Daily Law Tips (Tip 412) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

ANY SECURITY AGENCY’S MANUAL/PROTOCOL THAT ALLOWS TORTURE EVEN FOR NATIONAL SECURITY CASES IS UNLAWFUL AND ITS OFFICERS ARE LIABLE.

TORTURE is when pain or suffering, whether physical or mentally is knowingly inflicted on any person to obtain information, punish, intimidate or force such person or any other person by or at the orders of a public official or any person acting on official capacity without lawful sanction/authority. Torture can be physical, mental or even both.

Torture includes; beatings, food deprivation, rubbing of pepper/chemicals, assuming of stressful bodily positions, rape, exposure to cold/sunlight, use of drugs, blindfolding, threat, prolonged interrogation, unscheduled transfer of persons, secret detention, denial of sleep, shaming, stripping naked and parading in public places. There is no justification for torture, not even war, national security or high profile case.

By the Anti-Torture Act 2017, security agency’s order, guidelines, procedures, cultures, practice as well as “order from above”, from superior officers, authority, even from the president of Nigeria, for the torture of any person is not a justification for torture. Rather but the superior officers, the lower officers and all other persons involved in torture are punishable upon conviction with up to 25 years imprisonment. Plus the possibility of payment of monetary compensation and making of public apologies to the tortured person. Where death results from torture it is considered murder and as such punishable with death.

My authorities are sections 2, 7, 8 and 13 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017 and section 35(6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

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