THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 15, No. 1 (2017)
Systematic Brutality, Torture and Abuse of Human Rights by the Nigerian Police: Narratives of Inmates in Ogun State Prisons
Richard A. Aborisade & Abolaji Adewale Obileye
Department of Sociology Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State Nigeria
Nigeria is a country where serious cases of abuse of police authority and human rights infringements by security agents often stimulate intense public debate. Though there have been consistent denials by the leadership of the Nigerian Police on the use of torture-based interrogations to elicit information from arrestees, extant literature affirms that the police rely on different forms of torture as principal means of investigation. This paper appraised the recurrent problem of brutality and abuse of human right by the Nigerian police. Triangulating both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection which included questionnaires administered on 1000 accidentally selected inmates, 50 purposively selected in-depth interviewees and 10 officials of the five prisons in Ogun State who were key informants. The study found that the police rely heavily on the use of torture to elicit “confessions” from arrestees. Former detainees reported experiences that included being bound and suspended midair in painful positions, kicked and beaten with machetes, gun butts, boots, fists, electrical wires, animal hides, and other instruments. The lack of capacity to conduct proper criminal investigation is responsible for the reliance of the police on tortureinduced confessions. Therefore, there is need for the government to improve on the capacity of the Police in their investigative responsibilities and encourage professionalism amongst its rank and file.
Keywords: Brutality, human rights infringement, criminal investigations, Nigeria Police