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Nigerian Government signs Anti-Torture Act 2017 into Law

Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN
Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN

Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, has disclosed that the Anti-Torture Act which had been signed into Law by the Nigeria government was an affirmation of her commitment to the prohibition and Prevention of Torture.

Malami said this when the members of the UN Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture led by Dr. Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah paid him a Courtesy visit, in the office today, Tuesday 30th January, 2018.

The Minister, who was represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Dayo Apata ESQ , explained that Anti – torture Act, 2017 made comprehensive provisions for penalizing the Acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and prescribed penalties for the commission of such acts.

The HAGF emphasized that Section 1(a) & (b) of the Act underscores government commitment by providing that it is a matter of state policy to ensure that the rights of all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners are respected at all times, adding that no person placed under investigation or held in Custody of any person in authority should be subjected to physical harm, force, violence, threat, intimidation or act that impairs individual will.

According to him, the Act also ensured full adherence to the principles and standards on the absolute condemnation and prohibition of torture as set by the 1999 constitution and other international instruments to which Nigeria is a party.

He also stressed, that Section 2(1) &(2) of the Anti- Torture Act,2017 unambiguously, defined torture while sections 10 & 12 mandates the Attorney General of the Federation and other law enforcement agencies to oversee the implementation of the Act and draft appropriate guidelines for effective implementation.

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The Minister also, hinted on the enactment of the Compulsory treatment and Care for victims of Gunshot Act, 2017 which provides for the compulsory treatment and care for victims of gunshots and related matters.

Earlier, Dr. Domah noted that making necessary legislation on prevention or penalizing torture is not the problem but implementation of the laws to the letter.

He suggested that for the carnages of torture to be eliminated, countries under the convention should develop National Prevention Mechanism (NPM). He advocated for the criminalization of torture and elimination of the culture of torture at all levels of human existence.

Mr. Bebu. F, Director Citizens right in his reaction, said that Nigeria is concerned about the faith of some individual that may have wittingly or unwittingly suffered torture as it expressly enshrined in the portion of her constitution that, “ nobody should be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment.” He also, sought the collaboration/ support of the United Nations to step up the fight against torture.

The Executive Secretary Designate, National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Anthony Ojukwu who accompanied Gupt Domah in the visit, harps on the intent and the hope of Nigerians that the Anti- Torture law would bring about the expected change in the Criminal Justice System.

Credit: Natty Aguocha – DD (Information) via FMIC

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