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Group Bemoans Breach Of Rights Against Crime Suspects 

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By Felix Kuyinu

A judicial group, Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria, CRIVIFON, has expressed concern over the manipulation of human rights suffered by crime suspects when facing prosecution.

The group expressed disgruntlement on the torture, inhumane acts by the police on the suspects, urging the Federal Government to address the anomaly and it’s effects in the society.

CRIVIFON noted this during an event tagged ” Voice Against Torture: A Cal For Global Justice and Human Rights” held in Lagos to commemorate the United Nations International Day.

The team, through its Executive Director, Gloria Egbuji, stressed that more than 1,200 incidents of torture were reported in the country in 2023 alone.

Egbuji, represented by the Legal Team Foundation member, Benjamin Okafor, stated that the number represent only a fraction as many victims remain silent due to fear of reprisal.

The group leader, while seeking for proper handling of prosecution on suspects and recommending that the Anti-Torture Act 2017 should be held highly in the act said, “The situation needs to be significantly addressed. It has become necessary because the torture undermines the integrity of the justice system, leading to false confessions and wrongful convictions. It erodes public trust in law enforcement agencies, making it harder to maintain law and order.

“The torture leaves indelible scars, both visible and invisible. Victims suffer from chronic pain, disabilities, and psychological trauma that can last a lifetime. Research shows that torture survivors are at a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. The long-term impact of these conditions extends beyond the individual, affecting families and communities.

She continued, “Studies have also shown that communities are less likely to cooperate with the police if they perceive them as agents of torture and oppression.

On how the government can help in the matter, The CRIVIFON director advised saying, “Government should launch nationwide campaigns to educate the public about the rights of individuals and on the devastating effects of torture, to strictly enforce the Nigeria Anti Torture Act of 2017 and ensure that all cases of torture are promptly investigated and prosecuted, while perpetrators are held accountable.

“We urge the Federal Government to implement comprehensive training programmes to educate law enforcement officers on human rights and the legal consequences of torture.

At the event, Louis Alozie, SAN, said that after a visit to detention centres nationwide, he berated the unacceptable level of torture on case suspects. He said that other agents like the State Security Service, SSS, the Military, Civil Defence and other law enforcement agencies are other violators of the Anti-Torture Act.

Alozie, emphasized that the situation needs to be addressed so as to improve the human rights index and judicial ratings of the country.

He called for proper sensitization of the Anti-Torture Act in the society alongside it’s improvement in criminalizing all forms of torture.

Furthermore, the legal practitioner called on the government to provide adequate medical, psychological, and legal support to victims of torture in aiding their recovery and reintegration into society.