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NGO advocates amendment of Anti-torture Law

A Non-governmental Organization, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, PRAWA has urged the National Assembly to commence the process for the amendment of the Anti torture Act of 2017, to align it with the provisions of the Convention Against Torture especially as it concerns the rehabilitation of Torture Victims.

The Executive Director of PRAWA, Dr Uju Agomoh gave the advise in Abuja at the Public Presentation of its Anti-Torture Resource Materials in Commemoration of the UN day in remembrance of Victims of Torture.

Dr Agomoh explained that the move would also grant the National Committee on Torture the legal backing to adequately and independently discharge its mandate in line with the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

While raising concerns over inadequate investigation and prosecution of security officers who engage in acts of torture, Dr Agomoh appealed to the federal and the state governments to set up a committee to see to the implementation of the recommendations of the #ENDARS panel report relating to torture and mandate the attorneys general to initiate legal proceedings against erring officials.

She further said that the safeguards contained in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019, Police Act 2020 and other legislations, regarding pretrial detention, independent monitoring of places of detention, recording of arrests and database of persons in detention should be urgently operationalized.

The Executive Director also recommended that the National judicial institute take immediately steps to massively train judicial officers on international, regional and national legislation that prohibits torture to give them the requisite knowledge to superintendent over torture-related cases.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, represented by his Special Assistant, Mr Hilary OGBONNA, said the resource materials on torture which PRAWA also translated into Nigeria’s major languages would not only provide the needed enlightenment to citizens but also the capacity to players in the law enforcement, security and justice sectors.

Reporting by Bose Ijelekhai; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino