Amnesty International has challenged the Federal Government to criminalise the use of torture by the Police and military as a tool of investigations. The movement stated that the military had detained, at least, 5,000 persons for terrorism since 2009 when military operations began against Boko Haram, many of whom, it alleged, were tortured or otherwise ill-treated.
The police and the military routinely torture women, men and children – some as young as 12 – using a wide range of methods, including beatings, shootings and rape, Amnesty International said in the 2014 report presented to journalists on Thursday in Abuja.
It also reveals how most of those detained are held incommunicado and denied access to the outside world, including lawyers, families and courts.
Belay said, “Torture is not a criminal offence in Nigeria, despite such acts being constitutionally prohibited. A law criminalising torture is yet to be passed even though two different bills have been pending in the National Assembly for two years.
“In line with their obligations under international human rights law, the Nigerian authorities must take all necessary steps to ensure that no detainee is subject to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by members of the security forces. The government should, therefore, criminalise torture by the Police and the military.”
The AI director challenged the FG to demonstrate total opposition to torture and ill-treatment and publicly condemn such practices whenever they occur.
A victim of torture, Justice Nwanwko, a hotel manager, who was arrested in Onitsha, on July 31, 2013, over the discovery of two human skulls and an AK 47 rifle in a room in the hotel, narrated how he was beaten and hanged “on a rope like a barbecue” by men of the Special Anti-roberry Squad, Akwuzu, Anambra State.