How To Report And Discipline Police Officers


Daily Law Tips (Tip 797) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)

Introduction:
According to Transparency International (a global coalition against corruption), Nigeria is rated 149 out of 180 countries on the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, with the least being New Zealand and the worst being Somalia at position 179. Its Global Corruption Barometer reports that 44% of public service users in Nigeria paid a bribe in the last 12 months, since 2019. The Police Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Nigeria Police Force as having 7.83 corruption on a scale of 10, with Danish Police having 1.86 and Finland 2.04.

In a publication of The Global Anticorruption Blog, Marvellous Iheukwumere, reported that; “Nigeria has a serious problem with police corruption, at all levels. At the top, senior police officials embezzle staggering sums of public funds. To take just one example, in 2012, the former Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, faced trial for embezzling 16 million Naira (approximately US$44,422). Meanwhile, at the lower levels, rank-and-file police officers regularly extort money from the public, and crime victims must pay bribes before the police will handle their cases.”

Whether or not anyone agrees with the above data and trusts their owners, the Nigeria Police Force has corrupt officers and has been reprimanded several times by courts in Nigeria. The recent protests (#EndSARS) across Nigeria, for the disbandment of a department of the Nigeria Police Force, known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), is a validation of level of corruption and indiscipline in the Nigeria Police Force. There is corruption and indiscipline in every arm of government and institution in Nigeria, including; the judiciary, institutions of higher learning and religious centers. Well, this work reveals how a corrupt or unprofessional police officer can be reported and disciplined according to the federal law that regulates Nigeria Police Force (the Nigeria Police Act, 2020).

Reporting Police Officers for Misconducts:
Nigerians and foreigners in Nigeria are to be protected by the Nigeria Police Force, with the tax payers’ fund. Statutorily, the Nigeria Police Force is to protect lives and properties for free, since the police is funded by government. In reality, many persons in Nigeria have been forced to pay for police services or rather extorted by officers of the Nigeria Police Force. Instead of protecting lives and properties, many lives have been lost and properties damaged by some officers of the Nigeria Police Force and other law enforcement agencies.

This work categories all ill-mannered police officers and their conducts as misconduct, to stay in tune with the diction of the Nigeria Police Act. This covers corruptions, torture, extortion and all other crimes perpetrated or believed to have been perpetrated by a police officer. Since no man-made system is perfect, the law-makers in drafting the extant Police law (the Nigeria Police Act, 2020), also made room for the reporting, investigation and discipline of unprofessional police officers for their misconducts.

By section 131 of the Nigeria Police Act, the Inspector General of Police (the highest police officer in Nigeria and head of the police) is to create a Police Complaints Response Unit at the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force. He is to also have the in every Police Command in each state in Nigeria and in the Federal Capital Territory. The Police Complaints Response Unit is to be under the Public Relations Section of the Nigeria Police Force.

The Police Complaints Response Unit is to receive complaints or information on the misconducts of police officers, from the general public and from police officers too. The complaints may include; misconducts of police officers that resulted to death or grievous body injury of any person or a violation of human rights of any person. Complaints may also show that a police officer may have committed a criminal offence or be engaged in any form of professional misconduct. So, any complaint against a Police Officer in any part of Nigeria, should be sent to the Police Complaints Response Unit in the headquarters of police or in the nearest Police Command.

Investigating Complaints of Misconducts Against Police Officers:
The Police Complaints Response Unit is to investigate every complaint received from any person, against a police officer. During investigations of the Police Complaints Response Unit, the police officer that has a complaint against him, should be allowed to defend himself. The Police Complaints Response Unit is by law to complete its investigation within 21 days from the day that the complaint was made.

At the completion of an investigation, the Police Complaints Response Unit is to forward its report and recommendations to the Inspector General of Police or the Commission of Police in the State, through the Force Public Relations Officer or the Public Relations Officer in the State or in the Federal Capital Territory, respectively.

The Inspector General of Police or the Commission of Police in the State, upon receiving the investigation report and recommendations, is to send a copy of them to the appropriate disciplinary authority, to discipline the concerned police officer, where the police officer is found to have violated the Nigeria Police Act or its regulations. Where a false complaint if made against a police officer, the complainant will be prosecuted.

