Group decries torture of detainees by police, seeks alternative approach
A group, Access to Justice, has condemned the routine use of torture on detainees by men of the Nigeria Police Force to extract confession from suspects.
Addressing participants yesterday in Abuja at a one-day training for senior police officers on the Anti-Torture Act, its Project Director, Deji Ajare, urged the police to employ alternative approach to investigation.
He lamented that despite the anti-torture legislation passed in 2017, personnel of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had continued to use torture and other ill-treatment to extract information from suspects. According to him, most of the victims of torture were usually young and vulnerable citizens who are unable to obtain justice for themselves.
He said: “It is a common knowledge that there is a pervasive use of torture by law enforcement agencies, particularly by the Nigerian Police Force. Two years ago, the presidency set up a committee to look into alleged cases of torture by SARS, but unfortunately till date, there is no record of public presentation of the reports.
“In 2017, the President signed into law the Anti-Torture Act and with that, we expected that there would be reduction in the case of torture, but instead, there is an increase. Experts have said that most of the times, torture does not bring out the truth. The confessions obtained from tortures are, many times, lies. So, what is the point to damage lives when you make people confess through torture and your evidence is later thrown out in court?”
Ajare urged the government to increase the funding for police and also increase their capacity in terms of training of officers for alternative investigative approach.
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