Human rights advocates have called for strict enforcement of anti-torture laws in Nigeria to increase regard for the life and dignity of human persons.
Speaking separately at a public presentation of torture prevention resources and documentaries in Abuja, they blamed the general low regard for citizens’ dignity for the country’s escalating conflicts.
The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Tajudeen Akanji of the University of Ibadan said, some of the conflicts would be reduced if citizens were treated with greater dignity and values.
Prof. Akanji called for building citizens’ capacity to enable them to have respect for others and be aware of the relevant laws that prohibit torture.
On his part, the Executive Director of the Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfares Action (PRAWA), Dr. Uju Agomoh, urged the government to ensure the implementation of the necessary mechanism for submission of the anti-torture reports as required by the UN charter signed by Nigeria.
The Director of Discipline, Police Service Commission (PSC), Tijani Mohammed, while speaking on the need for the dignity of individuals, reiterated the commission’s readiness to discipline erring police officers, who contravene the provision of the anti-torture Act, 2017.
However, Mohammed asked Nigerians to look beyond the institutions included in the definition of the Act, stating that there are numerous instances of rights abuses in homes and other places.
A Senior Programmes Officer with the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Isaac Amstrong, praised the Nigerian government for passing the Anti-torture Act and advised security agents to use alternative and non-harmful methods of information gathering during the investigation.
He also called on all Nigerians to ensure the despicable act of torture is brought to an end.
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights (NHRC), Anthony Ojukwu (SAN), while emphasising the need to stamp out the menace of torture, said that treating cases of torture should not end with a conviction and monetary compensation but the victim needs to be reformed and rehabilitated.
The event was held in continuation of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
Materials such as the Anti-Torture Act of 2017 in (English, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, pidgin, and other languages), CAT recommendation and conclusion observations, UNCA, OPCAT, and a five-part documentary on CAT recommendation and conclusion observations were presented to the public.