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Torture: ASF France Secures 20 Million Naira in Damages for Victim

By Habila Victor, Kaduna

A high court in Lagos state has awarded 20 million Naira in damages to a victim of torture for the violation of his rights by the Police.

This followed a pro bono legal representation of the victim, Mr. Abiodun A by Avocats Sans Frontières France in Nigeria.

Prior to ASF France’s intervention, Mr. Abiodun A had spent over seven (7) years in arbitrary detention after being subjected to torture by security personnel in Lagos State.

The ASF France pro-bono legal aid program was instituted for cases of this nature, to provide legal aid at no cost to the defenseless, hence, ASF France intervention in the case of Mr. Abiodun.

The Country Director of Avocats Sans Frontières France, Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu speaking after the judgement in Mr. Abiodun’s case in which damages in the sum of N20 Million Naira was awarded said “Nothing can ever make up for 7 years loss of one’s life, let alone 7 years filled with unthinkable acts of torture. Security agencies need to demonstrate their commitment to human rights by upholding these laws against torture.”

Between the months of April – August 2021, ASF handled Mr. Abiodun’s case, tendering applications to the Lagos State High Court on behalf of the detainee, citing the instances of torture, violation of his rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement, provided under the sections 35 and 41 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

The application was successful as judgement was delivered in favour of Mr. Abiodun, and the police was ordered by the court to pay the sum of twenty million naira in damages to Mr. Abiodun.

Similarly, ASF France provided legal assistance to Mr. James A during the same period. He had spent over one year in arbitrary detention after being tortured. ASF France secured his unconditional release based on a similar application to the court citing the instances of torture and other violation of his rights.

These cases were handled on the platform of the Promoting the United Nations Convention Against Torture (ProCAT) project, which is aimed at ending torture in Nigeria in line with ASF France overall mandate of giving a voice to the defense.

The ProCAT project is being implemented in Nigeria by Avocats Sans Frontières France and co-funded by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFT) and the German Embassy in Nigeria.

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