DSS might be flouting UN convention against torture

ABUJA: THE All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused theDepartment of State Services of torturing some workers to obtain forcedconfessions during the first raid on the party’s Data Centre in Ikeja.The opposition called it a contravention of the United Nations Convention against Torture, to which Nigeria is a signatory, and a violation of the citizens’ fundamental human rights.

In a statement issued on Friday, the party said for the avoidance of doubt, it was necessary to quote a relevant section of the UN Convention.

“The DSS may be treading on dangerous ground, as it continues in its efforts to intimidate, harass and weaken the opposition to give the People’s Democratic Party an undue advantage ahead of next year’s polls,” the party said..

It quoted Part 1 Article 1 of the UN Convention as saying in part, “For the purpose of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession”

The main opposition party said the DSS personnel who arrested the workersshackled their hands and legs and blindfolded them while they were being taken to Abuja.

“The workers remained in chains even at the dark detention cell where they were made to sleep on the bare floor for the 10 days they were detained illegally, while none of their family members knew their whereabouts all through their ordeal.

“Guns were pointed at their heads by DSS personnel who threatened to shoot them, while verbal insults were hauled at them as if they were common criminals. It is simply incredible that Nigerians can be treated like this under a democratic dispensation,” APC said.

It added that a pregnant woman among those who were arrested was denied access to her drugs even when she started bleeding due to the torture to which she was subjected by the DSS, whose officials could not be reached for comment.

“DSS, Nigerians and indeed the entire world are already shocked by your actions, including the resort to the use of torture, in violation of an international Convention which Nigeria has signed and ratified, to obtain false information from the arrested APC workers.

“What more shock can come from an institution of state that treated Nigerian citizens like animals in a gross violation of fundamental human rights?”

DSS raided the APC data centre recently following allegations the opposition party was cloning permanent voter’s cards ahead of next year’s elections.