Conclusion:
Aside prosecuting a police officer for misconduct in a court of law, a police officer can be reported to the Police Complaints Response Unit of the Nigeria Police Force. The Police Complaints Response Unit has a statutory duty to accept and investigate every complaint made against a Police Officer in any part of Nigeria. The Police Complaints Response Unit is to complete its investigation within 21 days from the date a complaint is received.

The Police Complaints Response Unit is located in the headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja, and also in all the States in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. The Police Complaints Response Unit and its investigations does not affect the rights of any person to approach a court of law or the National Human Rights Commission to seek legal remedies against a police officer.

In the Nigerian court system where there is perpetual and enormous delay, engaging the Police Complaints Response Unit may be a good alternative or complement. At this time, when the Nigerian courts have been closed for eight weeks, due to failure of the State Executive Governments to grant financial autonomy to courts, the Police Complaints Response Unit should be fully utilized.

My authorities, are:
1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 14, 16, 17, 33 to 45, 214, 215, 216, 318 and 319 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
2. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 31, 90, 96, 131, 132, 133, 134 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
3. Sections 2, 7, 8, 13 and 14 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017.
4. Police Corruption Perceptions Index accessed 25 May 2021
5. Corruption Perceptions Index accessed 25 May 2021
6. Marvellous Iheukwumere,, “Fighting Police Corruption in Nigeria: An Agenda for Comprehensive Reform” (GAB, 6 September 2019) accessed 25 May 2021.
7. Onyekachi Umah, “Warrant of Arrest: Contents and Issuance” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 April 2021) accessed 25 May 2021.
8. Onyekachi Umah, “12 Situations Where Police Officers Can Arrest Without Warrant” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 June 2019) accessed 25 May 2021.
9. Onyekachi Umah, “An Ordinary Person Can Arrest A Criminal Suspect Even Without A Warrant In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 17 July 2018) accessed 25 May 2021.
10. Onyekachi Umah, “When Can Police Search A House Without A Warrant” (LearnNigerianLaw.com, 11 March 2019) accessed 25 May 2021.
11. Onyekachi Umah, “The Right Of Police To Break/Damage Any House In Search Of Suspects Even Without Warrant To Search” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 February 2019) accessed 25 May 2021.
12. Onyekachi Umah, “Contents of Police Monthly Reports To Magistrates” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 17 November 2020) accessed 25 May 2021.
13. Onyekachi Umah, “Qualifications for an Inspector General of Police” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 February 2021) accessed 25 May 2021.
14. Onyekachi Umah, “Can the Appointment of an Inspector General of Police be Extended?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 February 2021) accessed 19 April 2021.
15. Chris Admin, “Onyekachi Umah Speaks To ChannelsTv On SARS & The New Police Act” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 November 2020) accessed 25 May 2021.
16. Onyekachi Umah, “Minimum Information That Must Be In Database Of All Arrested Persons At Federal And State Levels In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 16 September 2019) accessed 25 May 2021.
17. Onyekachi Umah, “Head of a Police Station Must Make Monthly Report of Arrests to a Magistrate” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 24 August 2020) accessed 25 May 2021.
18. Onyekachi Umah, “Police Stations Now Have Supervising Magistrates” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 October 2020) accessed 25 May 2021.
19. Onyekachi Umah, “Is Nigerian Police to Investigate Cases of Missing Persons After 24 hours?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 May 2021) accessed 25 May 2021.
20. Onyekachi Umah, “An Alternative to Courts for Human Rights Cases” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 May 2021) accessed 23 May 2021.
21. Onyekachi Umah, “Stripping Suspects Naked is Torture and it’s a Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 16 February 2021) accessed 23 May 2021
22. Onyekachi Umah, “Can Police Punish Unlawful Protesters?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 February 2021) accessed 23 May 2021
23. Onyekachi Umah, “When Can A Protest Become A Riot?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 November 2020) 23 May 2021
24. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Punishment For Police (SARS) Torture” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
25. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Nigeria Police Lacks Power To Punish” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 7 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
26. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: How To Sue the Nigeria Police Force and Police Officers” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
27. “Demand justice for Police Brutality in Nigeria” (Amnesty International) accessed 23 May 2021
28. Onyekachi Umah, “Who Can Be Lawfully Killed In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 26 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
29. Femi Falana, “Police Permit Not Required For Rallies in Nigeria” (Premium Times, 23 January 2014) accessed 23 May 2021
30. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Person With A Nigerian Flag Be Shot Or Killed?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com,23 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
31. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: When & How Can Government Prohibit Protest In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
32. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: The Right To Protest Is A Human Right.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
33. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: Do You Need A Police Permit To Protest?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 16 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
34. Onyekachi Umah, “Does The President/Governors Have Powers To Lockdown Any Part Of Nigeria Or Restrict Human Rights?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 31 March 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
35. Onyekachi Umah, “Human Rights That Can Never Be Restricted Even In War, Pandemic or State of Emergency (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 April 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
36. Onyekachi Umah, “Duty of Government to Pay Compensation for Damages Caused By Riot.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 November 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
37. Onyekachi Umah, “Who Pays For Properties Damaged or Lost In A Riot In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 August 2018) accessed 23 May 2021
38. Onyekachi Umah, “List of Fundamental Human Rights In Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 22 October 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
39. Chris Admin, “Onyekachi Umah Speaks To ChannelsTv On SARS & The New Police Act” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 November 2020) accessed 23 May 2021
40. Onyekachi Umah, “What Is The Punishment For Any Person Including Police Officers That Tortures Another Person” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 December 2018) accessed 23 May 2021
41. Onyekachi Umah, “Is Obeying “Orders From Above” a Defence for Torture in Nigeria” (LearnNIgerianLaws.com, 7 September 2019) accessed 23 May 2021
42. Onyekachi Umah, “Being Present During Torture Without Participating In It, Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 25 November 2019) accessed 23 May 2021
43. Onyekachi Umah, “New Punishment for Security Officers Involved in Torture in Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 August 2017) accessed 23 May 2021
44. Onyekachi Umah, “Watching Torture but not Participating in it, is Torture.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 November 2019) accessed 23 May 2021
45. Onyekachi Umah, “Any Security Agency’s Manual/Protocol that Allows Torture Even for National Security Cases is Unlawful and its Officers are Liable.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 September 2019) accessed 23 May 2021

