Illegal Detention Centres: NHRC calls for thorough investigation, closure of centres
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed serious concern over the proliferation of illegal detention centres across the country saying that such centres must be closed to save their victims from further torture, inhuman and degrading treatments.
Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq who stated this in Abuja while reacting to the discovery of some illegal detention centres in some parts of the country. He regretted that such centres by their atrocious activities have further expanded the frontiers of human violations in the country.
The country he said has in the last few weeks been inundated with reports of brazen abductions, particularly involving minors and youths who are unjustifiably subjected to various forms of inhuman and degrading treatment by their abductors .
According to Ojukwu, acts of torture and all forms of inhuman and degrading treatment under whatever guise are clearly illegal, constitute human rights violations under the 1999 constitution of the FRN as amended as well as the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and other International treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory. Furthermore, the Anti Torture Act of 2017 signed into law by President Buhari clearly outlaws and abhors acts of torture ,inhuman and degrading treatment and makes them punishable with imprisonment.
Ojukwu who was deeply concerned about the spate of abduction particularly among children and youths stated that the reported 300 inmates uncovered by the Nigerian Police in Daura, Katsina state, the children abducted from Kano as well as the two Torture centers uncovered in Kaduna are incidents among other similar cases across the country. These constitute grave human rights violations which must be thoroughly investigated and the culprits brought to book.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary has directed the Commission’s State Coordinators in the North West to carry out in-depth investigations into the alleged illegal detention centres including the case of the abducted children in Kano in line with the Commission’s mandate. “This will enable the Commission ascertain the various aspects of human rights violations perpetrated by the operators of the so called educational and rehabilitation centers preparatory to ensuring their prosecution and punishment in line with the law”, Ojukwu added.
Ojukwu frowned at the idea of abducting and dumping people, including children at unapproved centres in the name of rehabilitation saying that any form of training or education that is not approved and monitored by the relevant authorities’ must not be allowed to operate.
The Executive Secretary called on the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and other relevant law enforcement agencies operating at the federal and state government levels to be more vigilant and fish out the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and ensure that they are diligently prosecuted in accordance with the law.
He said that the Commission will scale up its advocacy campaigns to sensitize people on the dangers of sending their children, ward or relations to illegal detention centres for the purposes of ‘rehabilitation.’
The Commission urged the Ministries of Education, Social Services and all other agencies responsible for the approval of the centers in all the states to recall all the approvals for the running of these centers and re-certify them after thorough inspection and monitoring of their activities.
The Commission further noted that henceforth, all persons with mental problem are to be admitted and treated in psychiatric hospitals and not in rehabilitation homes as any violators will be held accountable for human rights violation of the victims.