Chairman of the National Committee Against Torture, Dr Samson Sani Ameh, faulted the reports of the Amnesty International, which indicted the police and the Nigerian Army of using torture as a means of extracting statement from suspects.
Reacting to the report, Ameh told the mediain Abuja that the report was a “calculated intention to misinform Nigerians,” adding that the police had taken an unequivocal stand against the use of torture by its officers.
The National Committee Against Torture’s chairman, who maintained that the Amnesty International report, which he noted was intentionally negative and false, added that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to avoid the use of torture of any kind to extract information.
“Right from training, the are being taught on how to use modern technological equipment in detection of crime, so that they do not need to resort to old, crude method.
“The significant aspect of the police syllabus is that it contains a section on Human Rights, so that right from the training, the police officers are taught on the need to observe the human rights of citizens.
“In the course of our visit to police stations, we were very pleased to see that there was an anti-torture unit in each station, where anybody, either police or non-police can report any act of torture or other cruel, degrading treatment or punishment meted to them.
“Indeed, the Nigeria Police should be commended for establishing the anti-torture deskNigeria Police, rather than being condemned as had been done by Amnesty International in their report entitled: “Welcome to hell fire: Torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria.” To show how mischievous their report is, they renamed the anti-torture desk in police stations as ‘Torture Desk’, in order to paint Nigeria black in the eyes of the world,” Ameh stated.
He said his committee had the mandate to receive and consider communications on torture from individuals, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and government institutions, pointing out that the Amnesty International had never sent any petition to the committee that was not attended to.
According to the SAN, the committee had treated several complaints of torture and wondered why Justice Chinwe, who alleged that he was tortured by the police in Onitsha chose to go to Amnesty International instead of the committee set up principally to attend to such issues.
He, however, said the committee would step into the matter, with a view to investigating the allegation levelled against the police and give its recommendation accordingly, saying further that the committee, which was set up in 2009, had sent its quarterly report to the United Nations’ Convention sub-committee for prevention of torture and had gotten commendations from them.
Ameh added that the committee would not be distracted by the Amnesty International’s campaign of calumny from doing what was right and in meeting with the obligations under International Law, while noting that the Federal Government was already establishing mores courts, adding that 25 justices were recently appointed to the Court of Appeal bench, in a bid to make justice delivery faster.