Chrisland University, Abeokuta, has launched the first tertiary institution Anti- Torture Club in Nigeria.
The club was launched during a training and sensitisation Workshop on prevention of torture; and a Roundtable on Instanbul Protocol Integration held at the school premises on Saturday.
CEOAFRICA had earlier reported that the Vice Chancellor of the great citadel of learning, Prof Chinedum Peace Babaloala stated that the One-day programme which is a collaboration between Prisoners' Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) and International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT); with Chrisland University on establishment of an Initiative to raise awareness on prevention of torture, promotion of human rights, and incorporation of Instantabul Protocol Training is holding on Saturday, 2nd September, 2023.
The highlight of the programme include; the establishment of Anti- Torture (Say No To Torture) Club and inauguration of the Executives of the Club; Sensitisation Workshop on prevention of torture; and a Roundtable on Instanbul Protocol Integration.
In her opening remark, Babalola appreciated everyone, stating that this will be the first time Anti-Torture club will be birthed in a university.
According to her, even if someone commit a crime, it doesn't give everyone license to torture that person.
Chrisland University Vice Chancellor, Prof Chinedum Peace Babaloala
She revealed that the club will be in charge of two basic things - creating awareness about torture, and how to run activities that will be anti-torture.
Speaking further, the VC noted that the school will develop a semester curriculum, that will be run by the club.
Babalola while speaking on why the club was established, disclosed that the journey began in February during the matriculation when the guest speaker, Dr Uju, a United Nation representative of the anti-torture sub-committee, was speaking, she stated then that Chrisland University will be the first institution in Africa to have Anti-torture club, its global organization.
And since then, she is been working on it and promised that during their visit in Nigeria that Chrisland University will be visited to birth the club.
Expressing how she feel, the VC said "I'm glad, it is always good to plan something and have it executed.
Before birthing the club, there was a workshop to create awareness on what this anti-torture is all about. We heard from Nigeria side and European side and that covers the global picture on anti-torture and expandiate on the Instanbul protocol.
One thing that we have learned today is that under no circumstance, torture is not permitted globally".
Speaking further, Babalola also promised that the management will do everything possible to make sure that the club remains a functioning one.
She said, "before birthing the club, we had a pre-meeting, which we called mentoring the lecturers. We are planning to have the curriculum that will go into our general studies, so that lecturers will be thought, mentored and they will teach the students.
The programme will even be certified and the club will be attached to PRAWA, being in Nigeria, we make sure that PRAWA continue to be supportive along with the University, as there will be a relationship and agreement between PRAWA, ICRT and Chrisland University.
If PRAWA continue to support the club, transition from one exco to another will be easier and also if we establish a course, it will be a way of sustaining the activity.
She advised the new excos to come up with their activities as the school is ready to follow up. The school will appoint class advisers, then we ask them to supply their vision and mission, we will make the PRAWA and ICRT to be online to empower them, so that they will create awareness on campuses, before externalizing it.
Dr Uju Agomoh, the founder of Prisoners' Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), encouraged and charged the members and Excos of the newly inaugurated anti-torture club of Chrsiland University to know that they are the drivers of the club in Nigeria.
She urged them to know that the core mandate concerning the prevention of torture and concerning the need to treat those who are tortured and address their plight, while thinking of different activities you do to create awareness, to carry approaches and demonstrate the approaches in order to make a different.
Dr Uju Agomoh, the founder of Prisoners' Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA)
Speaking with CEOAFRICA, Dr Uju stated that as the club has been established, she expects the students to hit the ground going, noting that the club will sensitize the students to sensitize others.
She said "I expect that the club will hit the ground going. the club will sensitize the students to sensitize their peers.
"I will advise them to build their capacity, read through issues relating to this subject matter. Also, look at what the United Nation Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (commonly known as the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT)) says. Look at all other international instrument, Nigeria constitution, others and do something to change it.
"They should also create awareness. Whatever you are saying no to, you don't also practice it.
"Also, self-awareness. That I will speak out, I will advocate, I will teach and sensitize others about the ills regarding torture, so that we all together will put an end to it."
Similarly, the deputy director of PRAWA, Bar Ogechi Ogu, (Esq), in her lecture urged the club members to have a deep understanding of what torture is from the national perspective and if equally understand what it is that they need to do to ensure that torture is prevented.
Deputy director of PRAWA, Bar Ogechi Ogu, (Esq)
According to her, Nigeria as a nation has rectified what we call the convention against that torture, this means that torture is highly prohibited and the country has an obligation to ensure that no person in Nigeria is tortured.
Citing the Nigeria constitution section 34, which sees to the right to dignity of human person. Torture is one the human right abuses that hit directly at the respect and dignity of any human being. Article one (1) of the universal declaration of human right, which speaks of respect and dignity, any person that is torture that respect and dignity has gone.
Also, Nigeria has gone a step ahead to enact a law - anti torture law of 2017. It is in that law that clearly states that Torture is prohibited and adequate provisions for punishment was provided section 34: prohibit torture and section 36 states what a victim can do when he or she is tortured.
But when you go to anti torture act, it spells out what Nigeria government should do. It states that Nigeria government should make sure no suspect is undergoing interrogation or anyone in detention is tortured and this aspect Nigerians to comply with all the obligations in respect to the convention against torture (section 1) Section 2 defines what torture is.
Torture, according to section 2, is any act that is intentionally done and inflicting pain and suffering for the purpose of enlisting confessional statement.
Section 3 of the act speaks to the fact that torture is not permissible under any circumstance.
You have the right to report when torture has happened and not only do you have the right to report, you have the right for assistant. No body should be tortured and somebody that have been tortured have right of redress, access to justice so that there will not be repetition.
Ogechi implored the club members to speak out when they are torure, and be the voice of other people that lack capability to complain. We should help them, support them and direct them to where they can make their complains, so that they can have access to justice.
On his part, Roberto Fririni from International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT); said that IRCT is a global network of civil society organisations and independent experts who support survivors of torture to heal and rebuild their lives through rehabilitation, including medical, psychological, legal and social support. We also produce forensic evidence, publish academic research, and fight for justice.
Roberto Fririni from International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
Born from a collaboration between Danish doctors and human rights groups in the 1970s, today IRCT is the world's largest membership-based organisation specialising in the treatment and documentation of torture.
The aim was to dissuade medical colleagues from collaborating in torture, and to document torture that had been inflicted using modern techniques, which left few visible traces.
The vision is a world without torture. We work to ensure that individuals and communities subjected to torture receive the rehabilitation and justice, as well as other reparations, that they deserve and are entitled to and the mission is to ensure that torture victims everywhere are able to access appropriate rehabilitation services. We are equally dedicated to fighting impunity, advancing access to justice, and preventing torture from reoccurring.
The Istanbul Protocol, also known as the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, is the global (international) guidelines for the effective investigation and documentation of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.