​KDSG Says Administration of Justice Law Will Tame Issues of Torture ………as ASF Trains Judicial Actors

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna 

Kaduna State Government, said with the enactment of Administration of Justice Law in the state, issues of torture is being checked and will soon be nipped in the bud.

Commissioner of  Justice and Attorney-General of the State, Umma Hikima disclosed this on Tuesday, at the opening of a 3-day training workshop on “Promotion of UN Convention Against Torture in Nigeria” ProCAT) for Professional Actors drawn from the judiciary, (judges, ministry of justice, the Nigerian Bar Association and Legal Aid Council of Nigeria) and members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

The training which was organized by an International Human Rights Organization, Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF), also known as Lawyers Without Borders had last week trained the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Prisons Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, the Media, Civil Society Organisations and members of the NHRC in Kaduna State.

Represented by Director, Public Prosecution, Kaduna State Ministry of Justice, Bayero Dari, the said, “the law was enacted this year on 29th of may, and it’s a radical departure from previous laws that have been existing since 1968 starting from Northern region when states were created and Kaduna state and others adopted it.

“Kaduna state governor signed it into law that and it effectively came into law in 29th of may 2017. It has radicalise the whole process of obtaining statement, arrest and prosecution and then time of stay in prison. 

“Now you can no longer be arrested by proxy, meaning that you can no longer be arrested for offence committed by someone.”

He added that, a suspect can no longer be interviewed by police officer in the absence of his lawyer, and that if the statement is been taken, it must be taken with digital recorder. 

Also he stated that, a chief magistrate now has the right to visit any detention facility and ask for whom is detained, reason for his detention and how long he has been detained. 

“The Chief judge also had a monitoring committee, and the committee goes round all the courts, detention facilities in the state, police and ask for books and whoever is detained unnecessarily, officer responsible will be questioned. All avenues for fast trial and speedy dispensation of justice is enshrined in the law, and I think that everyone should be sensitized on it. He said.

In her remark, Head of Nigeria Office, ASF  Mrs Angela Uwandu, noted that the training session is aimed at promoting the principles of United Nation Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) in Nigeria. 

According to her, the project is aimed at stigmatizing torture, it also aimed at raising awareness on torture, especially torture by security agencies in Nigeria. 

“Basically what we are trying to do as an organization is to stand to promote justice for victim of torture and ensures that wherever torture occurs, we provide access to quick and prompt access to justice for victim of torture.

“Ultimately we are here to train stakeholders in criminal justice sector on this issue of torture.”

Angela, stressed that torture is not permissible under any circumstances, adding “we stand against torture and any form of inhumane and degrading treatment been meted out by our security agencies either with the intention of forcing some one to confess or intimidation.

“Torture is prevalent in Nigeria and it happens every day, as it is being used by security agencies to extort information or sort of punishment, which is almost institutionalised, and we must stand against it because it is illegal.

“It is a condemnable act by the our National, Regional and International laws. Even section 34 of Nigerian Constitution stated clearly that torture is prohibited, and there is no exception to that clause.”

The project is being funded by the United Nations Voluntary Funds for Victims of Torture, the Embassy of the Republic of Germany,  Netherlands and French Embassies in Nigeria.

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