FG Reiterates Commitment To Ending Torture And Other Forms Of Human Treatment By Public Officers – Jedy-Agba

SGF/PS. Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, OON, mni, giving her Welcome Remarks at Sensitization Workshop For law Enforcement Agencies at Treasure Suite Hotel , Abuja . 29/5/2024
SGF/PS. Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs Beatrice Jedy-Agba, OON, mni, giving her Welcome Remarks at Sensitization Workshop For law Enforcement Agencies at Treasure Suite Hotel , Abuja . 29/5/2024

The Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs Beatrice E. Jeddy-Agba, OON,mni has said that the Federal Government is committed to ending torture and other forms of inhuman treatment of suspects by public officers, particularly personnel of investigative and security agencies.

Jedy-Agba made this known in her speech at the sensitisation/advocacy session for law enforcement agencies, ministries, departments, and agencies as well as relevant stakeholders on the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice, on Wednesday 29th May, 2024 in Abuja.

She explained that the event is designed to highlight the responsibilities conferred on the Federal Government, particularly its law enforcement agencies and other public officials, towards the prevention of torture in the country.

She added that the initiative was part of the government’s policy directive on the improvement of justice delivery in the country.

Jedy-Agba disclosed that FG has commenced the review of the Anti-Torture Act and Regulations to expand the definition of torture and improve mechanisms to discourage and eliminate torture in places of detention. According to her,, “This sensitization event was initiated in fulfillment of the mandate of the Committee and the Federal Ministry of Justice, as part of measures to eradicate the use of torture by public officials, particularly law enforcement.

The session also focuses on strategic interaction between stakeholders to address concerns and challenges associated with implementing anti-torture measures in compliance with international obligations.

“As you are aware, Nigeria is a signatory to various international treaties and conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention against Torture, all of which guarantee human rights of both citizens as well as persons in detention,” she continued.

She noted that the prohibition of torture has since been elevated to the international law standard which is mandatory for all nations to comply with.

“This means that the international community recognizes the prohibition of torture in all ramifications as so fundamental, that it supersedes all international treaties”. She added.

“The Federal Government therefore prioritizes initiatives aimed at preventing torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

“It is in view of its commitment to human rights standards that the government signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT), Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and enacted the Anti-Torture Act to prohibit and punish acts of torture committed by Public Officers.

She explained, “Let me quickly point out that the definition of torture under the relevant legal frameworks pertains to acts committed by public officials, particularly Law enforcement, which inflicts pain or suffering, whether mental or physical on an individual in their custody.

“Furthermore, both the government and stakeholders have the inherent responsibility to support measures aimed at unequivocally rooting out torture in Nigeria, in line with UNCAT and OPCAT.

“I therefore invite all participants to demonstrate commitment and dedication towards eliminating torture by collaborating and cooperating to speak with one voice against the perpetrators of torture and for all who suffer at their hands, at your various institutions.

“However, in our experience, it is not enough to punish perpetrators for committing acts of torture. The government also has the responsibility to ensure restitution and rehabilitation of victims of torture,” Mrs. Jedy-Agba said.

She urged participants to work as champions of the federal government policy against torture, shun the use of torture against citizens, and institute anti-torture measures when they return to their various institutions and organizations.

Earlier, in his goodwill message, Director Monitoring Committee, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Benedict Agu urged participants to be committed around the table and take it back to their respective agencies to ensure that torture in any manner is eradicated in Nigeria.

Participants were drawn from ICPC, NDLEA, EFCC, Nigerian Police Force, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, and Department of State Security (DSS) Nigerian Customs and amongst others.

Modupe Ogundoro
Director (Information)