- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) says it is against the law to maltreat suspects and defendants in the custody of security agents
- NHRC notes that there is sanction for any institution or security official that disobeys in this regard
- Tony Ojukwu argues that such behaviour by security agencies affects foreign investments and creates negative impressions about Nigeria
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Sunday, May 13, issued a warning to law enforcement agencies and their officers in Nigeria against maltreating suspects and defendants remanded under their custody.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the executive secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu, gave the warning in a statement by the commission’s head of media, Fatimah Agwai, in Abuja.
Ojukwu was quoted as saying: “Ill treatment of suspects would be roundly condemned and perpetrators would be held accountable.”
Ojukwu also decried what he thinks is the “flagrant disrespect for human rights by some law enforcement personnel in the course of their duties” just as he reiterated NHRC’s determination to take necessary steps to ensure that such officials were brought to justice.
The statement also quoted him as saying the commission had the powers to sanction persons or institutions that disobeyed its lawful directives, adding that such disobedience attracted six months imprisonment or N100,000 fine.
Ojukwu expressed regret over the lack of respect for human rights by some law enforcement agencies, saying that such attitude created negative impression about the country and the agencies.
Ojukwu argued that this also affects the flow of foreign investments into the country as he noted that the commission was determined to ensure that the rights of detainees were adequately protected by ensuring that they were fairly treated during the process of their investigation and trial.
He reminded law enforcement agencies and officers of the need to abide by the provisions of the UN Minimum Standard Rules for Treatment of Persons under any form of detention.
He warned officers to be mindful of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, the Anti-Torture Act 2017 and other legislations and international instruments to which Nigeria was a party, in carrying out their lawful duties.
“All these instruments are in line with the provisions of the 1999 constitution (as amended) to promote respect for human rights in law enforcement.
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“Under Section 36(5) of the 1999 constitution, every person charged for an offence shall be presumed innocent until found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction,” he said.
NAIJ.com earlier reported that the Nigeria Police Force said it had arrested four suspects for criminal conspiracy, forgery, stealing and unlawful possession of electoral materials meant for the aborted APC ward congress in Imo.
The suspects are: Ikpamezie Innocent, 39, principal suspect and special adviser on a electoral matters to Senator Hope Uzodinma, Lawrence Archibong, 34, Kelechi Affonne, 27 and Joseph Martins, 28.
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