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Confessional statements: Benue CJ decries torture of suspects by Police

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By Peter Duru

Makurdi—Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Adam Onum, has decried and condemned the practice of torturing suspects by the Police to obtain confessional statements, saying the practice is unacceptable before the law.

Justice Onum spoke, yesterday, at a one-day training of law enforcement officers in Benue State on Anti-Torture Act, 2017, organised by Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE-Nigeria), in collaboration with National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, and Bonum Seeds Foundation, in Makurdi.

Represented by Justice Aondoaver Kaka’an, the chief judge said: “Everyday in our courts you hear accused persons complain that they were tortured before confessional statements were obtained from them. The Evidence Act and Nigeria Constitution frown at the practice.”

In his speech, Country Director of CURE-Nigeria, Mr. Sylvester Uhaa, said: “The signing of the Anti-Torture Bill into law in December 29, 2017 by President Muhammadu Buhari ushered in a new era in the history of the country.’’

He noted that as a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, “the era will end the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in Nigeria and firmly hold to account perpetrators of torture.”

Benue State Coordinator of National Human Rights Commission, Joshua Tyoyer, in his speech, stated that “the training was put together to equip security agencies and the general public with knowledge about torture as one of the highest forms of human rights violation and derogation from acceptable norms and practice in modern societies.”

In his remark, Chairman, Bonum Seeds Foundation, Idorenyin Ebong, represented by Chuks Afujue, said Nigerian security agencies must comply with globally recognised practices in handling crime suspects to stop the ridiculing of the country before the international community.

“We must continually uphold the tenet and letters of the United Nations Convention Against Torture to which Nigeria is a signatory, in the interest of our criminal Justice system,” he said.

 

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