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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                        

Federal Republic of Nigeria

The military has been repeatedly criticized by local and international human rights groups for extrajudicial killings, torture, and other abuses, including during counterinsurgency efforts in the northeast and operations against separatist movements in the southeast

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Nigeria

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Nigeria.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 29 July 2021]


Local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international human rights groups accused the security services of illegal detention, inhuman treatment, and torture of criminal suspects, militants, detainees, and prisoners. On February 10, the BBC published a report documenting police and military use of a torture practice known as tabay when detaining criminal suspects, including children. Tabay involves binding a suspect’s arms at the elbows to cut off circulation; at times the suspect’s feet are also bound and the victim is suspended above the ground. In response to the BBC video, military and Ministry of Interior officials told the BBC they would investigate use of the practice.

In June, Amnesty International issued a report documenting 82 cases of torture by the SARS from 2017 to May.

Police used a technique commonly referred to as “parading” of arrestees, which involved walking arrestees through public spaces and subjecting them to public ridicule and abuse. Bystanders sometimes taunted and hurled food and other objects at arrestees.

The sharia courts in 12 states and the FCT may prescribe punishments such as caning, amputation, flogging, and death by stoning. The sharia criminal procedure code allows defendants 30 days to appeal sentences involving mutilation or death to a higher sharia court. Statutory law mandates state governors treat all court decisions equally, including amputation or death sentences, regardless of whether issued by a sharia or a nonsharia court. Sharia courts issued several death sentences during the year. In August a sharia court in Kano State convicted a man of raping a minor and sentenced the man to death by stoning.


Many of the 240 prisons were 70 to 80 years old and lacked basic facilities. Lack of potable water, inadequate sewage facilities, and overcrowding sometimes resulted in dangerous and unsanitary conditions. For example, in December 2019, according to press reports, five inmates awaiting trial at Ikoyi Prison were accidentally electrocuted in their cell, which held approximately 140 inmates despite a maximum capacity of 35.

Disease remained pervasive in cramped, poorly ventilated prison facilities, which had chronic shortages of medical supplies. Inadequate medical treatment caused some prisoners to die from treatable illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.


Families were afraid to approach military barracks used as detention facilities. In some cases police detained suspects without informing them of the charges against them or allowing access to counsel and family members; such detentions often included solicitation of bribes. Provision of bail often remained arbitrary or subject to extrajudicial influence. Judges sometimes set stringent bail conditions. In many areas with no functioning bail system, suspects remained incarcerated indefinitely in investigative detention. At times authorities kept detainees incommunicado for long periods. Numerous detainees stated police demanded bribes to take them to court hearings or to release them. If family members wanted to attend a trial, police sometimes demanded additional payment.

NHRC condemns Kogi Commissioner’s alleged involvement in torture, rape

Eric Ikhilae, Abuja, The Nation, 4 April 2020

[accessed 6 April 2020]

Part of the statement reads: ” A video going viral on the social media indicates that the said Elizabeth was taken from Okene to Lokoja on the 29th of March by agents of the Kogi State Commissioner for Water Resources where she beaten stripped naked in the presence of her little child and a video of her made by her assailants in the process.

“Elizabeth further alleged that after beating her the Commissioner took advantage of her thereby raping before finally releasing her the following day back to Okene where she stays and charged not to mention the incident.

Ogun police torture 20-year-old to death over theft allegation

Samson Folarin, Punch, 26 December 2018

[accessed 27 Dec  2018]

Jubril’s father, Ibrahim, said when he visited his son a day after he was re-arrested, he could not recognise the son any longer.

Mohammed said, “I went to the station on Friday and after waiting till evening, they brought him to me. I saw a lot of injuries on my son. They had tortured him seriously. He said they told him to confess or else they would kill him. He could barely walk. The owner of the company said the goods stolen were valued N7m to N8m.

“When I returned to visit him on Monday, their commander called me into his office and asked me if my son had been sick before, and I said no. He said my son was dead.

Police tortured me to accept rape allegation – Suspect

Usman Bello, Daily Trust, Benin, 9 Nov 2018

[accessed 11 November 2018]

[accessed 10 January 2019]

A 51-year-old herbalist, Francis Aju, yesterday told journalists that he had to accept rape allegation levelled against him due to severe torture by police operatives.

