Citizens Gavel, a civil organisation has condemned what it described as inhuman and traumatising state of detention centres in Nigeria and the consequent violation of human rights in those centres.
The organisation stated this following a viral image of a police cell that showed detainees sleeping in the same space with human faeces and urine.
Citizens Gavel in a statement explained that such deplorable condition offends a person’s right to dignity as guaranteed by section 34 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that:
“Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly; no person shall be subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment; no person shall be held in slavery or servitude; and no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
The organisation regretted that Section 34 (1-2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) as domesticated by states, which provides that chief judges and magistrates regularly visit detention centres was not being complied with.
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“We hereby call on chief judges and magistrates in the 36 states of the federation to activate the relevant sections in the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws (ACJL) of their respective states, by visiting police stations and other detention centres in their jurisdiction at least once a month to ensure nationwide compliance with human rights standards and ensuring that suspects are not kept in dilapidating detentions or spend beyond the time permitted by law, without bail or trial.”
The group contended that “part of the duties of magistrates during the visit to police stations and detention centres under Section 34 of the ACJA and the relevant sections in the ACJL of the various states is to check whether the cells are in habitable condition; availability of power and water, beddings and ventilation, among others”, the statement said.
The organisation also called on the Inspector-General of Police to direct his officers to ensure overall hygiene in their detention centres.
“The Federal Government is requested to look into the deplorable conditions of police stations and begin renovation forthwith”, the organisation demanded.
Citizens Gavel is a non-profit organisation accelerating the pace of justice delivery through access to justice, digital technology and citizens’ engagement.