The Duration for Police to Investigate Misconducts of Police Officers.

The Duration for Police to Investigate Misconducts of Police Officers. Daily Law Tips (Tip 799) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)

Introduction:    

Since man is never perfect, the institutions of man can never be perfect. Hence, there is always room for lapses to be detected, investigated and treated. The Nigeria Police Force is established to protect lives and properties. However, there are many Police Officers that have shortened lives and damages properties of persons in Nigeria. So, having an internal mechanism for the investigation and punishment of Police Officers for their misconducts is inevitable. 

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Delay in justice is almost synonymous to judicial and administrative processes in Nigeria. Since justice delayed is justice denied, having a timely investigation of complaints made against Police Officers is a leap on to justice. The 2020 Nigeria Police Act has changed the old days, when investigation of misconducts of Police Officers by the Nigeria Police Force would take forever, since there was no statutory maximum period for investigations. 

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This work reveals the mandatory duration provided by the Police Act, for the Nigeria Police to complete investigations on complaints made against police officers. It also shows the relevant department in the Nigeria Police Force that must receive complaints made against Police Officers and the what the outcome of an investigation should be. 

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Reporting and Investigation of Police Officers’ Misconducts: 

According to Marvellous Iheukwumere; “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.” 

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The violation of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 (the federal law that regulates the Nigeria Police Force) and its Regulations or any other law in Nigeria is a misconduct. The Nigeria Police Act expects the general public to report every case of misconduct to the nearest police station, for an investigation to be carried out. 

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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 Police Complaints Response Unit 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. 

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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. Other acceptable complaints, are complaints 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. 

The Duration of Investigation of Police Misconduct: 

Investigations are never too last forever. The Police Complaints Response Unit is to investigate every complaint received from any person, against a police officer. The Police Complaints Response Unit is by law to complete its investigation within 21 days from the day that the complaint was made. 

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Counting from the day a complaint is made against a police officer for misconduct, the Police Complaints Response Unit must be law complete and conclude its investigations within 21 days. During the investigations of the Police Complaints Response Unit, the police officer that has a complaint against him, should be allowed to defend himself. The result of the investigation must be a report and a recommendation, to be forwarded to the Inspector General of Police or the Commission of Police in the State. The report and recommendation are to be sent through the Force Public Relations Officer or the Public Relations Officer in the State or in the Federal Capital Territory, respectively. 

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Conclusion: 

Gone are the days when the investigation of a police officer for misconduct by the Nigeria Police Force took forever. Like we say in Nigeria, such investigations where often “inconclusive” (abandoned and frustrated). By the federal law that regulates Police Officers in Nigeria, the Police Complaints Response Unit must accept and complete investigations against any Police Officers for misconduct, within 21 days from the day a complaint was made against a Police Officer.

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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 <https://www.indexmundi.com/surveys/results/1> accessed 25 May 2021
  5. Marvellous Iheukwumere,, “Fighting Police Corruption in Nigeria: An Agenda for Comprehensive Reform” (GAB, 6 September 2019) <https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2019/09/06/fighting-police-corruption-in-nigeria-an-agenda-for-comprehensive-reform/> accessed 25 May 2021.
  6. Onyekachi Umah, “How to Report and Discipline Police Officers” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 25 May 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/how-to-report-and-discipline-police-officers/> accessed 27 May 2021
  7. Onyekachi Umah, “Warrant of Arrest: Contents and Issuance” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 April 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/warrant-of-arrest-contents-and-issuance/> accessed 25 May 2021.
  8. Onyekachi Umah, “12 Situations Where Police Officers Can Arrest Without Warrant” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 June 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/12-situations-where-police-officers-can-arrest-without-warrant/> 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) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/an-ordinary-person-can-arrest-a-criminal-suspect-even-without-a-warrant-in-nigeria/> accessed 25 May 2021.
  10. Onyekachi Umah, “When Can Police Search A House Without A Warrant” (LearnNigerianLaw.com, 11 March 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/when-can-police-search-a-house-without-a-warrant/> 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) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/the-right-of-police-to-break-damage-any-house-in-search-of-suspects-even-without-warrant-to-search/> accessed 25 May 2021.
  12. Onyekachi Umah, “Contents of Police Monthly Reports To Magistrates” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 17 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/contents-of-police-monthly-reports-to-magistrates/> accessed 25 May 2021.
  13. Onyekachi Umah, “Qualifications for an Inspector General of Police” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 February 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/qualifications-for-an-inspector-general-of-police/> accessed 25 May 2021.
  14. Onyekachi Umah, “Can the Appointment of an Inspector General of Police be Extended?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 February 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-the-appointment-of-an-inspector-general-of-police-be-extended/> accessed 19 April 2021.
  15. Chris Admin, “Onyekachi Umah Speaks To ChannelsTv On SARS & The New Police Act” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/onyekachi-umah-speaks-to-channelstv-on-sars-the-new-police-act/> 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) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/minimum-information-that-must-be-in-database-of-all-arrested-persons-at-federal-and-state-levels-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-415-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk > 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) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/head-of-police-station-must-make-monthly-report-of-arrests/ > accessed 25 May 2021. 
  18. Onyekachi Umah, “Police Stations Now Have Supervising Magistrates” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/police-stations-now-have-supervising-magistrates/ > accessed 25 May 2021.
  19. Onyekachi Umah, “Is Nigerian Police to Investigate Cases of Missing Persons After 24 hours?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 May 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/is-nigerian-police-to-investigate-cases-of-missing-persons-after-24-hours/> accessed 25 May 2021.
  20. Onyekachi Umah, “An Alternative to Courts for Human Rights Cases” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 May 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/an-alternative-to-courts-for-human-rights-cases/> accessed 23 May 2021. 
  21. Onyekachi Umah, “Stripping Suspects Naked is Torture and it’s a Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 16 February 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/stripping-suspects-naked-is-torture-and-its-a-crime/> accessed 23 May 2021
  22. Onyekachi Umah, “Can Police Punish Unlawful Protesters?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 February 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-police-punish-unlawful-protesters/> accessed 23 May 2021
  23. Onyekachi Umah, “When Can A Protest Become A Riot?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/when-can-a-protest-become-a-riot/> 23 May 2021
  24. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Punishment For Police (SARS) Torture” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endsarsnow-punishment-for-police-sars-torture/> accessed 23 May 2021
  25. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Nigeria Police Lacks Power To Punish” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 7 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endsarsnow-nigeria-police-lacks-power-to-punish/> accessed 23 May 2021
  26. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: How To Sue the Nigeria Police Force and Police Officers” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endpolicebrutality-how-to-sue-the-nigeria-police-force-and-police-officers/> accessed 23 May 2021
  27. “Demand justice for Police Brutality in Nigeria” (Amnesty International) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/nigeria-end-impunity-for-police-brutality-end-sars/> accessed 23 May 2021
  28. Onyekachi Umah, “Who Can Be Lawfully Killed In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 26 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/who-can-be-lawfully-killed-in-nigeria/ > accessed 23 May 2021
  29. Femi Falana, “Police Permit Not Required For Rallies in Nigeria” (Premium Times, 23 January 2014) <https://www.premiumtimesng.com/opinion/153860-police-permit-required-rallies-nigeria.html> accessed 23 May 2021
  30. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Person With A Nigerian Flag Be Shot Or Killed?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com,23 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-a-person-with-a-nigerian-flag-be-shot-or-killed/ > accessed 23 May 2021
  31. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: When & How Can Government Prohibit Protest In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/when-and-how-can-government-prohibit-protest-in-nigeria/ > accessed 23 May 2021
  32. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: The Right To Protest Is A Human Right.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endpolicebrutality-the-right-to-protest-is-a-human-right/ > accessed 23 May 2021
  33. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: Do You Need A Police Permit To Protest?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 16 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endpolicebrutality-do-you-need-a-police-permit-to-protest/> 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) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/does-the-president-governors-have-powers-to-lockdown-any-part-of-nigeria-or-restrict-human-rights-daily-law-tips-tip-537-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > 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) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/human-rights-that-can-never-be-restricted-even-in-war-pandemic-or-state-of-emergency-daily-law-tips-tip-539-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 23 May 2021
  36. Onyekachi Umah, “Duty of Government to Pay Compensation for Damages Caused By Riot.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/duty-of-government-to-pay-compensation-for-damages-caused-by-riot/> accessed 23 May 2021
  37. Onyekachi Umah, “Who Pays For Properties Damaged or Lost In A Riot In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 August 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-157-who-pays-for-properties-damaged-or-lost-in-a-riot-in-nigeria/ > accessed 23 May 2021
  38. Onyekachi Umah, “List of Fundamental Human Rights In Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 22 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/list-of-fundamental-human-rights-in-nigeria/> accessed 23 May 2021
  39. Chris Admin, “Onyekachi Umah Speaks To ChannelsTv On SARS & The New Police Act” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/onyekachi-umah-speaks-to-channelstv-on-sars-the-new-police-act/> 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) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-251-what-is-the-punishment-for-any-person-including-police-officers-that-tortures-another-person/> accessed 23 May 2021
  41. Onyekachi Umah, “Is Obeying “Orders From Above” a Defence for Torture in Nigeria” (LearnNIgerianLaws.com, 7 September 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/is-obeying-orders-from-above-a-defence-for-torture-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-409-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 23 May 2021
  42. Onyekachi Umah, “Being Present During Torture Without Participating In It, Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 25 November 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/being-present-during-torture-without-participating-in-it-is-a-crime-daily-law-tips-tip-464-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 23 May 2021
  43. Onyekachi Umah, “New Punishment for Security Officers Involved in Torture in Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 August 2017) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/new-punishment-for-security-officers-involved-in-torture-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-401-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 23 May 2021
  44. Onyekachi Umah, “Watching Torture but not Participating in it, is Torture.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 November 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/watching-torture-but-not-participating-in-it-is-torture-daily-law-tips-tip-460-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> 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) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/any-security-agency-s-manual-protocol-that-allows-torture-even-for-national-security-cases-is-unlawful-and-its-officers-are-liable-daily-law-tips-tip-412-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 23 May 2021
  46. Pic Credit: ControlTv.ng

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