He further explained: “I told them that I didn’t rape her. I bathe her the first day in the presence of her father but the police started beating me saying I should own up to the allegation.

“My pair of trousers got torn at the station after too much beating by the police. They were beating me saying I should accept that I raped the girl.

“The beating was too much and when I can’t bear it, I said I did it so that they will leave me. They use stick and back of cutlass on me. I can’t even hear well because of the beating,” he claimed.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 18 May 2020]


The military has been repeatedly criticized by local and international human rights groups for extrajudicial killings, torture, and other abuses, including during counterinsurgency efforts in the northeast and operations against separatist movements in the southeast.

Family laments torture of pupil by soldiers, demands justice

Deji Lambo, Punch, 12 October

[accessed 13 October 2018]

He said, “The soldiers were apprehending pupils who came late to school and those who did not put on ties and caps. I came early, but since I did not wear a tie and a cap, the soldiers stopped me. I ran away because I was afraid of what they could do to me. One of them caught up with me and started hitting me.

“I was asked to remove my shirt and roll on the floor from the gate. While I was rolling on the floor, two soldiers beat me on my bare back. A teacher, Mrs Igboneku, came to plead on my behalf, but they ignored her. They continued flogging me till I started bleeding.

“After the torture, one of the soldiers told me to put on my clothes and he ordered me to bend and touch my toe for one hour. When I was released later, my shirt was stained with blood.

Soldiers reportedly torture 18-year-old to death over stolen phone in Plateau

Nurudeen Lawal,, 25 August 2018

[accessed 25 August 2018]

[accessed 10 January 2019]

Akans said that Atajan’s explanation fell on deaf ears as the soldiers reportedly tied him up and beat him with iron rods. “Before he died, he narrated how he was tortured. He said, the soldiers hanged him upside down and tied his hands to his back. They beat him with iron rods and sticks. “He collapsed and was rushed to Bokkos General Hospital. He was revived at the hospital but after three days, his condition worsened. It was discovered that he had internal bleeding as a result of the torture. Unfortunately, he passed on on Wednesday. He was 18-year-old; he just finished secondary school. Read more:

Buratai orders Army to investigate torture of Delta community leader by soldiers

Matthew Omonigho, Daily Post - Nigeria News, 26 May 2018

[accessed 27 May 2018]

At the Barracks, Odiete was stripped naked by the soldiers after which his legs and hands were chained by his abductors led by Captain Kingsley Ukwani, who severely assaulted and tortured him.   The soldiers had accused Citizen Odiete of being responsible for the disappearance of one Oghenerume Bejeru, an alleged robbery suspect caught in the act at the OgodogunOgode Urban Area in Ovwian Town.   Odiete in the process of the torture sustained multiple bruises, lacerations to the buttocks and his left upper limb swollen.

The Area Commander, ACP Muhammad M Shaba ordered the release of Citizen Odiete after he was exonerated of any wrong doing on the 23rd day of February, 2018.

SARS men allegedly torture man to death in Ogun

Jesusegun Alagbe, Punch, 21 April 2018

[accessed 24 April 2018]

Akeem’s boss, Abbey, followed the SARS men to the police station around the market to secure his bail. A policeman told him that it was a minor case and that he would be released before the end of that day. When Abbey went back in the evening, he was told that they had been taken to Abeokuta.

The following Tuesday, the police charged the suspects with robbery in a court at Ijebu Ode, but Akeem was not there. When the charges were read to them, they exclaimed that they were not robbers. The police told the court that the sixth person (Akeem) was dead. We were shocked.

Damilare said after the arraignment, he and a lawyer, on April 7, visited a prison in Ijebu Ode, where the defendants were remanded.   There he met one of the accused, identified only as Rotimi, who stated that Akeem had died from torture in SARS custody and that they were framed for robbery.

My eardrum got cracked from beating, says police torture victim

Joseph Jibueze, The Nation, 20 December 2017

[accessed 22 December 2017]

They said I should put it in writing that the sum of N1million was given to me, and that I delivered it to the suspect who killed somebody. I refused to write. They started beating me, hitting me, asking me to do what they asked me to do. The statement of my accuser was brought to me.   “They said I should put what I read in the statement in my own statement. I said let my lawyer come. They beat me more. I started writing rubbish. They took the pen from me and started writing. The more I talked, the more I was beaten. After they finished, I was asked to sign, which I did.