Sabi Law Projects:
#SabiLaw
#DailyLawTips
#SabiBusinessLaw
#SabiElectionLaws
#SabiHumanRights
#SabiLawOnTheBeatFm
#SabiLawLectureSeries
#CriminalJusticeMonday
#SabiLawVideoChallenge

Speak with the writer, ask questions or make inquiries on this topic or any other via onyekachi.umah@gmail.com, info@LearnNigerianLaws.com or +2348037665878 (whatsapp). To receive free Daily Law Tips, join our free WhatsApp group via https://chat.whatsapp.com/L7h4f1exItZ38FeuhXG4WN or Telegram group, via the below link: https://t.me/LearnNigerianLaws

To keep up to date on all free legal awareness projects of Sabi Law Foundation, follow us via
Facebook Page:@LearnNigerianLaws,
Instagram:@LearnNigerianLaws,
Twitter: @LearnNigeriaLaw,
YouTube: Learn Nigerian Laws,
WhatsApp Groups via (https://chat.whatsapp.com/L7h4f1exItZ38FeuhXG4WN),
Telegram Group: (https://t.me/LearnNigerianLaws),
Facebook group: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/129824937650907/?ref=share)
or visit our website: (www.LearnNigerianLaws.com)

Please share this publication for free till it gets to those that need it most. Save a Nigerian today! NOTE: Sharing, modifying or publishing this publication without giving credit to the author or Sabi Law Foundation is a criminal breach of copyright and will be prosecuted. This publication is the writer’s view not a legal advice and does not create any form of relationship. You may reach the writer for more information.

This publication is powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com {A Free Law Awareness Program of Sabi Law Foundation, supported by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International (BCI).} Sabi Law Foundation is a Not-For-Profit and Non-Governmental Legal Awareness Organization based in Nigeria. For sponsorship and partnership, contact: sponsorship@learnnigerianlaws.com, sabilaw.ng@gmail.com or +234 903 913 1200.

The post How To Report And Discipline Police Officers appeared first on TheNigeriaLawyer.



Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *