There’s a rising pattern in Nigeria, the place folks contain the police in each type of dispute, with out understanding that there’s a huge chasm and distinction between civil instances and disputes which might be prison in nature. Some Nigerians along side some law enforcement officials typically 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 must intimidate, harass, and threaten their fellow citizen by turning issues which might be purely civil in nature to prison issues. They do that by reporting instances 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 instances, prosecute the poor harmless citizen in a matter that’s principally civil in nature.
A prototypical instance of such instances will likely 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 throughout 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 another offence towards Mr. A, whereas the matter is solely a civil motion that doesn’t require the involvement of police. Most of these conditions abound usually in our society, and neither the police authority nor the civil liberty group is doing a lot about it.
The courtroom in plethora of instances have warned towards this type of actions, in Nzegbuna and Okoye (2018) ECAR437, the courtroom held that refusal or failure to pay again a mortgage/debt though a fallacious 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 beneath any circumstance.
One other instance of police involvement in civil motion can be illustrated in tenancy issues the place as an 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 help 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 fundamental 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 08066756987