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Committee warns against use of torture to extract confession

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Chairman, National Committee Against Torture, Dr. Sanni Ameh (SAN) yesterday said the use of torture by men of the Nigeria Police Force to extract confession from suspects remained a criminal offence.

Ameh spoke at a capacity building workshop organised by a non-governmental organisation, Access to Justice, for police officers on the Anti-Torture Act and other legislation prohibiting torture in Abuja.

He said it was worrisome that many law enforcement agents were still unaware of the provisions the Nigerian government had made against torture in the country. “Though the Nigeria Police Force has made tremendous progress in eradicating torture, there are still gaps that need to be addressed.

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“Torture is unacceptable in every way and the Nigerian government is strongly against its use. Any act of torture, which involves inflicting severe pain or suffering on a person to obtain information, confession, or to punish him, is a criminal offence in the Nigerian legislation. Perpetrators of torture are also liable to imprisonment of up to 25 years,” he said.

Ameh told the forum that the government, in demonstrating its commitment to eradicating torture, had passed the Anti-Torture Act in 2017, which is an adaptation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

According to him, the government has also developed other legislations on torture in Nigeria, and chapter four of the 1999 Constitution condemns and prescribes punishment for use of torture in the country.

The committee chairman advised law enforcement agents to use modern technology in the course of investigation of crime suspects and co-create alternatives to torture in criminal investigation and trial.

Earlier, Project Director, Access to Justice, Deji Ajare, urged the participants to take advantage of the workshop to broaden their knowledge on the subject and provisions against torture in Nigeria.

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