The Federal Government has slated human rights group Amnesty International, describing its recent report which rated Nigeria very high among countries that have made torture a common investigative technique as falsehood.
Amnesty International had in the report, alleged that security agencies in the country usually torture and inflict injuries on suspects within their custody.
Debunking the report while speaking to journalists in Abuja, Chairman of the National Committee Against Torture, Dr. Samson Ameh, SAN, said that it had became necessary to “disabuse the minds of Nigerians and the international community on the wrong information being peddled by Amnesty International about Nigeria. The report was deliberately negative.”
Ameh maintained that Nigeria was a signatory to the United Nations’ Convention against torture, adding that the Federal Government had equally ratified the optional protocol of the UN Convention against torture.
“The protocol enjoins countries that have ratified the convention to establish national torture prevention mechanism. Soon after the ratification, Nigeria constituted the National Committee Against Torture as its national torture prevention mechanism. Nigeria has been consistently taking steps to make sure that torture is eliminated in this country. This was why the National Committee Against Torture which was inaugurated on September 28, 2009, by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, with a membership that cuts across all sectors of the society.”
Besides, he noted that the committee’s terms of reference included to, “Receive and consider communications on torture from individuals, civil society organizations and government institutions as well as visit to all places of detention in Nigeria and promptly, impartially examine any allegation of torture therein.”
Ameh said his committee had visited several prisons and detention centres across the country, saying they had also made recommendations to the federal government on the need to quickly arrest the dilapidated condition of prisons in Nigeria. He said there was need for government to build more prisons as a way of addressing the problem of prison congestion. “More courts should be built and judges appointed to fast track justice delivery in the country”, he added.