step further by the adoption of the optional protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture.
The SGF who was represented by the Director, Legal Drafting, Ahmed Hamza Tahir, disclosed that the convention is an important step in the process of globalizing human rights and acknowledging the torture, inhuman and degrading treatment because it is not permitted even in times of war.
According to him, ‘’The Anti-Torture Act 2017 specifically assigns certain responsibilities to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; he explained that the right to freedom from torture is non-negotiable. The application of torture to extract confession from suspects or as a way of punishment amounts to a by-pass of the judicial process by not subjecting the suspect to the time-honoured practice of trial of suspect in the regular courts.
Representative of a Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO), Initiative for Citizen Rights, Accountability and Development, Mr Dauda Ajadosu, in his remark, commended the Federal Ministry of Justice for recognising the Act against torture as contained in Nigerian Constitution and International Standard.
He advised the Ministry not to stop at the federal level but to carry along the State Ministries of Justice and the Local Government Security agencies where the evil act of Torturing is being perpetrated.
Director, Citizens Rights Department and Secretary to the National Committee against Torture, Mr Faanee Bebu, in his vote of thanks, appreciated God for the successful procession to sensitize the public against torture.
He thanked the SGF for his support in hosting the programme while urging the people to always report any act of inhuman treatment or torture to the National Committee on Torture for necessary action.
Fed. Min. of Justice