By Ibironke Ariyo, Abuja.
Dr Uju Agomoh, Executive Director, Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), has called for collaborative action to end all forms of torture in Nigeria.
This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by PRAWA’s Deputy Director, Mr Ogechi Ogu, on Thursday.
Agomoh who is also a member of the United Nations Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture, made the call during a national workshop on Torture Prevention and Rehabilitation, in Abuja.
She said: “To prevent torture, education, training and retraining of personnel, counselling of victims, among others, needed to be put in place.
“We will not rest on oars until we have a society free of torture and other forms of ill treatment.”
The PRAWA executive director called on relevant stakeholders to support the National Committee against Torture to build a nation free of torture.
She underscored the need to support the committee to work with government and other key stakeholders to discharge its mandate effectively.
According to her, the government is trying its best but needed to do more to end torture and ensure rehabilitation of victims.
Also, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Husseini Yusuf, said that prohibition of torture and other forms of ill treatment was an absolute right of citizens.
He stressed that the Constitution did not provide exception nor allow for derogation of anyone under any guise.
According to him, the prohibition of torture applies in all situation, irrespective of the conduct of the victim or the nature of the offence.
The chief judge said that government must provide and ensure holistic rehabilitation services for torture victims.
Yusuf said: “The state must also implement a zero-tolerance policy on all forms of torture and ill-treatment.
“There can be no justification for torture or any form of ill-treatment under our democratic setting.
“FCT High Court is always ready to make sure things are done in accordance with all the enabling laws, and will always support PRAWA and other stakeholders in this regard,” he said.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu said that torture was not acceptable anywhere in the world no matter the circumstances.
Ojukwu said that the efforts by the commission, especially after the #EndSARS protest, helped in the rehabilitation of tortured victims.
“But more still needed to be done to ensure total eradication,” he added.
The participants recommended periodic visits to victims by psychiatric doctors and physiotherapists, as well as restorative justice for torture victims.
They also recommended psychological examination of the perpetrators, as part of the rehabilitation process.