Torture remains a subject of major concern in Nigeria. The most frequent perpetrators of torture are operatives of the security and law enforcement agencies including the police, the military, the state security service, and agents of paramilitary institutions such as prison officers, officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. These acts are usually perpetrated before official detention, after which, the victims are detained by the security agency involved or transferred to the prisons.
Although Nigeria has ratified several major international human rights treaties, torture remains a common tool utilised by security forces for the interrogation, intimidation and punishment of crime suspects. As the public mounts further pressure on security forces to bring an end to the existence of Boko Haram, there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of torture in the Northern region of Nigeria. This remains the case, not due to a lack of awareness-raising initiatives, but due to inadequate facilities, provisions and mechanisms for investigation, regular monitoring of detention facilities, effective oversight and speedy justice delivery.
Acts of torture in Nigeria include indiscriminate arrests, illegal detention, infliction of physical and psychological injuries, extrajudicial killings and death while in custody as a result of torture.
While the rate of torture and inhuman treatment remains at a considerable level within the country, there is no holistic system in place for the rehabilitation of victims of such offences. The failure of the Nigerian government to criminalise torture further aggravates the impact of this gap. Though Nigerian law provides for the right to life and the dignity of the human person, it remains inadequate in guaranteeing effective redress to victims of torture and accountability of the perpetrators.