The police force over the years has been an agency of the law established by section 214-216 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011. The core duty of the police officer is to maintain peace, law and order in the country.
The questions are; whether the police officers saddled with the responsibilities to maintain peace, law and order are aware of their limitations to towards the execution of their duties? Whether the citizens of Nigeria know their rights in the processes of the arrest?
On the first question, it is safe to say that a police officer may be aware of his right to make an arrest, but he knows nothing of his limits towards that effect.
However, the citizens of Nigeria may not know the formalities and protocols a police officer is due to take, but the following is what they know when it comes to the police;
- The police officer is never their friend but an enemy in a friendly uniform.
- That the language of 99.9% of police officers is bribery.
This is why I have taken it upon myself to educate the public on the arrest. There are things to consider when an arrest is carried out which a so-called uniformed man turns a blind eyes to. The rules are;
- A police officer conducting an arrest without the mention of the Miranda’s rights has conducted no arrest. Miranda’s right is the line of sentences expected of a police officer to say while arresting a criminal and it goes like this;”you are under arrest, and you must remain silent for anything you say will be used against you in the court of law”.
- A police officer cannot in the process of arrest handcuff a person who has submitted himself to the arrest and not resisting arrest. an officer that acts contrary to this is acting get contrary to the provision of the law excepts in cases where the person handcuffed is capable of hurting himself or others.
When an arrest is with a warrant, the name of the person to be arrested should be penned down on the warrant and the name of the officer conducting the arrest. The reason for the arrest should be stated there, and the signature of the judge who ordered the arrest otherwise, the warrant has not passed the test of a good warrant and cannot be used to arrest such a person.
It is common to see a police officer beating someone in the name of conducting an arrest. This process is unlawful and inhuman. What the law says is, “use a reasonable force necessary” when unreasonable force is used, it becomes a crime triable in the court of law.
Generally, arrest can be defined as the process of taking a suspect into custody or confinement for the purpose of trial or investigation. The process of arrest is governed by law and it expected on the part of any person exercising the power of arrest at any point in time to observe the laws guiding arrest. It is worthy of mention that a person at the point of his arrest is merely a suspect and not an accused person or a convict, thus, he is entitled to his fundamental human rights at that point.
The Criminal procedure Act provides for some salient positions as it regards arrest.
An arrest must be made with warrant subject section 10 of the CPA and other relevant legislation. A suspect being arrested should not be handcuffed or restrained unless he shows resistance to the arresting authority.
In reality, the only point of law which the polity seems to have gotten right is actually taking into custody; which is the end, the means through which this is done most times are baffling due to the disregard to the provisions of the CPA and the fundamental human right. Pursuant to the above, it is not uncommon to witness an arrest scene where the police handcuff the suspect even where he totally submits to the arrest with no resistance.
It is also not uncommon to see suspects being beaten at the point of arrest, without even being told the reason for their arrest. Also, persons are being arrested in lieu of another. For example, they are cases where a relative of a suspect is arrested when the suspect cannot be found.