As the world marks UN’s International Day In Support of Victims of Torture, today, June 26, 2012, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) joins all men, women and organisations of conscience to show maximum solidarity with all the victims of torture the world over, especially
those in Nigeria.CLO, in particular, are concerned with the Awaiting Trial Persons ATPs) languishing in various prisons and detention camps across the country and the inmates of the Oko Ita detention camp inside the sea where enemies of the government are detained incommunicado.Oko Ita detention camp, a secret detention camp, built inside the sea and infested with all kinds of evil, wicked and carnivorous sea animals and reptile like crocodile etc, was established in 1976 by the then Olusegun Obasanjo military regime to torture enemies of the government but has been sustained by successive despotic military and civilian regimes ever since.
The camp was discovered by the CLO in 1988 but has not been closed till date. Only recently, correspondents of Al Jazeera television which went to investigate the camp were almost lynched by security agents and area boys recruited by the government to keep watch over the camp. Their cameras and other news gadgets were allegedly seized from them. The correspondents flew to CLO office where they broke the news.
This category of victims of ATPs torture have not had their cases heard by courts of competent jurisdiction and some of them have been remanded in prisons under the old Holden Charge law for twenty or more years without trial. Holden charge is an oppressive law that our country inherited from colonialism and has sustained 52 years after independence with the vicious intention to use it to dehumanise and repress the weaker, poorer and larger population and voices of dissent.
Aside this group of torture victims are those arrested, detained and tortured by the police and other law enforcement agencies and inflicted serious injuries on with the view to extra confessional statements from them. In the various torture chambers of the Nigeria police, National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Immigration, Customs and anti-graft agencies, etc, are found these victims. Some have lost their sense organs or parts of their bodies or have been deformed as a result of these gross, degrading and inhuman treatment
CLO condemns the use of torture by both state and non state actors such as employers of labour, including homes, to extra information from suspects or accused persons in total disobedience to the laws both local and international human rights instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory or made.
As we mark this year’s International Day In Support of Victims of Torture, CLO enjoins Nigerian government to use the occasion to cause the repeal of all obnoxious and cruel laws that promote torture and close the dreaded Oko Ita Detention camp. We also call on the government to bring to book, all perpetrators of torture whether state or non state actors and enact laws that would cause absolute respect for the citizens’ rights.
Lastly, CLO urges of all men and women of conscience, the Church, Mosques and civil rights groups in Nigeria to stand up against torture and pressure the National Assembly to outlaw the Oko Ita detention camp and repeal the old Remand Law and other laws that encourage the use of torture by security/law enforcement agents on the citizens.
Ibuchukwu Ohabuenyi Ezike,
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