Adekoya said he was taken before the suspect, AbidemiBadoo”, who insisted that he gave him N1million.   Hours later, he was taken before Edgal, who interrogated AbidemiBadoo” in his presence.   “He said he knew Badoo while I was chairman of Amuwo Odofin Environmental Tax Force. The CP said: ‘Listen young man. If I should find out that this man is innocent, I won’t take it easy with you. Tell me the truth.”

“It was then the suspect said that I was innocent. He said he was tortured to mention names, including my name, and the names of some APC chiefs. The CP then directed the officers to take me to the Police College Hospital for treatment.

Why torture is on increase in Nigeria

Lawrence Njoku, The Guardian, Enugu, 4 December 2017

[accessed 4 December 2017]

Advocates of protection and promotion of human rights in Nigeria have said that the spate of torture in the country was due largely to the inability of people to initiate actions against the perpetrators.

They stated that security officials had continued to engage in the act as if it was part of their responsibility, because Nigerians failed to enforce their rights by prosecuting the offending officers.

She stated that Enugu remained one of the states with high incidence of torture, because “there are no accountabilities being demanded from security operatives.”She said the state had a record of an average of 25 cases of victims of torture yearly, stressing that the number increased to 30 this year due to archaic and mundane methods being employed by security operatives to extract information on supposed victims of crimes and criminalities in the state.

Policemen torture student for demanding to know offence

Afeez Hanafi, Punch, 13 June 2016

[accessed 4 August 2016]

“I kept telling them that I deserved to know my offence and if they couldn’t tell me, then it’s a kidnap. One of them slapped me again, while others manhandled me, so I kept quiet.”

Rasaq said the policemen allegedly collected between N5,000 and N10,000 from others, but he paid N30,000 for being ‘stubborn’ before he was released.

“We were over 70 that they arrested. They didn’t interrogate us or allow us to write any statement. The following morning, the bargain started from N10,000 and they threatened to move us to the Kirikiri Prisons. People begged and they agreed to take N5,000.

“My people begged them as well, they collected N30,000 from me for being stubborn.

Nigeria's army behind countless acts of torture and 8,000 deaths, Amnesty says

David Smith, Africa correspondent, The Guardian, 3 June 2015

[accessed 21 June 2015]

Amnesty set out on Wednesday the case against five senior Nigerian officers in a 133-page report based on hundreds of interviews, including with military sources, and leaked defence ministry documents.

Amnesty researchers also witnessed emaciated corpses in mortuaries, and one former Giwa detainee told the organisation that around 300 people in his cell died after being denied water for two days: “Sometimes we drank people’s urine, but even the urine you at times could not get.”

Former detainees and senior military sources described how detainees were regularly tortured to death, hung on poles over fires, tossed into deep pits or interrogated using electric batons.

Nigeria torture victim condemned to hang at 16 gets reprieve after 10 years on death row

Michelle Faul Associated Press AP, 1 June 2015

[accessed 18 June 2015]

[accessed 28 August 2016]

[accessed 1 August 2017]

Akatugba was a schoolboy when soldiers arrested him for allegedly stealing three cellphones. He was delivered to police officers who tortured him, including tearing out his finger and toe nails with pliers, until he signed confessions admitting to armed robbery, the activists said.

Armed robbery carries a mandatory death sentence in Nigeria, but minors are supposed to be exempt. Police often use torture to extract confessions which are used in courts despite laws prohibiting both, according to the latest U.S. State Department report on human rights in Nigeria. Torture in prisons also is common, it said.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


CONDUCT OF SECURITY FORCES - Government security forces continued to respond to the Boko Haram violence in a heavy-handed manner, leading to serious human rights violations. Suspects are routinely abused, tortured, and held incommunicado in abusive detention conditions without charge or trial.

Torture Still Happens in Nigeria

Tosin Nguher, Bella Naija, 10 November 2014

[accessed 29 November 2014]

They handcuffed my legs and tie it with rope. They now carry a big rod and cross through my leg and hands. One person lifts one side of the rod: the other person lifts the other rod. They hang me up leaving the weight of the rod on me. They now use machete, (and) one pipe iron to torture me. They tortured me in my chest, head, stomach, leg and every part of my body. By the time they torture (d) me, torture (d) me, torture (d) me, there was a lot of blood. They tortured me on my heart, my face, my waist. There are wounds on my back. My mouth was full of blood. I wanted to say help me but all that came out was blood.”

