This Is How You Should Be Arrested By The Nigerian Police

November 19, 2020

Citizen is a column that explains how the government’s policies fucks citizens and how we can unfuck ourselves.

National Assembly blocking electronic transmission of election results

The Nigerian police is ranked as one of the worst in the world, and the Nigerian society is notable for widespread human rights abuses. In your house or outside it, you’re always a moment away from having your rights abused by the police in Nigeria.

After the #EndSARS protests, the Nigerian police have ramped up arrests of people who are perceived to be the arrowheads of the protests. Typically, the Nigerian police round people up through whatever means necessary and then whisk a person off to a far-away place where they have no access to their friends, family or lawyer.

Here, we explain the relevant law in criminal administration in Nigeria, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015), and the important things the Nigerian police should do when they arrest you or want to have you arrested. 

Of course, whether the Nigerian police actually does these things is another matter entirely.


You:

Nigerian police:


Here are 11 rights the Nigerian police must consider when they have you arrested as enshrined in the law :

1) Use of handcuffs 

You cannot be handcuffed unless you have attempted to escape or it is necessary to handcuff you for your safety, or by an order of the court. (Section 5)

2) Notification of arrest

The police officer or anyone making the arrest must notify you of the reason for your arrest, except you were arrested while committing an offence, after committing an offence or after you escaped from a police custody. (Section 6 (1).

3) Right to a legal practitioner 

The police officer making the arrest or the police officer in charge of a police station must inform you of your right to remain silent or to avoid answering any question until after you meet a legal practitioner or anyone of your choice.

They must also inform you of your right to consult a legal practitioner before making, endorsing or writing any statement or answering any question that has been put to you.

They must also notify you of free legal representation by the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria, in the case where you are unable to afford a lawyer.

Also, the police or security authorities who are in charge of the custody where you have been arrested must notify your next of kin or relative of your arrest, and you don’t have to pay anything for this service. Section 6 (2).

4) Arresting another person

Nobody can be arrested in place of another suspect. 

This means that the police cannot arrest your friend or family member cannot be arrested in your place. (Section 7).

5) Treatment with dignity

You must be treated with dignity and humanely while in the custody of the police or whoever has arrested you. Section 8 (1)

This means that you must be treated with respect as a human being, and not as a slave or a property.

6) Arrest for a civil wrong

You cannot be arrested by the police for a civil wrong or a breach of contract. Section 8 (2).

A civil wrong is something that you have done to someone else that affects their rights, like noise pollution. 

A breach of contract is when you fail to fulfill your end of a bargain with another person.

7) Arraignment or release

You must be brought to court in accordance with the provisions of the law or be released conditionally or unconditionally. Section 8 (3).

8) Search of an arrested suspect

In the case that you have been arrested, whoever is arresting you may search you using the force that is necessary, but the person must safely keep all the properties found on you, except the clothes you’re wearing. (Section 9).

The search must also be conducted decently, and it must be done by a person who is of the same sex as you, except where it is urgent to conduct the search and a person of your gender is not around.

9. An inventory of everything recovered from you

Once you have been arrested and the items on you have been taken away by the police, the police must record everything taken away from you in an inventory, and the inventory is not invalidated even if you fail to sign it.

You can direct that your lawyer or any other person should be given a copy of the inventory, and the police can release your properties to you before you are charged to court.

The police must also return all your properties to you once they have found that you are not guilty of the offence you were being charged for. (Section 10)

10. You can only be arrested without a warrant where:

  • a police officer suspects strongly that you have committed an offence against the laws of Nigeria or against the laws of another country.
  • the offence was committed right in the presence of the police officer.
  • you have obstructed a police officer in the conduct of his duty, or you have attempted to escape or have escaped from custody.
  • a stolen property is found on you or a property that may appear as if it was stolen was found on you.
  • a police officer suspects that you ran away as a deserter from one of the armed forces in Nigeria.
  • if a police officer suspects that you have committed a crime outside Nigeria that warrants that you are arrested in Nigeria.
  • you are in a situation where you have to prove that you did not break into a house, steal a car or be in possession of any dangerous weapon.
  • the police officer believes that a court has issued a warrant for your arrest.
  • the police officer believes that you are hiding your identity because you want to commit an offence.
  • your warrant of arrest has been issued, or a Judge, Magistrate or a superior police officer has directed the police officer to arrest you.
  • the police officer believes that you are trying to commit an offence and arresting you without warrant is necessary to prevent you from committing the offence. (Section 18)

11) Notification of offence and access to communication

Once you have been arrested, with or without a warrant, the police must take you to a police station and inform you of your crime in the language that you understand.

