Deborah Musa
The Federal Government on Wednesday disclosed that it is committed to seeing the end of torture in places of detention where persons don’t have the freedom to live at their own will.

The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, stated this at a sensitization and advocacy workshop for law enforcement agencies and other critical stakeholders on the United Nations Convention against torture, in Abuja.

She noted that the sensitization forms part of measures aimed at eradicating the use of torture by public officials as the act in itself is cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Jedy-Agba added that the law on preventing the use of torture will be expanded to include psychiatric hospitals, detention facilities, and others.

She said, “We are currently reviewing the Anti Torture Act and Regulations to expand the definition of torture and improve mechanisms to discourage and eliminate torture in places of detention, such as deprivation of liberty in Nigeria, such as police stations, prisons, and other detention facilities, psychiatric hospitals and any other places where persons are not permitted to leave at their own will.

“Psychiatric hospitals where relatives and family members are being taken care of, no matter what they are going through, they are still human and these institutions are to uphold human treatment at all times”.

Speaking particularly to law enforcement agents, she said “Torture is prohibited, unlawful and an offence. Security agents are not allowed to get information from a suspect using torture.”
Jedy-Agba noted that information extracted from a suspect through torture is not admissible by law.

She explained that the definition of torture under the relevant legal frameworks pertains to acts committed by public officials, particularly law enforcement, which inflicts pain or suffering, whether mental or physical on individuals placed under their custody.

She stated that it is not enough to punish perpetrators for committing acts of torture as the government on its part, has a responsibility to ensure restitution and rehabilitation of victims of torture.

Jedy-Agba urged participants to work as champions of the federal government’s policy against torture, avoid the use of torture against citizens and adopt anti-torture measures when they return to their various institutions and organisations.

“As you are aware, Nigeria is a signatory to various international treaties and conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention against Torture, all of which guarantee human rights of both citizens as well as persons in detention.

“You may also wish to note that the prohibition of torture has since been elevated to the international law standard. This means that the international community recognizes the prohibition of torture in all ramifications as so fundamental, that it supersedes all international treaties. The federal government therefore prioritizes initiatives aimed at preventing torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

“It is in view of its commitment to human rights standards that the government signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT), Optional Protocol to the Conventio



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