US Report Lists States In Nigeria Where Torture Is Legal

A United States report has revealed that 12 states in Nigeria have yet to criminalise the use of torture on suspects to obtain evidence and degrading treatment of arrestees, according to the 2015 law passed by the Federal Government.

The US added that the law also provided the basis for victims of torture to seek civil damages but the 12 states mainly in northern Nigeria have yet to adopt a compliant state legislation.

The United States stated these in its human rights report on Nigeria, obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday.

The 47-page report is titled, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2020 United States Department of State from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

It is otherwise referred to as the Nigeria 2020 Human Rights Report.

The culpable states are: Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Taraba, Jigawa, Borno, Kebbi, Niger, Imo and Ebonyi.

The US report says, “The constitution and law prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. A 2017 law defines and specifically criminalizes torture.  The law prescribes offenses and penalties for any person, including law enforcement officers, who commits torture or aids, abets, or by act or omission is an accessory to torture. 

“It also provides a basis for victims of torture to seek civil damages. A 2015 law prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of arrestees; however, it fails to prescribe penalties for violators.

“Each state must also individually adopt the legislation compliant with the 2015 law for the legislation to apply beyond the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and federal agencies. Two thirds of the country’s states (Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, and Rivers) had adopted compliant legislation.  

“Local nongovernmental organisations and international human rights groups accused the security services of illegal detention, inhuman treatment, and torture of criminal suspects, militants, detainees, and prisoners.

“Police used a technique commonly referred to as ‘parading’ of arrestees, which involved walking arrestees through public spaces and subjecting them to public ridicule and abuse.  Bystanders sometimes taunted and hurled food and other objects at arrestees.”

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