Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain on crime suspects as means of extracting information or confession; it is also used for punishment, revenge or as act of cruelty. Nigerian police is known for using severe torture to extract confession from crime suspects. This act is prohibited under international law. Article 5 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights considers torture to be a violation of human rights and unacceptable. The United Nations Convention Against Torture also prohibits confession by torture.
It is an international agreed consensus that torture and similar ill-treatment are not just immoral, but equally impractical. Amnesty International saddled with the task of monitoring abuses of human rights has reported widespread torture, inhuman treatment, corruption and neglect of innocent victims by the Nigeria Police Force.
Nigeria police torture suspects with gun shots, machete wounds, burning, hanging upside down, kicking and beating, dismemberment, crushing, impalement and many more ugly procedures to force out confession, these practices are cruel and outdated. No suspects should be tortured during interrogation as it is cheap and unprofessional way of getting facts out of suspects. All suspects deserved to be respected until proven otherwise and only a recognized court of law has the power to decide the punishment for crimes committed based on relevant evidence as stipulated by the law of the land. The intense torture and pains used by Nigeria Police often force suspects to confess to sins they have not committed and these confessions are easily accepted and used to place a criminal charge on innocent victims in Nigeria. This is against the international human right law and there is immediate need for re-training and overhaul of the Nigerian Police and our judicial system. This is getting too dangerous to ignore.
No judicial system should sentence crime suspects based on mere confessions generated from torture without strong evidence from further investigation. In Nigeria, suspects are arraigned based on forced confessions submitted by the unprofessional and corrupt driven investigating officers, with the confession used as the sole evidence in the court of law, a result of which many innocent people have been put on death row for offenses they have not committed. Nigeria criminal judicial system is riddled with corruption, negligence and nearly criminal lack of resources. Nigerians are abused daily by the police and this has to be nipped in the bud by the government establishing the police system.
The police make-up offenses and force Nigerians to plead guilty to the offenses, they torture and lock innocent people in prisons cell once they are not able to meet the monetary demands and this shameful act has continued with no sign of abating. Nigerians are murdered daily for not confessing to crimes they have not committed and not agreeing to part with bribe. The life of Nigerians is reduced to no value by the police and many lives are lost simply for refusing to part way with their hard earned money. Nigeria Police is simply a joke, openly displaying their greed and gross negligence.
The primary duty of the police is to enforce the law, protect properties and lives. A police officer has a legitimized power to use force and limit civil disorder. This power given to police does not mean torture and molestation, killing and dismemberment as is the case in Nigeria. Nigeria police are likely to commit crimes than work to prevent them. I am not sure an average police on the street of Nigeria knows the limit of the power imposed on them by the constitution of the country. They readily exhibit their show of shame with no iota of retrain. Police shows no respect for Nigerians, they play god in many situations and the lives of average Nigerian do not always count.
Criminals are released as soon as they part with the money demanded and justices are easily subverted. The Nigeria Police are broad day armed robbers, the mention of police sends goose pimples to many Nigerians and everyone understands the danger of dealing with the police. Most will deal with the criminals and settle their demands than get the police involved, as the police will only get the issue more complicated, rather than resolved. It’s simply a big shame.
Nigerians loathe and have no trust for their police because when they call the police for help, they are mandated to pay for every bit of help from the police or risk getting wrongly implicated. Nigerians are randomly picked on the street, tortured and put in prison when the police needs money, they are made to pay money for their freedom and those with no money are made to call their friends and relations to raise money to get them out. Many would argue that this daylight kidnapping and robbery by Nigeria police is because they are poorly paid, but I beg to defer on this; Nigeria Police are paid better than many other civil servants in Nigeria, if everyone decides to resort to armed robbery as is the case with the police, then chaos is imminent. I believe this shameful act by Nigerian Police is due to greed and selfishness which is apparent in many other sectors of Nigeria.
Many Nigerians have been sentenced to death for the offenses not committed and a lot more awaiting trial for various offenses. There may be an urgent need for the government of Nigeria to declare a moratorium on all executions and order re-trial following due process as many have been executed and more due to face execution for offenses they have not committed.
Nollywood is the body representing Nigeria’s movie industry and is adjudged to be the third largest movie producer in the world, churning out hundreds of movies on a monthly basis. I’m a lover of Nollywood movies, but concerned about the content of some of the movies in regards to torture of suspects in many of the story lines. I stand to correct the notion that suspects in any crime should be tortured to force out confession, this is unprofessional and is a lazy way to conclude an investigation. Script writers’ should write movies that are of international standards and projecting reforms, putting professionalism before financial gains.
Our movies should foster change and stop the torture and molestation which only helps to show Nigeria decrepit police system. Most of the movies depict crime suspects as criminals and tortured severely by police officers to force confession. Movie is a great way to teach Nigeria’s corrupt and lazy police system how to carry out proper investigation. There is need to reduce torturing of suspects in our movies as if it is the norm. A well written script needs to show the police investigation process and conclusion to bring criminal charge, not torture room like gallows.
I enjoin the Nigerian Police and the Government of Nigeria to act and reform the policing process. No suspects deserved to experience pain or be tortured to death as is often the case in Nigeria. I petition the inspector general of police to address these issues as a matter of urgency. Nigerians deserve better life devoid of torture and molestation.
By Abiola Olaifa (www.abiolla.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)