The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has urged the Nigerian government to ensure the effective implementation of the Anti-Torture Act.
Chino Obiagwu, the National Coordinator, requested the global community commemorate the day of solidarity with victims of torture.
The United Nations (UN) describes torture, a crime under international law, as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on others.
On December 12, 1997, by resolution 52/149, the UN General Assembly proclaimed June 26 the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
The date is used to re-echo calls for the eradication of torture and the functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
LEDAP, in a statement, expressed concern that torture by security agencies is still on the increase despite being one of the major reasons that sparked the End SARS protest in October 2020.
Obiagwu said it is very disheartening that “the disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) is still operating even while the State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS is still ongoing.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that on March 6, 2021, 15-year-old Kenneth was arrested, tortured, and detained by SARS officers at Ikeja on allegations of cultism and armed robbery.
Obiagwu regretted that Kenneth was detained for almost two months without being arraigned before a court.
“He was coerced to falsify his age on his statement so that he would be accepted in Kirikiri Correctional Center. He was traumatized by the experience, especially witnessing the death of some persons in his cell,” he said.
LEDAP declared that the use of torture by security agencies is against the principles of international human rights law and domestic laws.
“Security agencies, especially police officers and SARS, continue to use torture and ill-treatment in obtaining statements from accused persons. It is appalling that no security officer has been prosecuted,” he added.
The organization charged the Nigerian government to enforce the resolutions of states’ judicial panels.
Obiagwu demanded that perpetrators of torture and related offenses be prosecuted and penalized appropriately.