The police must also give you reasonable time to obtain legal advice, to communicate with your family and friends on how you can meet the bail conditions and how you can make arrangements for your defence or release. (Section 14)

12) Recording of arrests

Within 48 hours of your arrest, whether you have been been arrested with or without a warrant, the police or any other security agency arresting you must take a record of your:

  • alleged offence;
  • the date and circumstance of the arrest;
  • your full name, occupation and residential address;
  • your identification records, which includes your height, your photograph, your full fingerprint impressions, and any other means of identifying you. (Section 15).

These are just some of the things you must know when the police arrest you. It is important that the police treat you with care and follow the law as you remain innocent until a court of law has proven that you are guilty. Hence, your rights must not be trampled upon.

For more on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) and how criminal processes should be embarked upon in Nigeria, read here.

We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about how to unfuck yourself when the Nigerian government moves mad. Check back every weekday for more Zikoko Citizen explainers.


Zikoko Donation Banner

Help Zikoko keep making the content you love

More than ever, people are turning to Zikoko for stories that matter and content they love. But still, we, like many media organisations, are feeling the financial heat of these times. If you find us valuable, please make a contribution to help keep Zikoko zikoko-ing.

Thank you for your support.

We are also cool with Crypto.

Donation Close
Zikoko Logo

Complete Your Commitment

Donation confirm

Your Contribution is confirmed! Amount

Doyin Olagunju

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

May 13, 2019

You ever hear some of the things perpetuated by Nigerian leaders and think: “Well, you must have been a fun head prefect to cross?” A Nigerian leader currently re-kindling adolescent nightmares and topping 2019’s “Most Arbitrary Use of Power list” is no other than the-one-who’s-agbada-must-not be-shaken, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. Through truly interesting cartwheels of the […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

black woman with afro smiling
September 20, 2021

Hair lice are tiny, wingless insects that live in the hair of humans. They feed on tiny amounts of blood they get from the scalp. They spread easily from comb to comb. It is especially rampant among kids.  It’s not easy to get rid of hair lice but here are a few tips that have […]

Recommended Quizzes

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

December 5, 2019

We already tried to guess how much you have in your account and your current net worth, and we think we did a pretty great job (keep any complaints to yourself). Now, we’re going to try and guess your monthly salary based on your relationship with money. Oya, take the quiz: 11 Timed Quizzes For […]

More from Citizen

open grazing
September 16, 2021

In Nigeria, up to 2,000 people die every year due to deadly clashes between farmers and cattle herders over rights to openly and freely graze, and the clashes made about 62,000 people homeless between 2015 and 2017.

In reaction, southern states in Nigeria are passing anti-open grazing laws. But what do they mean?

Rivers VAT
September 14, 2021

Rivers State generated ₦15 billion from VAT in June 2021, but only got ₦4.7 billion, whereas Kano State generated ₦2.8 billion naira from VAT in June 2021 and got the same ₦2.8 billion naira it made.

This is allyou need to know about the VAT crises:

Nigeria Doctors
September 2, 2021

If you live in Nigeria then you have to be careful because three things can strike at any time — thunder, “ASUU” or doctors. Presently, all three of them are in action: It’s the rainy season in Nigeria so of course thunder is present, lecturers under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are already […]

August 27, 2021

On August 14, 2021, unknown armed individuals attacked a convoy of five buses and killed at least 22 travellers along Rukuba Road in Jos North Local Government. According to multiple reports, the victims were returning to Ondo State after attending an Islamic festival in Bauchi state. Reports also say that another 23 people were injured, […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X