Torture has become so customary in the Nigerian police force that many Police stations have an informal torture officer, says Amnesty International.
The human rights group says the police and military routinely torture women, men and children using a range of methods including beatings, shootings, rape and electric shock to extract a confession.
Populace told Amnesty about a form of water torture in which hot and cold water is poured on naked bodies Entitled ‘’Welcome to Hell Fire,’’ the human right group says people are often detained in large dragnet operations and tortured as punishment, to extort money or to extract “confessions” as a way to solve cases.
At the time he was 15 years old and spent three weeks in custody in Damaturu and said he was beaten continuously with gun butts, batons and machetes.
The boy told Amnesty that melted plastic was poured on his back and he was asked to walk and roll over broken bottles in a hole, and cold water was poured on him and others.
Meanwhile, Chinwe from Anambra state also narrated her ordeal;
I was arrested in 2013 along with other hotel staff after two guns and a human skull were found. They were beaten, detained in a van for hours and then taken to an anti-robbery squad centre in Awkuzu.
“I was thrown inside a cell. I noticed a written sign on the wall ‘Welcome to hell fire’… I was taken to the interrogation room. There was a police officer at one end with two suspects who were chained together. I saw ropes streaming down from the ceiling tops, bags of sand elevated on the perimeter wall fence of the hall and all types of rod and metal in different shapes and sizes. I heard shouts and screams from torture victims… I saw buckets of water on standby in case anybody faints or opts to die before appending [their] signature to already written statements.”
A former soldier who served at Damaturu confirmed that torture was routinely used at the camp.
“An electrified baton is used on a person to make them talk,” he told Amnesty.
“They tie people with their hands stretched behind their arms… people kept like that for six or seven hours lose their hands, people kept like that much longer can even die,” he said.
Amnesty says the report was compiled using 500 interviews during 20 separate visits to Nigeria since 2007.
“Across the country, the scope and severity of torture inflicted on Nigeria’s women, men and children by the authorities supposed to protect them is shocking to even the most hardened human rights observer,” Amnesty’s Netsanet Belay said in a statement.
Even though torture is prohibited under the constitution, Amnesty notes that Nigeria’s politicians have yet to pass a bill to criminalise it.
It says security forces enjoy a climate of impunity and the criminal justice system is riddled with corruption
The Nigerian government and military have responded to previous Amnesty reports of rights abuses with promises to investigate.
Source: BBC News