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The following persons can effect arrest of a suspect:

  • A Police officer
  • A Private person
  • The Owner of a property stolen by the suspect
  • A Judge or Magistrate

One can be arrested when:

  • they suspect on reasonable grounds that you have committed an offence and that a Summons would not be appropriate;
  • a warrant (written authority) for your arrest has been issued by a court; or
  • you are committing or are about to commit an offence.

The police or any private person can arrest a suspect with or without an order of court or warrant of arrest where he suspects that a crime has been committed except the law provides otherwise.

By Section 5 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, a person shall not be handcuffed, bound or be subjected to restraint except by order of court, unless there is a reasonable apprehension of violence or an attempt to escape, or for the safety of the suspect.

It may amount to a violation of one’s right to dignity of his person under Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution if he is handcuffed, bound or subjected to any form of restraint where there is no reasonable apprehension of violence or an attempt to escape.

The person arresting you should:

  • tell you that you are under arrest; and
  • tell you why you are being arrested.

By Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution and Sections 6 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, you are not required to make any statement at the police station except you intend to do so voluntarily.

You may choose to remain silent. It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions. You do not have to talk to anyone, even if you have been arrested. You should affirmatively and unambiguously state that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to contact a lawyer or relative. Do not say anything else. Repeat to every officer who tries to talk to or question you that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to speak to a lawyer. You should always talk to a lawyer before you decide to answer any questions.

That is why the right not to talk is a fundamental right under the Constitution. The safest things to say are “I am going to remain silent,” “I want to speak to my lawyer,” and “I do not consent to a search.”

Yes you do. It will also afford you an opportunity to know what allegations were made against you and what response you should provide for them.

Where a suspect has committed an offence or suspected to have committed an offence, he may be arrested for refusing to give his name when requested.

And a refusal to give name may make the police more suspicious or hostile and lead to arrest, even without just cause.

By Sections 162 and 295 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, anyone charged to court is entitled to bail unless where a capital offence has been committed.

By Sections 30, and 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, you have a right to Police/Administrative bail before you are charged to court.

Where the offence is of a capital nature, bail may be refused but the Police officer is expected to refer the matter to the Attorney General of the Federation for legal advice and possibly arraignment in court.

By Section 161 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, a Court may under exceptional circumstances, grant bail for offences punishable with death.

If you come across a victim of rape, don’t tamper with any of the evidence. If she was just raped, report to the police immediately, get a medical form, take the victim to government established medical facility for examination and treatment. Ensure the doctor fills the medical report form and make sure the patient is treated for STIs, exposure to HIV and pregnancy. The victim must be given psycho-social counsel

No law criminalizes human sexuality. What is criminalized by law are prohibited sexual practices but not human sexuality.

A police officer may use as much force as is necessary to arrest you. Unreasonable force is assault. After arrest, a police officer may handcuff you if you attempt to escape or the officer considers it necessary to prevent you escaping. A judge or magistrate will decide whether or not the force used was reasonable in the circumstances.

By Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, you cannot be arrested in the place of another person.

It is an offence to resist arrest. Active resistance is required for a charge of resisting arrest to be laid. Police may arrest you if they reasonably believe you have committed an offence, even if, in fact, you are completely innocent. If you resist arrest, you are committing an offence with which you may be charged, even if the police do not charge you with any other offence.

By Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, a person shall not be detained at the police station beyond 48 hours.

By virtue of Section 8 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the police shall promptly charge a person arrested to court or be released whether conditionally or unconditionally.

The court having jurisdiction with respect of the offence allegedly committed, may be notified by application on behalf of the suspect, of the refusal of the police to grant the suspect bail.

The court shall then order the production of the suspect detained and inquire into the circumstances of the arrest and detention, and where it deems fit, admit the suspect to bail.

Yes. By Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution, it is discriminatory to refuse a person from standing in as a surety because of her sex. By Section 167(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, a person shall not be denied, prevented or restricted from standing as surety for any person on the ground that she is a woman.

Yes. You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you decide whether to answer questions from the Police. You have the right to have a lawyer present during any interview. The lawyer’s job is to protect your rights. You also have a right to contact a relative to notify them of your arrest and as an opportunity of putting up a defence to the allegation against you.

By Section 30 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the Police has the responsibility of notifying the next of kin or relative of the suspect arrested or detained at no cost.

The Police has no right to do so, except to effect the arrest of a suspect under a warrant by Section 12 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

By Section 144 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the Police has power to search a home but with a warrant signed by a Magistrate or Justice of the Peace, and the search can be carried out at any time on any day including a Sunday or public holiday.

The occupier of the premises upon the production of the warrant is expected to allow free access to carry out the search o the premises.

You may take notes, including names and badge numbers, the police station they are from, where they searched and what they took like.

Yes. Lawyers Watch represents every person with bias for vulnerable populations and persons with disabilities.

Every information you give to us are confidential. We are under a legal and paralegal obligation to treat your personal detail with utmost confidentiality.


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