TORTURE: Amnesty International slams police, military, says they are lawless

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The Nigeria Police and the military have come under another scathing criticism from Amnesty International, AI, over their continuous use of torture despite law forbidding the practice.

The group also lamented that no policeman had been punished or prosecuted for infraction on the law, adding that an amendment must be made to the law that permits law enforcement officers to shoot at fleeing criminals, leading to extrajudicial killings.

In a statement on Tuesday to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Amnesty International, through its Director, Osai Ojigho, said the Nigerian government must do more to end torture.

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Insisting that the judiciary had also failed to address the challenge, the group said: “Despite recent government measures aimed at reducing the incidence of torture in the country, Amnesty International Nigeria continues to receive regular reports of torture and other ill-treatment in military and police custody. Moreover, victims are still being denied justice, with the Nigerian judicial system failing to prevent or punish torture, perpetuating a culture of impunity.

“Although steps have been taken to address torture in Nigeria, including the enactment of the Anti-Torture Act in December 2017 and the setting up of the presidential panel on reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the use of torture by the police and others is still widespread.

“Our research also shows that despite an existing law against the use of torture, no police officer has been charged under the act. Moreover, the Nigerian police has yet to amend Force Order 237 which allows police officers to shoot at fleeing suspects, giving room for lethal use of force that sometimes leads to extrajudicial killings.”

The group also called on the Nigerian government to declare in strong terms that security personnel will be held accountable for torture and that victims of torture will get justice, including rehabilitation and compensation.

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Timothy Enietan-Matthews

Timothy is a versatile journalist, down to earth with a critical and curious mind.

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