By: Isaac Thlama- Abuja
The Federal Government has initiated moves to ensure that detention facilities in the country conform with international best practices.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the Police Visitors Week on Monday at Life Camp Police station, in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, explained that the programme was aimed at ensuring the rights of detainees are adequately protected.
He said the innitiative is in furtherance of the commission’s mandate to carry out a periodic audit of detention centers across the country.
In the bud to ensure that the facilities conform to human rights standards.
Ojukwu said: “Monitors have been sent to one station per geographical zone, to carry out the audit in some police stations in those states.”
According to him, the task before the trained visitors, amongst others includes collecting and documenting information on suspects in Police stations, as well as the condition of the detention facilities.
Ojukwu said data gathered during the audit will be analyzed and published as report, which will be shared with all stakeholders.
He noted that: “The aim is to enhance police accountability, identify good practice and document challenges that may exist, with a view to making action-oriented recommendations to the appropriate authorities , as well as carrying out advocacy for improvement of detention facilities.”
The project which is part of a larger project on strengthening police reform in Nigeria is supported by the MacArthur Foundation, CLEEN foundation , Network For Police Reform (NOPRIN) and Rule of Law and accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC).
The Nigeria police called for the setting up of a human rights desk across the stations to ensure rights of officers and men while carrying out their duties.
The Federal Capital Territory Police Commissioner represented by an assistant commissioner in charge of life camp police station, Nendel Gomwalk, said “we are calling for a desk in the police station to protect the police rights in the cause of duties.”
He however promised to grant the NHRC unfettered access to its facilities during the audit process.