By Yemi Akinsuyi
The Federal Government has said the nation must confront and address custodial violence against police detainees in the country.
It noted that victims of violence in police custody have often raised the alarm, stressing that acts of torture, coercion, intimidation and extra-judicial execution are aberrations in the nation’s criminal justice system and a negation of the constitutional principle of the right to dignity of the human person.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said this on Friday in Abuja during the inaugural Inspector-General of Police Annual Strategic Police Management Conference with the theme, “Custodial Violence and Strategic Police Management.”
The AG described violence against detainees in police custody as a betrayal of the persons who have been placed in the care of law enforcement agents through the instrumentality of the law.
Malami said, “We are living witnesses to the fact issues of custodial violence against detainees in police cells and other detention centres have often been raised by the victims, the press, domestic and foreign non-governmental organisations and even by concerned stakeholders within governmental institutions.
“Violence in this context includes acts of torture, coercion, intimidation and even extra-judicial execution in extreme cases. These are realities which we need to confront as individuals, as institutions and as a nation.”
The minister said he was impressed by the courage of the police leadership to openly discuss the issues, even where certain aspects might negatively impact on the image of the Force.
“It is in my opinion, we need a demonstration of the necessary will to boldly reposition the Force for the challenges that lie ahead,” he added, noting that excuses of inadequate personnel and resources, would not be acceptable to explain away indiscretions committed in the line of duty, including custodial violence.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who declared open the conference, said allegations of confessional statements by suspects had often led to protracted trials within trial and occasioned significant delay in criminal cases.
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