The illegality of police involvement in civil dispute: A trigger for concern
There’s a rising pattern in Nigeria, the place individuals contain the police in each form of dispute, with out understanding that there’s a massive chasm and distinction between civil circumstances and disputes which might be felony in nature. Some Nigerians along side some law enforcement officials usually flip most civil issues into criminals matter.
These set of Nigerians, owing to their standing in society, monetary powers, and their relationship (connection) with some law enforcement officials normally take undue benefit of those privileges they should intimidate, harass, and threaten their fellow citizen by turning issues which might be purely civil in nature to felony issues. They do that by reporting circumstances which might be purely civil in nature to the police, and the police will out of palpable ignorance and along side this privileged Nigerians arrest, detain and in some circumstances, prosecute the poor harmless citizen in a matter that’s principally civil in nature.
A prototypical instance of such circumstances might be adumbrated right here: for instance, Mr. A takes a mortgage from Mr. B, with an settlement to pay again the mortgage inside two month, however owing to inexplicable circumstances, Mr. A is unable to pay again the mortgage inside the agreed date, Mr. B, will then experiences the matter to the police, and the police will put together a case file of both stealing, acquiring by false pretence, or every other offence towards Mr. A, whereas the matter is only a civil motion that doesn’t require the involvement of police. A lot of these conditions abound frequently in our society, and neither the police authority nor the civil liberty group is doing a lot about it.
The courtroom in plethora of circumstances have warned towards this sort of actions, in Nzegbuna and Okoye (2018) ECAR437, the courtroom held that refusal or failure to pay again a mortgage/debt although a unsuitable in its personal proper, can solely be redressed by resort to civil motion and never the involvement of the police, because the invitation of the police in a matter that’s purely civil in nature can’t be justified or permitted below any circumstance.
One other instance of police involvement in civil motion will also be illustrated in tenancy issues the place for example, a tenant who’s owing arrears of lease for about two years or extra is reported to the police by a recalcitrant and impatient landlord, the police will assist in ejecting the tenant from his premises, or the place a landlord with the help of some police officer denies some tenant of their rights, like utilization of primary utilities like electrical energy and water due to the tenant lack of ability to pay.
It’s submitted that the duties of police, as succinctly and lucidly offered for in Part 4 of Police Act, CAP 359 Legal guidelines of the Federation of Nigeria, is for the prevention and detection of crime and doesn’t embody the settlement of civil dispute or the gathering of debt or enforcement of civil settlement between events.
Samuel Okolie is a Lagos-based authorized practitioner, email@example.com, 08066756987
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