Interrogational torture as an abuse of human rights in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria: an ethical evaluation

  • Chidiebere Obi
  • Uchenna Ezeogu


Amnesty international had in its several reports accused the Nigerian military of using torture (which takes several inhumane forms) in her effort to defeat the Boko-Haram terrorist group. Sequel to this, it (amnesty international) usually recommends the criminalization of torture in Nigeria and the trial of the senior Nigerian army officers for sanctioning such. This is because Torture has long been prohibited by so many world’s charters such as; the Geneva Conventions, the UN convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the European convention for the prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment among other international treaties on the abolishment of torture to which almost all the countries in world (including Nigeria) are all signatories. The paper ethically evaluates this call side by side the fight against terrorism thereby considering questions like: just as every law contains some exceptions; can we talk about exceptions in the laws prohibiting torture? Are there circumstances where interrogational torture may be considered as a necessity and therefore, justifiable? What are the arguments for and against torture? Since torture is considered as an abuse of human right; what happens where there is a clash of human rights (more especially, if a party to this clash has made himself less a human by posing as a threat to other persons’ rights?) In considering theses questions, the paper concludes that the general call for the prohibition of interrogational torture should also take into account the peculiarities (such as the “ticking bomb scenario”) involved in the fight against terrorism where the use of interrogational torture may be considered prudential.

Keywords: Human rights, Torture, Interrogational torture, Terrorism, Terrorist


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eISSN: 1597-474X