FREE LEGAL TIPS: 5 Things Every Nigerian should know about their rights and the Police Force
Tip No 1
Substitutional arrest is illegal. A friend or relative of a suspect is not to be arrested in place of the suspect. Let’s give an example; if the Police have reason to believe that Lakunle committed an offense and arrive his compound to arrest him but to their surprise, he is nowhere to be found. The law does not permit the Police to arrest a sister, brother, or other relatives of the suspect to ensure he surfaces from his hiding or escape.
Tip No 2
A Suspect arrested by the Police has the constitutional right to remain silent and avoid answering any questions until he or she has consulted a lawyer or any other person of his choice.
Section 35(2) of the 1999 Constitution provides for this.
Tip No 3
It is illegal for the Police to arrest a suspect merely because he or she is owing a debt that has arisen from a contract and has not been able to repay the debt. Owing debt is not a crime and Police officers are not debt recovery agents. Never forget that; any arrest and detention merely to recover debts by the Police is unlawful, wrongful, illegal, and an infringement of the right to personal liberty of the supposed debtors.
Tip No 4
It is not the duty of the Police to settle civil disputes or enforce civil agreements.
In a long line of cases Nigerian Courts have consistently held that it is unlawful for the Police to be involved in any way, in the interpretation or enforcement of contracts; and of any other civil dispute. An example is the case of McLaren v. Jennings, where the Court of Appeal held in 2003 that it was unlawful for the Police to arrest and detain the Appellant with regard to the collection of a debt; this is as, under the Law, the Police is not a debt collection agency.
Tip No 5
Where a suspect is arrested, he or she has a constitutional right to be informed of the facts and grounds for his arrest within 24 hours – Section 35 of the 1999 Consitution. This information is to be given to the suspect in a language he understands.
Nkobowo Frederick Nkobowo B.L
The information above is only provided for general information purposes and does not amount to legal advice or soliciting. Also, No Lawyer-client relationship has been created and neither can such a relationship be implied. This information is not intended to substitute the services of a lawyer, if you need legal advice, kindly consult a lawyer for your specific needs. For any further information, you could send us a mail via [email protected]