September 17, 2021


Beyond law

You can make a citizen’s arrest if you witness a criminal offense

The argument in excess of the legality of private citizens arresting criminal offense suspects has become a recurring debate, offered that it is one particular of the major obligations of legislation enforcement companies.

The debate resurfaced when Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos state, arrested 3 individuals for allegedly attempting to rob a motorist.

The suspects were stated to be in the process of dispossessing the motorist of his automobile when the convoy of the governor arrived at the scene.

Some days later on, the suspects ended up arraigned at the state magistrate’s court docket, Ebute-Metta on three counts bordering on conspiracy, breach of community peace and possession of weapons — but they pleaded not responsible.

The motion of the governor, who is not saddled with the duty of arresting suspected criminals, elicited reactions, particularly on social media.

Some Nigerians faulted the go, interpreting it as a variety of publicity devoid of a lawful basis.

But it was not the initial time a governor will arrest suspected offenders. In January 2019, Akinwunmi Ambode, the previous governor of Lagos, arrested some drivers who ended up caught violating a targeted traffic legislation.

Likewise, in Might 2021, people of an estate in Lagos arrested two men who allegedly impersonated officers of the Economic and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) to extort unsuspecting residents.

The suspects have been later handed above to officers of the EFCC.

But are individuals who are not associates of regulation enforcement organizations lawfully backed to carry out the arrest of suspected criminals?

THE Position OF THE Legislation

The Nigeria Police Act of 2020 and the Administration of the Legal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 gave the leeway for a non-public citizen to arrest a person who commits an offence recognised by the legislation or is suspected of getting committed an offence.

Part 39 of the Nigeria Police Act of 2020 states that “a non-public man or woman may possibly arrest a suspect in Nigeria who in his presence commits an offence or whom he fairly suspects of getting dedicated an offence for which the police is entitled to arrest devoid of a warrant”.

This implies that citizens are authorized by the legislation to arrest suspects of a crime with no the existence of the law enforcement.

After the arrest has been made by the non-public citizen, he or she is anticipated to hand in excess of the suspect to a police officer or choose the suspect to the nearest police station.

Part 40 (1) of the Nigeria Law enforcement Act 2020 states that “a private human being who arrest a suspect shall straight away hand above the suspect so arrested to a police officer or in the absence of a police officer, shall get the suspect to the nearest police station and the police officer shall make a be aware of the title, deal with and other particulars of the private man or woman generating the arrest”.

As seen in this provision, the non-public citizen who produced the arrest is not envisioned to consider the legislation into his or her arms by way of jungle justice but hand about the suspect to the police.

After the suspect has been handed more than to the law enforcement, the law enforcement will then look into to establish if the suspect has fully commited an offence.

Segment 40 (3) states that: “Where there is rationale to believe that the suspect has dedicated an offence and he refuses, on the demand from customers of a law enforcement officer to give his title or deal with, or give a name or deal with which the law enforcement reasonably believes to be bogus, the provisions of portion 61 of this act shall apply.”

Segment 61 of the act mainly offers the law enforcement the electrical power to make an arrest.

This report is released in partnership with Report for the Globe, a global services programme that supports nearby community interest journalism.

This tale is revealed in partnership with Report for the Earth, a international provider method that supports regional community desire journalism.