By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Avocats Sans Frontieres, ASF, otherwise known as lawyers without border, said yesterday it was worried about the increasing cases of torture and extra-judicial killings in the country.
The legal group, in a report it issued to mark the end of SAFE Project intervention it launched since 2019, also decried the swelling number of awaiting trial inmates languishing in various prisons across the federation.
It noted that despite the promulgation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, in 2015, security agencies had continued to use torture as a strategy to extract extra-judicial statement from suspects.
The Head of Office of ASF France, in Nigeria, Angela Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, said the group deployed its officials in three states- Enugu, Lagos and Kaduna- which served as pilot states for the concluded project.
“The SAFE project’s major thematic issues were; torture, arbitrary detention and extra-judicial killings and the project has a pro-bono legal aid component to ensure access to justice for victims.
“On the project, 167 cases were identified for pro-bono legal aid, of which 120 were approved for litigation and 47 for legal advice.
“These are cases of victims of torture, arbitrary detention and extra-judicial killings across the project states.
“Of all the cases, we were able to conclude 40 of them. Because of the peculiar way our Judiciary operates, some of the cases suffered delays because they had to start de-novo (afresh) owing to either the death or transfer of the judges handling them.”