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Nigeria: Stop Torture in detention centre

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 17:39
    Stop torture in this Nigerian detention facility.

    "I was given a thorough beating. They took me to a place they called ‘theatre’… They tied my hands behind my back and tied me with a rope while I was left hanging on a rod. They were pulling the ropes from both sides” –Statement made by a former detainee in SARS Awkuzu.

    We know where torture is happening in Nigeria—and with your help we are going to try to stop it.

    Torture is common and routine in Nigeria. Suspects in military and police custody across the country are subjected to torture as punishment or to extract “confessions” as a shortcut to “solve” cases. The reliance on “confessions” together with rampant incommunicado detention and a system riddled with corruption provides the ideal setting for torture and other ill-treatment.

    A wide range of torture methods are used including beatings, shootings, nail and teeth extractions, and rape and other sexual violence. Many detention facilities have “torture chambers.” Officials are able to torture and get away with it because most complaints about torture don’t lead to an investigation, and rarely to prosecution.

    The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Headquarters in Awkuzu, Anambra State has a torture chamber. And it is used all too frequently.


    By shining a light on the atrocities taking place inside this detention centre we want to send a strong message to officials that what they are doing is wrong and the world is watching them.

    Please send letters to SARS Headquarters using the messages in this sample text:

    Dear Sir,

    I write to express my concern in relation to those detained in SARS. Amnesty International has documented cases where people have been tortured by police in SARS Awkuzu. Detainees have also been held without charge and denied access to a legal representative or a person of choice, all in violation of the Nigerian Constitution, as well as international human rights law standards.

    I urge the police to therefore comply and:

    1. Stop the use of torture in SARS and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice;
    2. Release detainees or charge them with an internationally recognized crime; and
    3. Allow access to families, lawyers and medical care.

    Write to:

    SARS Headquarters
    Awkuzu junction
    Onitsha/Enugu Expressway, Awkuzu
    Anambra State
    Salutation: Dear Sir

    Background note

    Although torture and other ill-treatment are absolutely prohibited by international human rights law and the Nigerian Constitution, torture is not yet a criminal offence in Nigeria.


    Learn more about torture in Nigeria and our Stop Torture campaign to end torture everywhere, forever. Read Welcome to Hell Fire, Amnesty International's new report on torture and other ill-treatment in Nigeria.