Makurdi — The Executive Director of Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE-Nigeria), Sylvester Uhaa, has said that reports of use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment against civilians by law enforcements agents in the country has become the most damaging report about Nigeria.
Uhaa made the remark yesterday during a one-day training of law enforcement officers in Benue State on the Anti-Torture Act 2017 organised by CURE-Nigeria, National Human Rights Commission and Bonum Seeds Foundation held in Makurdi.
He said that such reports present Nigeria as a nation whose law enforcement agencies do not respect other people and violates human rights, especially the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which Nigeria signed and ratified in 1988 and 2001.
Uhaa however considered the signing into law of the Anti-Torture bill by President Muhammadu Buhari in December, last year as a historical day in the country as the development signalled the criminalisation of acts of torture, cruel or degrading treatment or punishment.
"Under no condition can the use of torture and slavery or servitude be ever justified. The human person is too sacred and too dignified to be subjected to torture and servitude under any condition and circumstance," he said.
In his remarks, the State Coordinator of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Joshua Tyoyer said the training seminar was in line with the mandate of his commission in promoting an understanding and public enlightenment on human rights issues, which also include torture.
Tyoyer noted that every person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity as he insisted that Article 5 of the Universal Declaration on Human Roghts 1948 provides that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Adam Onum, posited that the training was long overdue.
Represented by the Honourable Justice Aondoaver Kaka'an, the Chief Judge said torture had been prohibited long ago by the Nigerian grand norms (the Constitution) particularly, in Section 36 and the Evidence Act, which prevent the receipt of any evidence that is obtained as a result of torture.