They tortured me until I lose control, until I collapse. I fainted totally. I lost control of my body. Later I woke up and found myself lying in my pool of blood. When they saw that I am awake, they ordered me to pack (pick) up my blood and eat it. The blood was mixed with sand but they told me to eat it. I ate everything. It’s smelly. I do it.

They gave me a paper and told me to sign. I wanted to know the content of the paper but they used their gun to hit my head. I could not read what they wrote inside the paper. I just signed.”

Nigeria Has Informal “Torture Officers” at Police Stations

S.E. Smith, Care2, 24 Sept 2014

[accessed 17 November 2014]

Amnesty’s press release notes that: “The report also reveals how most of those detained are held incommunicado – denied access to the outside world, including lawyers, families and courts…Torture has become such an integral part of policing in Nigeria that many police stations have an informal ‘Officer in Charge of Torture’ or O/C Torture. They use an alarming array of techniques, including nail or tooth extractions, choking, electric shocks and sexual violence.”

Nigeria: ‘Welcome to hell fire’: Torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria

Amnesty International Report, 18 Sept 2014

[accessed 17 November 2014]

Torture is a routine occurrence in Nigeria, largely to extract “confessions” or as punishment for alleged crimes. Hundreds of suspects in police and military custody across the country are being subjected to a range of physical and psychological torture or other ill-treatment. Security forces are able to act in a climate of impunity. This report reveals the experiences of former detainees who have been tortured in police and military custody and the government’s failure to prevent such violations or to bring suspected perpetrators to justice.

Amnesty: Nigerian police routinely use torture

Michelle Faul, Johannesburg, The Associated Press AP, 18 September 2014

[accessed 19 September 2014]

accessed 28 August 2016]

Nigeria's police and military routinely torture women, men and children as young as 12 with beatings, shootings, rape, electric shocks and pliers used to pull out teeth and nails, Amnesty International charged Thursday.

Amnesty says torture has become so institutionalized in Nigeria that many police stations have an informal OC Torture, meaning "officer in charge of torture."

"Across the country, the scope and severity of torture inflicted on Nigeria's women, men and children by the authorities supposed to protect them is shocking to even the most hardened human rights observer," he said.

Boy, 20, dies after police torture • We are investigating — Police

Yinka Oladoyinbo, Nigerian Tribune, Akure, 24 July 2014

[accessed 27 July 2014]

[accessed 28 August 2016]

The petition reads, “On the 21st day of July, 2014, the deceased called his younger sister, Seun Badmus, informing her of his arrest at ‘B’ Division, Akure, on the allegation of stealing  handset.

“That sequel to the arrest, the complainant instructed Corporal Adesola Awodeyi, who happened to be his friend to torture the deceased in order to admit the allegation of stealing made against the deceased.”

Badmus, however, claimed that the deceased was taken away for about 35 minutes following which he was allegedly tortured.

The petition further said, “That when the deceased was eventually brought back by Corporal Awodeyi, his face was swollen and his bulged eyes became so reddish to the extent that he could not compose himself as he began to complain of headache and stomach ache.

“That immediately the deceased was dropped, he started vomiting and foaming through his mouth and nose, and the deceased was taken to the hospital where it was confirmed that he is already dead.

Hundreds of kidnapped Nigerian school girls reportedly sold as brides to militants for $12, relatives say

Terrence McCoy, Washington Post, 30 April 2014

[accessed 30 April 2014]

Village elder Pogo Bitrus told Agence France Presse locals had consulted with “various sources” in the nation’s forested northeast. “From the information we received yesterday from Cameroonian border towns our abducted girls were taken… into Chad and Cameroon,” he said, adding that each girl was sold as a bride to Islamist militants for 2,000 naira — $12.

But the girls’ capture and alleged sell-off constitutes one of its most disturbing actions yet. On April 14, scores of armed militants stormed a dormitory in Chibok at night, captured hundreds of girls, and disappeared back into the night.

