By Albert Akota
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said that it will henceforth ensure that law enforcement agencies or officers who indulge in unlawful procedures in the treatment of suspects and accused persons under their custody are roundly condemned and held accountable.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, Esq. who disclosed this in Abuja via “Directive on Treatment of Accused Persons and Suspects by Law Enforcement Officers” decried the flagrant disrespect for human rights by some law enforcement personnel in the course of their duties and affirmed that the Commission will take the necessary steps to ensure that such officials are brought to justice.
Against the foregoing, Mr. Ojukwu reiterated the powers of the Commission to sanction persons or institutions that disobey the lawful directives of the Commission which he said attracts six months imprisonment or a fine of One Hundred Thousand Naira or both.
He regretted that lack of respect for human rights in law enforcement attracts negative impressions about Nigeria and this has affected flow of foreign investments into Nigeria
The Chief Executive Officer of the NHRC stated that the Commission is determined more than ever before to ensure that the rights of detainees are adequately protected by ensuring that they are fairly treated during the process of their investigation and trial.
Accordingly, the NHRC boss reminded the law enforcement agencies and officers to abide by the provision of UN Minimum Standard Rules for Treatment of Persons under any form of detention, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the Anti-Torture Act 2017 and other legislations and international instruments to which Nigeria is a party in carrying out their lawful duties.
He said “all these instrument are in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to promote respect for human rights in law enforcement”.
It will be recalled that under S.36(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, every person charged of an offence shall be presumed innocent until found guilty by a Court of competent jurisdiction.