Stakeholders at the just concluded roundtable on human rights in Abuja have called for strict implementation of disciplinary measures against security officers found guilty of torture, including demotion in rank, to serve as a deterrent to other officers.
They also stressed the need for increased collaboration between Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and security agencies as well as need for an effective follow up on judgment passed in favour of torture victims to ensure and enforce 100 per cent compliance of judgment.
The meeting convened by Avocats San Frontieres France in Nigeria was part of its activities to mark the International Human Rights Day 2021, celebrated on December 8, 2021.
The roundtable, which was themed: “EndSARS: The Role of CSOs in Driving Police Reforms”, was aimed at exploring methodologies for driving police reforms in the aftermath of the #EndSARS, a nationwide protest targeted at ending human right abuses by the police in Nigeria.
The roundtable provided an opportunity for stakeholders in the human rights sector to deliberate on key issues and proffer solutions aimed at improving the enjoyment of human rights in the country.
It was organised under the auspices of the “promoting the United Nations Convention against Torture”(proCAT) project with the financial support of the German Embassy in Nigeria and the United Nations Voluntary funds for victims of torture.
The stakeholders were drawn from Nigeria Police, Nigerian Correction Service, Nigerian Security Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Army (NA), Nigerian Air Force (NAF), the Department of State Security (DSS), National Human Rights Commission (NHRS), Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), related civil society organisations and the media.
Stakeholders emphasised the need for continuous momentum in the human right struggle until success is achieved as well as better cooperation from security agencies during civil unrest and protest as this falls under the fundamental human rights of citizens.
Some of the insightful recommendations made by stakeholders in response to human right issues raised, include, the need for increased effort towards training of junior officers regarding the use of torture and the implementation of the Anti torture Act (2017) and the use of databases and technology in criminal data retention for better prosecution of offenders and a more efficient justice system.
Others are the need to make officers understand that when they torture, they do not act on behalf of the government, they act on their own accord and are fully liable for their actions.
They further called for mass production and distribution of the anti torture act to widen its reach and implementation, the need for rigorous sensitisation, seminars, and workshop for state actors against the use of torture and to improve the welfare of police officers to ensure adequate behaviour from the police officers.
There is also a call for increased budgetary allocation for the police force to cater for improvement in facilities and technology for better service delivery.