Solicitor- General says FG fully equipped to fight torture

Mr Dayo Apata, (SAN) Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice has said that the Federal Government is fully equipped to end torture in all its ramifications in Nigeria.

Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata SAN. [Vanguard]

Apata made this known on Thursday in Abuja while addressing a news conference to commemorate the 2021 United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

According to the solicitor-general, the event is celebrated on June 26 every year but for technical and safety reasons, we are celebrating today to remind everyone that torture universally, is a crime against humanity.

The permanent secretary said that the Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney-General and other relevant agencies were fully equipped to bring to an end, all forms of torture in Nigeria.

“This will be done through the effective implementation of the National Policy against Torture and other forms of Inhuman and Degrading Treatment in Nigeria.

“It is also pertinent to note that the federal government is carrying the requisite campaign to all other security agencies for effective eradication of all forms of torture and inhuman treatment in Nigeria.”

He said that an example of the country’s readiness to fight torture was the passage of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017 by the 8th National Assembly which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“This stands out as an outstanding legislation with the sole objective being for the prohibition and punishment of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in Nigeria.

“Also Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution on its part, provides that every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.

“The Anti-Torture Act 2017 has filled the existing vacuums that hitherto existed, by explicitly making the right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment a non-derogable right, thereby criminalising torture and protecting victims and witnesses of torture.”

He reiterated that all accused persons must be treated fairly and with dignity during trial and even after conviction.

The permanent secretary added that security agencies must respect the fundamental rights of suspects and convicts, even those on death row.

Also speaking, the Chairman, National Committee against Torture, Mr Samson Ameh, SAN, implored Nigerians to explore the machinery put in place by the government to get redress in cases of torture.

“We appeal to the public not to quickly run to the press or to Amnesty International to report cases of torture because we have the machinery to investigate and punish those culpable.

“Nigerians should use the avenues put in place by government such as the National Committee against Torture and report incidences of torture so that such cases can be investigated and the culprits punished.

“For example in the police, we have a desk called the anti-torture desk and we also have one in the correctional centres so that anyone tortured by the police or wardens can report and investigation carried out immediately.”

He appealed to the Legal Aid Council, security agencies, non-governmental organisations and other relevant stakeholders to collaborate with the committee in the fight against torture in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the event was also marked with a solidarity walk with people carrying placards with inscriptions like ”torture is inhuman”, "torture is a crime against humanity”, and “rehabilitate torture victims”.

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