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When You Must Assist Security Agents In Arresting Suspects

When You Must Assist Security Agents In Arresting Suspects

When You Must Assist Security Agents In Arresting Suspects. Daily Law Tips (Tip 400) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

In a society where there seems to be an unanimous conspiracy and cold war against police officers by the masses, it is common to find people hiding suspects. There are many cases of people beating police officers and shielding suspects (suspects that may not even be known to the people) for no reason. As a fact, there are communities that pride themselves as areas that police officers cannot enter to make an arrest. Well, with the massive spike in banditry and crimes generally, some of such communities are now clamoring for police protection and self-help.

May be the simple reason for the overwhelming hatred for police officers could be in their history. Growing up in the eastern part of Nigeria, the fastest way to calm a crying baby was to threaten to call the police. Hence, as children we associated the word “police” with hostility, oppression and injustice.

If learning relies on past experiences, then this theory may add to the historical foundation in the growing lack of public trust in the law enforcement agencies (and even the courts).

Some of my older friends have traced the lack of trust to the creation of the police force in Nigeria during the colonial days, as a tool of oppression for the gain of the ravaging westerners. Today, one wonders if the actions and inaction of the police continue to contribute to their lack of public trust. I will leave this issue with a warning from my learned friend, Senee-gwogwo, he said, “Kachi, don’t ever give a lift to an armed police officer”. As for his reasons for the warning, please ask your neighbors (any Nigerian that is 20 years old or above).

The above issues make it harder for Nigerians to freely and willingly support investigations, arrest and prosecution by law enforcement agencies. Expectedly, like a circle, its effect comes back to hurt us.

Now, away from what Nigerians may think or wish, there is a law that mandates persons in Nigeria to support the law enforcement agencies in making arrests. What is the law? What is the extent of the support? When can law enforcement officers request support? What will happen if a person fails to assist the a law enforcement officer to make an arrest?

Any person in Nigeria is bound to assist law enforcement agents, Judges, Magistrates or any other person in the arrest of a suspect or prevention of escape of a suspect.

A person must assist a law enforcement officer in the arrest of a suspect, where and when the person’s help is reasonably demanded.

Failure to comply to a reasonable demand to assist to make an arrest is treated as misconduct by the appropriate authority.


Sections 27, 491, 494 and 495 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and other similar laws across States in Nigeria.


Feel free to reach the author, ask questions or make inquiries on this topic or any other legal issues via or +2348037665878.


This work is published under the free legal awareness project of Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( The writer was not paid or charged any publishing fee. You too can support the legal awareness projects and programs of Sabi Law Foundation by donating to us. Donate here and get our unique appreciation certificate or memento.


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