The Police are not debt collectors and have no business with resolving civil disputes. In our previous article on whether you can be arrested for owing a debt/loan app or Bank, we made it clear that the Police are not debt collectors. The duties of the Police under the Police Act do not include the collection of debts or even the settlement of civil disputes.
Also, don’t forget, it is not a crime to be in debt in Nigeria. There is no law that makes the owing of loans or debts a criminal offence. At best, owing a loan and not paying it back would constitute a civil dispute. And remember, the Police have no business in settling civil disputes. That business is for the Courts. Just to be clear, civil disputes also include – family crisis, land ownership tussles etc.
Should you use the Police to haunt your debtors under the guise that they have defrauded you, you could be courting trouble for yourself. What we fully mean is that you could and would be liable for any fundamental rights infringement the Police carry out on your debtor due to your petition to them (the Police). In the words of the Court of Appeal; “The position is and has always been that the private individual who uses the police to settle a private score, would himself be liable for the wrongful act of the police.”. See more HERE
Also, the police themselves have a duty to sift through petitions presented to them to tell indeed if a truly criminal element exists that is worthy of the exercise of their powers.
Our Authorities are –
Section 4 of the Police Act 2020
NWADIUGWU v. IGP & ORS(2015) LPELR-26027(CA)
CP.,ONDO STATE & ORS v. KILADEJO (2020) LPELR-52286(CA)
EZEIGBO v. IKECHUKWU & ORS (2019) LPELR-48445(CA)
Nkpa v Nkume (2001) 6 NWLR Pt. 710 at Pg. 543