Police Deny Torturing Suspect to Obtain Statement

This Day Live, 28 February 2014

[accessed 1 March 2014]

[accessed 28 August 2016]

The Rivers Police Command Thursday denied torturing Lawal Segun, a Port Harcourt commercial taxi driver, to extract information from him in October 2012.

Njoku said the first accused person made a confessional statement without torture or any application of force.

He said Segun made two statements: one when he was arrested in October 2012, and the second after watching the video clip of the murder in Aluu village.

But Segun insisted that the police beat him and threatened to shoot him if he refused to sign the statement.

The first accused person, who was led in evidence by his counsel, said the police tortured and inflicted body injuries on him.

Cops torture driver, handcuff him over alleged disrespect

Samson Folarin, Punch, 28 February 2014

[accessed 1 March 2014]

[accessed 28 August 2016]

 “He dragged me into the police hospital. I was seriously beaten up. I was chained to the machine rail, while the man in mufti kicked me. I was told that I disrespected the rank of the man by not giving him my key.”

He said the cop vowed to dump him in the Ikoyi Prison, adding that as he was preparing the necessary papers for his detention, the superior police officer saw him where he was chained, and queried Okon.

He was said to have been released by the officer after it was discovered that he had not committed any offence.

The Anambra State indigene said after he was released from the hospital on the second day, Okon still came after him and deflated his car tyres.

Luke Gum, a graduate of Mass Communication from the Lagos State University, who also operates a cab business in the Falomo area, said cab drivers were usually harassed and extorted by policemen.

Torture: Court orders police, MainStreet bank to pay N5 million damages

News Agency of Nigeria NAN, 4 November 2013

[accessed 4 Nov 2013]

The bank driver was tortured and detained for 12 days without trial.

A High court in Oyigbo, Rivers State, has ordered the police and MainStreet bank to pay N5 million as damages to an ex-employee of the bank.

Mr. Amaefule, who was a driver to the bank, had told the court that he was arrested by the police in May and detained for 12 days and tortured.

He said that the Deputy Commissioner in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) and his officers tortured him in the commissioner’s office.

Mr. Amaefule added that the torture was to force him to write a confessional statement that he threatened to kidnap the manager.

Nigerian police routinely murder, rape and torture suspects, says rights report

Dave Clark, Economic News, Lagos, 28 July 2005

[accessed 5 Feb 2014]

[accessed 10 January 2019]

Nigerian police routinely murder, torture and rape suspects in order to extract confessions and cover up their own corruption, the US-based pressure group Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Wednesday.

The report is peppered with graphic witness accounts of how they were tied up, hung from ceilings, beaten, given electric shocks, sexually assaulted and threatened with death.

Schoolgirls told of being brought in and raped.

Most victims were suspects in ordinary crimes, but others had simply refused to pay the bribes demanded routinely and openly at police checkpoints.

"The inspector beat me with a belt and wooden sticks and sprayed teargas in my private parts

Nigerian Police rely mostly on torture to obtain information from suspects, Daily Post

[accessed 4 February 2013]

Part of the document reads: “In most of the cases handled by ASF France and its partners, the victims endured severe violence during their detention.

“Many persons” were beaten repeatedly by police officers in prison, some of them suffering particularly inhuman and degrading treatments.”

“It appears that such treatments are carried out commonly in several detention facilities by the police to obtain full confessions from detained persons.”

“In many cases, victims were detained for three or four years before they appear before a judge.”

The report further revealed the pitiable conditions of the police detention facilities, and also accused police officers of arresting relatives of suspects in cases where the accused persons are not available.

Corruption Fueling Police Abuses

Human Rights Watch, Lagos , August 17, 2010

[accessed 4 February 2013]

EMBEZZLEMENT - At the same time, senior police officials are also allegedly embezzling staggering sums of public funds meant to cover basic police operations. The 2009 budget for the Nigeria Police Force totaled $1.4 billion. But the daily reality is that embezzlement and mismanagement has left the police with limited investigatory capacity and government forensic laboratories at a near standstill. The lack of needed resources appears to lead many police officers to use torture as their primary tool for collecting information from criminal suspects.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


Unlawful killings were carried out by the police across Nigeria. In March 2012, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Governing Council said an estimated 2,500 detainees were summarily killed by the police every year.

