Accordingto Sonya Maldar, author of “Justice Denied”, police shoot roughly one personper week in Nigeria. This act is intentional and is just one form of tortureexecuted by police against Nigerians.
People living in Nigeria are forced tobear daily struggles that affect both their lives and the functioning of thesociety. A violation of human rights is adherent in the Nigerian society, aswell as degrading of an individual’s hope and spirit. The greatest struggleNigerians must bear is the torture received from police authority, as it notonly illustrates the merciless side of society, but also the abuse of humanrights.
Amassive number of Nigerians fall victim to the torture officers execute inpolice stations. In an article entitled, “Justice Denied”, author Sonya Maldarstates the primary reason for the use of torture is interrogation for crimescommitted (Maldar, 2005). The officers performing the inhumane acts of torturetypically do not receive any lawful action against them, simply because theyhave impunity. In fact, the use of torture for interrogation has become anacceptable action in Nigeria, therefore “many victims do not even question theirtreatments,” regardless of how extreme or vicious they may seem (Maldar, 2005).As for the types of brutalizing actions performed against victims, the list inendless. Stories of torture range from severe flogging to starvation to sexualviolence among women (Forje, 2009).
The extremity level of the torture does notappear to have any correlation to the crime; all acts of torture are appallingand inhumane. There is little Nigerians can do to prevent themselves from thecruelty expressed from officers, simply because the power appears to be inunconcerned hands. Policeofficers do not give opportunity for Nigerians to plea their case and provetheir innocence against a crime. In most cases, the officers’ accusations aretrusted as correct, and the victim is forced to suffer the consequences,whether he or she is guilty.
One victim, for example, was arrested simply forlooking like an armed robber, where he was then interrogated and forced againsthis will to sign a statement claiming he was guilty (Maldar, 2005). People arenot given the right to even speak their innocence; they are instead tortureduntil they confess to the crime against them. Serious long-term injuries andeven death are common results of the torture. The ruthless punishments and lackof Foryears, there has been a constant need for reform in Nigeria, as the violenceand torture towards citizens are clearly human rights abuse.
In 2005, a reformprogram was announced that promises to “improve intelligence and investigatecapacity, expand community policing, and change the philosophy and attitudes;”however, the President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasan, does not seem interested inexercising justice in the society (Maldar, 2005). There has also been areluctance from the British government to raise concerns about the torture withNigerian government. The Human Rights Watch is the main group contributing tothe reform efforts in Nigeria.
An article titled “Combating Torture in Africa:A Call on Governments and Civil Society” suggests a different reform approachthat relies on the support from the government and society. Author Gima Forjeiterates that “the role of civil society is raising awareness, monitoring,and prevention and assisting of victims” and this role “cannot beoveremphasized” (Forje, 2009). In order for society to fulfill its role, theremust be a serene relationship between the government and civil society. Furthermore,the government must grant civil society organizations “access to detention centers…withrelevant human rights instruments” (Forje, 2009). With the combined efforts of thegovernments’ power and the society’s drive to restore peace back into humanity,the potential to reinstate human rights for Nigerians is great. Amongall the problems Nigerians endure throughout society, the most severe is the tortureexercised by police figures.
Not only are Nigerians suffering from vicious interrogationmethods, but they are also struggling to keep a grip on their deserved rights andfreedom as a human being. The crimes executed on people, both innocent and guilty,are demeaning and corrupt, dehumanizing what is left of their optimism and integrity.