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Publicly condemn the use of torture and ill-treatment by police
officers and other law enforcement agencies, including through a public
information campaign to increase awareness that torture is forbidden under
Nigerian and international law.
Investigate promptly and independently all allegations of torture
and ill-treatment by police officers or other law enforcement agencies.
Identify the individuals responsible for ordering and carrying out the torture
and immediately suspend them from active duty, pending criminal prosecution.
Ensure strict safeguards against arbitrary arrest are
incorporated into the laws of criminal procedure, the Police Act and codes of
conduct for law enforcement agencies. In particular, suspects should be
informed at the time of arrest of the reason for their arrest, promptly
informed of the charges against them and due process adhered to at all times.
Ensure that persons taken into custody are charged and brought
before a court of competent jurisdiction within twenty-four hours. Where there
is no court within a forty kilometer radius this should be within a reasonable
time, ideally forty-eight hours, as provided for in the Nigerian constitution.
Immediately release or charge with a recognizable criminal offense all those
currently held in police or prison custody without charge.
Legal representation should be mandatory for all persons charged
with capital offenses, who should be brought before a court of competent
jurisdiction without due delay and in any case within two months of arrest, as
provided for in the Nigerian constitution.
Ensure police officers inform suspects of their right to legal
representation at the time of arrest, including through the distribution of
posters and pamphlets explaining their rights, which should be put up in all
police stations country-wide.
Increase the resources to the Legal Aid Council to provide free
legal assistance to indigent persons.
Ensure that all suspects in police custody are given adequate
food and water and granted access to medical treatment where required.
Ensure that legally required autopsies are carried out for every
person who dies while in custody of any agency of the state, and make autopsy
reports publicly available. Strengthen coroners laws to ensure stricter
penalties for failure of the police to comply with requirements for inquests
and improve witness protection for those giving information to initiate or
assist an inquest to death in custody.
Introduce a compulsory regular reporting mechanism from
divisional police stations to the force headquarters, on complaints lodged
about abuses, including torture, killings or extortion. This should include
details of how they are being followed up and the status of investigation. The
information should be made public.
Increase the resources and staffing of internal oversight bodies
such as Police Complaints Bureau and the Human Rights Units to investigate
allegations of police abuse. Publicize the existence of these bodies.
Amend the Police Service Commission Act to grant the Police
Service Commission the powers to conduct independent investigation into police
misconduct of a criminal nature, including serious human rights abuses, and
make referrals to the prosecutor. Provide extra resources, including equipment,
personnel and training to the commissions investigation department.
Thoroughly review the police training curriculum to include
comprehensive training on human rights issues including legal and appropriate
interrogation techniques. Provide comprehensive training for police officers on
the conduct of investigations. All training must be consistent with
international human rights standards, such as the United
Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and other international
human rights standards.
Compensate victims of torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary
detention adequately and speedily.
Take steps to end widespread extortion of detainees by police
officials. Thoroughly investigate all allegations of extortion by such
personnel and take appropriate disciplinary action against all those found
Sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the United Nations
Convention Against Torture, allowing visits to Nigeria by the Subcommittee on
Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment of the Committee against Torture.
Ensure that all defendants are informed of and understand their
right to legal representation. Trials should be adjourned to offer time to find
Limit the use of confessions as a basis for pre-trial detention
or conviction. Do not accept as evidence confessions which appear to be
extracted under torture. If a defendant alleges during the course of judicial
proceedings that he or she has been compelled to make a statement or to confess
guilt, judges should order a prompt and impartial investigation into the
Ensure that all defendants are brought to trial within a
reasonable time. The authorities should show special diligence in bringing the
case to trial if the accused is in pre-trial detention.
Put human rights and the rule of law at the heart of diplomatic
relations. Publicly condemn the practice of torture and ill-treatment by the
Nigerian Police Force and urge the Nigerian authorities to take immediate steps
to investigate and prosecute members of the police force and other law
enforcement agencies responsible for human rights violations.
Governments providing assistance or training to the Nigerian
Police Force should ensure that human rights training is incorporated at all
levels and that mechanisms are put in place to monitor whether police officers
adhere to them in practice.
Fund local NGOs to improve the monitoring and documenting of
police abuses and to undertake advocacy at a national level.
Condition further financial assistance, equipment, training or
other aid to the police or other law enforcement agencies such as the EFCC or
NDLEA on concrete measures to prevent and end impunity for torture. This should
include the investigation of reported torture cases, the suspension of officers
alleged to have committed torture, and prosecution of those against whom there
is substantial evidence.
The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human
Rights on the question of torture and the African Commission focal point on
Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in
Africa should request permission to visit Nigeria and prepare a report on
torture and ill-treatment for their mandating bodies, with recommendations to
the government of Nigeria.