On 8 April, Blessing Monday, a 16-year-old boy living on the streets around the Abali Park Flyover in Port Harcourt, was shot and killed by police officers from Mile 1 Police Station who suspected he had stolen a bag. The police later discovered that Blessing Monday had not stolen the bag.

On 24 May, Goodluck Agbaribote, a former resident of the demolished Abonnema Wharf in Port Harcourt, was killed by officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) while he was bathing in a communal well. The police claimed he was an armed robber.

In November, the Nigerian Police Force eventually told a High Court in Port Harcourt that Chika Ibeku, who had “disappeared” in 2009 following his arrest and detention by the police, was in fact killed by the police in a “shootout”. The family, through a local NGO, filed a lawsuit requesting the autopsy report.


Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of criminal suspects and detainees, perpetrated by the security forces, remained widespread.

On 9 January, Alexander Nworgu was arrested in Owerri, Imo State, and taken to the police anti-kidnapping unit in Rivers State. He claims that, while in custody, he was regularly beaten with a machete and suspended from the ceiling by his feet every other day. After spending more than a month in police detention he was remanded in prison on 15 February before eventually being released on bail on 6 July. The charges against him were changed to theft while he was in police detention.


Widespread corruption and disregard for due process and the rule of law continued to blight Nigeria’s criminal justice system. Many people were arbitrarily arrested and detained for months without charge. Police continued to ask people to pay money for their release from detention. Many detainees were kept on remand in prison for lengthy periods and in harsh conditions. Court processes remained slow and largely distrusted. According to the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, over 70% of people in detention were awaiting either trial or sentencing. Court orders were often ignored by police and security forces.

On 30 April, Patrick Okoroafor was released from prison after 17 years. He had been unfairly sentenced to death for robbery, at the age of 14, after an unfair trial.


Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 5   Civil Liberties: 4   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 4 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

Nigeria continues to suffer from abuses by security forces and a climate of impunity. In 2007, a UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions found that “torture and ill-treatment is widespread in police custody.”

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 4 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – Although the law prohibits such practices and provides for punishment of such abuses, police, military, and security force officers regularly beat protesters, criminal suspects, detainees, and convicted prisoners. Police physically mistreated civilians regularly in attempts to extort money from them. The law prohibits the introduction into trials of evidence and confessions obtained through torture. In some cases, persons died from torture in custody (see section 1.a.).

ARBITRARY OR UNLAWFUL DEPRIVATION OF LIFE  - Criminal suspects died from unnatural causes while in official custody, usually as the result of neglect and harsh treatment (see section 1.c.). For example on May 1, in Kubwa, police beat bus driver Gabriel Agbane while arresting him. When Agbane's family went to the police station the next day, they found him unconscious. Police released him to the family, who took him to a hospital, where he died four days later. Police announced to journalists that Agbane had been drunk during the arrest, had not been healthy, and had fainted on his own.

In its July report "Rest in Pieces - Police Torture and Deaths in Custody in Nigeria," Human Rights Watch described how in May six young men being held in police custody in connection with a bank robbery in Enugu were led before journalists at the state criminal investigation department, even though they had not been convicted of the crime. Their families were denied access to them despite repeated efforts. On May 9, the families were told the suspects had been transferred to state police headquarters in Enugu, but officers in Enugu denied they were there. Days later the bodies of the six young men were found at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital mortuary in Enugu. Officials did not respond to the families' inquiries for additional information.

In March an investigative panel released its report on the October 2004 incident in which police had secretly buried 12 bodies in a mass grave in Kaduna. The panel found that the victims had attempted a jailbreak, but that the police had acted improperly in killing them and attempting to hide the bodies. The panel forwarded its recommendations to the federal government, which had taken no action by year's end.

On June 7, police in Apo stopped six traders at a vehicle checkpoint. An argument ensued, and the police shot and killed two of the six, then detained the other four, who were subsequently killed in custody.The police attempted to bury the six bodies secretly, but Apo residents found and unearthed the bodies, then marched with the corpses to the police station. Police fled the resulting riot. The police claimed the six had been "armed robbers." Six police officers, including a deputy commissioner of police, were charged with murder. The trial continued at year's end.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Nigeria",, [accessed <date>]