The Nigeria Government has reaffirmed its commitment against torture as it called all stakeholders to join voices against the perpetrators.
This was made known by the Solicitor General of the Federation/ Permanent Secretary (SGF/ PS) Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba OON, mni who doubles as Chairman, National Committee Against Torture (NCAT), at the 2023 Commemoration of the International Day Against Victims of Torture, which is being organized by the National Committee Against Torture (NCAT), with the support of the Federal Ministry of Justice and other Stakeholders on June 26, 2023 in Abuja
The SGF, represented by the Director Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Abubakar Babadoko, Esq. in her welcome address said, “I wish to start by acknowledging the tireless efforts of Members of the National Committee Against Torture, particularly the Co-Chairperson, who have indeed made necessary sacrifices to not only ensure that Nigeria is in compliance with its international obligations under the United Nation Convention Against Torture and other Forms of Inhuman Degrading treatment, but also taken initiatives to address the incidence of torture in our detention centers.”
She said, “On 12, December 1997, by resolution 52/148. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 26th June the United Nations International Day in support of Victims of Torture. Therefore the 26th June in every year is an occasion to highlight the unambiguous and absolute prohibition on torture and all forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.
Mrs Jedy – Agba pointed that, it was in fulfilment of its international obligations against torture that the FG in 2009 established the National Committee Against Torture as Nigeria’s National Preventive Mechanism inline with the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, also that NCAT was re-constituted in September 2022, drawing membership from Law Enforcement Agencies, Civil Society Organization, Academia and other Stakeholders, with a view to making the committee more effective.
The Permanent Secretary said June 26 is an opportunity day to express solidarity with the suffering of torture victims and their families and to reaffirm the need for a global commitment to rehabilitate all victims of such abuse, not only this, it also a special day to mark the twentieth anniversary of the entry into force of the convention against torture.
As a Government Body , it is necessary to join hands against torture and adhere unequivocally to the notion that torture is unacceptable.
“We must never forget its victims. All stakeholders both in the public and private sectors must speak with one voice against the perpetrators of torture and for all who suffered at their hands in order to build a better, more humane society for all people everywhere.” She emphasized.
She appreciated the CSOs for their collaborative efforts by providing necessary support on measures to address torture in Nigeria. “Our engagements so far have already begun to yield results as for the first time since signing the UNCAT, Nigeria has been able to complete a cycle of its country reporting obligations under UNCAT” She noted.
In her goodwill address, the Founder of PRAWA , Member UN-Sub Committee on Prevention of Torture, Dr Uju Agomoh commended NCAT for the impact Nigeria had made both internal and internationally to put an end to torture.
According to her, Torture could be physical, logically or emotionally, whichever way she was of the opinion that step should be taken to eradicate it.
Dr Uju said June 26 is a day to bring to people‘s notice that Torture has been abolished, a day to commemorate with those who have died, disabled and people with emotional travailed.
She was of the opinion that the perpetrators should publicly apologize to the victims and also that the FG should provide adequate funds to show the level of commitment to torture eradication in Nigeria.
The representative of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Assistant Controller General of Prison, Nwakeze Emmanuel explained that the change in nomenclature from Nigerian prison to Nigerian correctional Centre connotes to fight against torture.
He pointed out that no human being should be tortured when apprehended and since it has stopped it show that there are changes in the Correctional Centers.
The Country Representative, Avocats Sans Frontieres France (Lawyer without borders), Angela Uwandu Uzoma in her goodwill message, pointed that perpetrators of torture must be held accountable and face the law.
She said that about one thousand and two (1002) victims of torture that deserve access to justice, as a result of torture, some victims have passed away, some became permanently disabled while some are affected psychologically.
She pointed that international law said that all countries should condemn any act of torture and that it should not be permitted at all.
She explained that they had been working since 2009 for the enactment of the law and the Act was finally enacted in 2017. It has not been signed into law approximately 5 years since the enactment of the law. However, she called on FG to issue regulation / policy document against Torture.
Representative of the Legal Aid Council Ogah Ogbenyi, in his goodwill message, said that life is the most important thing, and life without torture will be better and the Committee should ensure that all victims of torture get access to justice.
In his vote of thanks, the Director Monitoring Department, National Human Right Commission Mr. Benedict Agu commended everyone that participated at the event, urged them to continue advocating against Torture in Nigeria.
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Written by Omooba Alekuwodo (omoobaalekuwodo)
Published 6/27/2023 5:12:52 PM