Do You Know Series

Separating Legal Myths from the true Position of the Law

1) Did you know arrest in lieu is expressly prohibited in most criminal laws in Nigeria? Bet you didn’t, contrary to the popular opinion of “arrest im mama, the thief go commot”, it is illegal, improper and expressly prohibited for a family member or relative of an accused person or a suspect to be arrested where the suspect cannot be found.
Only the suspect can be arrested for the crime alleged to be committed. S.36 Police Force(Establishment)Act 2020. S.7 Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

2)Did you know that torture of an alleged suspect/accused person as a mode/method of questioning is illegal, unjustifiable and a punishable offence? There is no circumstance under which torture of an accused person can be justified by law to extract a confessional statement or admission of guilt.
Where torture of a suspect/accused person is shown and duly proven, the torturers(upon conviction) may face a term of imprisonment for up to 25 years( whether members of the Police Force/Armed Forces).
S.8 Anti Torture Act 2017.

3)Just before you involve the police in the recovery of debt, did you know that a police officer cannot legally effect an arrest in respect of civil wrongs or breach of contract? S.8(2)Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, S.32(2)Police Force (Establishment)Act 2020 expressly states that police officers cannot arrest any person in respect of recovering debts, mere civil wrongs and breach of contract.

4)Did you know that an accused person who has just been arrested has constitutional rights to be informed of the offence for which he has been arrested promptly and in a language he understands? Well, S.36(6)(a) 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria confers on the accused person the right to be promptly informed of the offence he is being arrested for and in the language he understands.

5)Did you know that under the Police Force (Establishment)Act 2020 a suspect has the right to elect whether or not to make a statement? This is a diversion from the erstwhile Police Force Act where the police were legally empowered to compel a suspect to make a statement.
Under the 2020 Police Act, where a suspect elects to make a statement, it must be made in the presence of a legal practitioner of his choice or an officer of the Legal Aid Council. S.60(3) Police Force (Establishment)Act 2020.