Nigeria: Time to end contempt for human rights

Report
November 5, 1996

Nigeria: Time to end contempt for human rights

6 End torture and ill-treatment, including medical neglect of prisoners and life-threatening prison conditions. Introduce adequate safeguards to prevent them in future, including full
and immediate access for all prisoners to lawyers, families and medical services

There are a range of steps which the present Nigerian government should take without delay to end torture and ill-treatment and to introduce adequate safeguards to prevent them in future.

The government should publish clear orders prohibiting all forms of torture and ill-treatment by soldiers and security officials and state that it will be punished. It should also ensure that all members of the military and security forces have the established right and duty to disobey any orders that may be given which would lead to acts of torture or ill-treatment.

The government should ensure that all political detainees are allowed full and immediate access to their families, lawyers, doctors and to necessary medical care and that they are held in conditions which conform to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

The government should take urgent steps to improve and extend training for all law enforcement officials on international standards and practices for the prevention of torture and ill-treatment.

The government should ratify the Convention against Torture.
 

7 Take action to prevent extrajudicial executions

The Nigerian government should ensure that there is strict control, including a clear chain of command, over all military and police units and security or other officials responsible for the apprehension, arrest, detention, custody and imprisonment of prisoners.

Clear orders should be given prohibiting extrajudicial executions. Strict control should be exercized over all military, police and security personnel engaged in operations, who should be required by law to adhere to the provisions of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

Written regulations governing procedures for the use of firearms should be issued to every soldier and security official. In every incident where a firearm is discharged, a report should be made promptly to the competent authorities. Where this leads to loss of life, an independent investigation should be carried out immediately.

The government should take urgent steps to improve and extend training for all law enforcement officials on international standards and practices on the use of force and firearms.