By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Following its resolve to reduce the prevalence of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment in Nigeria, Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France) in partnership with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has again completed an awareness and capacity building session for 37 professionals from various institutions in the criminal justice sector in Kaduna State to champion the campaign against torture by security agencies in the state.
At the end of the training, participants pledged to immediately begin to apply the knowledge they have acquired from the training in their various professions as part of their contribution towards ensuring that torture is checked in their state.
According to ASF, in a statement signed by her Head of Office in Nigeria, Angela Uwandu, the participants also emphasised on the need for intelligent gathering and proper investigation by security agencies rather than the use of torture to elicit confessional statements from suspects.
They also called for synergy among security agencies on intelligent gathering for effective investigation.
“The training which came to a close on Thursday September 7, 2017 commenced on Tuesday August 29, with participants drawn from the judiciary, the Nigerian Medical Association, the Ministry of justice, the Nigerian Bar Association, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria on one hand, and the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Prisons Service, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, the Media, Civil Society Organisations and the NHRC in Kaduna State on the other hand.
“At the opening of this year’s training, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Agyole Abel described the act of using force during investigation to obtain information from suspects as unjust and will not be tolerated in the state, noting that his command is working tirelessly and his officers are continuously being educated to ensure cases of torture are brought to the barest minimum under his watch.
“The commissioner who spoke through his representative, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Abdulazeez Sanni, noted that “the UN basic principles on the use of force and firearms states that use of force by law enforcement officials must be prescribed by law, necessary and proportionate”. The added.
On her part, Angela, insisted that torture is expressly prohibited by law and there are no exceptional circumstances where torture may be used by security agencies.
The ProCAT project is a human rights project implemented by ASF France in Nigeria in partnership with the NHRC to promote knowledge of the principles of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) and to enhance access to justice for victims of torture in Nigeria. The project is currently being funded by the United Nations voluntary Funds for Victims of Torture, the Embassy of the Republic of Germany, the Netherlands Embassy and the French Embassy in Nigeria.