When having an interaction with the Police, you have to be extra careful, else that issue you take for granted could land you in jail!
If you are arrested for any reason before you take any action to insist to call a Lawyer, a relative or a friend. You are entitled to it by the new Administration of Criminal Justice Laws of States of the Federation and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Insist to write your Statement your self. If you can not write, ensure you have a Lawyer with you. The easiest way to be convicted is to make a confessional statement. The Police can not force you to make a statement and they can not harm you, except you are a robber, kidnapper or you are found with guns.
Do not be forced for any reason to write what is not your voluntary statement. If the Police write your statement by themselves and they force you to sign, do not sign under any circumstances. If they threaten to throw you into the cell, do not be wary or be afraid, it is better to go to the cell for one day than to spend years in prison, based on a confessional statement that is not your will!
Do not sign as a Surety for someone on administrative bail, except you can vouch for his character, else you are going to go through a harrowing experience if the person jumped bail. It is not even an experience you wish for your enemy.
When you approach a police checkpoint, be polite to the Police officers, communicate in good English. If the Police Man is adamant, look at his name tag and address him by his name, he will be humbled. If he is in mufti, politely ask him which unit, he is from, that will also humble him.
If a Police Man was to search your phone or laptop ask him to bring a search warrant. The Police Act,2020, provides that the Police Officer needs a warrant signed by either a superior police officer (an Officer of the rank of ASP and above or a Magistrate) before they search your Chattel (Property). Your Phone and your Laptop are very private chattel, where confidential information is stored and cannot be assessed by a Security Officer, except with a Warrant. You are also entitled to get a Police Man to search himself before he searches you or your house or car! This is to ensure that you are not implicated and for the transparency of the process.
If a Police Officer misbehaves reach the Nigeria Police Complaint Response Unit in Abuja on 08057000001, 08057000002,(for calls ) and 08057000003 for SMS and WhatsApp. Ensure you have salients details like the date, time, place the incidence took place or the registration or a serial number of the patrol vehicle. With those details, they will be fished out!
Police Officers do not go on a beat except they are booked out by the Station Officer! Any other duty not booked is an illegal duty! Google the Police Control Room number of your state and save it on your phone, it could save your life or your property!
You can also get the name of the Commissioner of Police of your State or AIG of your Zone online following the online search prompts. This is also applicable to the State Police PROs.You can also reach them and if they do not pick send a text or WhatsApp Message. Senior Police Officers could be a delight to behold if you had any issue of being oppressed. Have a grasp of their contacts and see Justice being done at the highest level.
You can also report Police infractions to the Nigerian Police X-Squad. The X-Squad is the Police of the Police. You can go online and get the details of the Police X-Squad Contact of your State and that of Federal Operations.
A whole lot can be achieved with the Police using your phone and Social Media. Always have contact details of the above-indicated Officials and Offices just in case.
As you have Rights with the Police so also do you have responsibilities towards them. Always treat a Police Man with respect and DO NOT FOR ANY REASON FIGHT A POLICEMAN ON DUTY. You are expected to obey Lawful Instructions of a Police Man on duty, including those on traffic control.
When you see a mob stay away from it, what happens in a mob is held against anyone found among the mob.
Do not participate in riots and civil strife. Be careful how you attend shows and parties during festive seasons and always have your work or school ID Card with you, to separate you from the crowd if the Police were to ascertain those who are likely to carry out an act.
Some persons who went for some shows and parties during the Christmas Period are now partying in prison as we speak.
Be very careful!
About the Author.
Douglas Ogbankwa Esq., is the immediate past Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Benin Branch and he is the Convener of the Transparency Bar Initiative.
Aledeh News is not liable for opinions expressed in this article, they’re strictly the writer’s