By our reporter, 12th October, 2021
A Non Government Organisation, NGO, Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), has said the rehabilitation of torture victims and survivors were crucial to the implementation of the Anti-Torture Law 2017.
The Deputy Director of PRAWA, Barr Ogechi Ugu,, said this in Abuja at a Review and Validation Workshop on the Joint Civil Society Report to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT).
Ugu said rehabilitation was a crucial tool in the fight against torture and that rehabilitation had been identified to be a missing element in the Anti-Torture Act 2017.
According to her, rehabilitation is crucial and remains a critical element that is missing in black and white in the Anti-Torture Act 2017.
“One key element that PRAWA keeps propagating is the element of government system for rehabilitation of torture victims and survivors.
“Rehabilitation is a crucial process and a soft step taken to provide support and comfort for victims and survivors.
“We believe that rehabilitation is actually the first compensation that a victim or survivor should get.
“Because when victims of torture think about how the perpetrator of this acts do not get punishment or that the perpetrator would not be caught, it contributes greatly to the mental struggle of the victim.
“Which is why rehabilitation is crucial to provide the victim or survivor with some form of justice and comfort while awaiting legal administration of justice,” she said.
Ugu also noted that some perpetrators of torture have been identified to likely be victims and survivors of torture who lacked proper rehabilitation.
According to her, where a victim of torture is not properly rehabilitated and reorientated, him or her begins to met out torture to everyone around them.
“This people that met out torture, it could be that they have gone through some form or process of either physical or psychological torture without proper rehabilitation.
“So they now use the same experience of trauma to live with others in the society which is totally unhealthy and harmful to everyone in the society,” she said.
She lauded the provisions on compensation in the anti-torture act, but however called for the amendment of the act to accommodate rehabilitation of victims and survivors, especially establishment of government rehabilitation centers.
PRAWA works to promote institutional reforms to create access to justice, rehabilitation, and social development for prisoners, ex-prisoners, torture victims and youth at risk.
On her part, Acting Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Mrs Ruth Olofin, called for an expedite process in the compilation, validation and reporting of the final report by the government to the UN Committee Against Torture.
Olofin lauded the response of the government to review and validate its report to the UN Committee through the active participation of the National Human Right Commission (NHRC).
“The government has made laudable efforts in joining the fight against torture in Nigeria by enacting the Anti-Torture law, by disbanding the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), and many more.
“Which means that the government is responsive to the provisions of the Convention Against Torture Treaty which it ratified.
“Now we look forward to the government complying and reporting back to the UN committee for its input, assessments on progress level and possible recommendations,” she said.