What Is Wrong With The New Police Bill?

September 25, 2020

Citizen is a column that explains how the government’s policies fucks citizens and how we can unfuck ourselves.


On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the new Police Establishment Act 2020, aimed at making the Nigerian police force better.

But the new law has generated sharp criticism, especially on social media. Many critics say that the law has now granted wide and unending powers to police officers.

Reasonable Grounds, Reasonable Apprehension

The new Police Act is filled with many places where it tells police officers to act where it has found “reasonable grounds”, or if there’s “reasonable apprehension”.

For instance, Section 34 of the Act says that a suspect may be handcuffed if there is “reasonable apprehension of violence or an attempt to escape”.

Section 38 also says that a police officer can arrest a suspect without a court order and without a warrant if he suspects that the person has committed an offence on “reasonable grounds” against any law in Nigeria or another country, except the law creating the offence states that the person cannot be arrested without a warrant.

What this means is that a Nigerian police officer can arrest you without warrant if he has “reasonable grounds” to believe you’re a suspect. Whether or not you’re actually a suspect is irrelevant, as long as he reasonably thinks and believes that you are. 

What is reasonable?

The question of reasonability differs from one person to another. What is reasonable to one may not be reasonable to another. With this bill, if a police officer thinks that only criminals drive a type of car, he is backed by the law to arrest an owner of that car without warrant. 

Legally, the courts have a test for reasonableness, including whether a decision is fair, just and right. But giving the Nigerian police officers these wide powers is definitely not a good thing. They will surely abuse it.

What’s the defence?

Supporters of the law argue that this same section was in the Police Act 2004 and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA 2015)

Many supporters of this Police Act have however argued that this same provision is not new and that it was in the Police Act of 2004 and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA). 

Honest Verdict

Irrespective of when this law was first signed, these powers are simply too much for the Nigerian police.

We already know, as Nigerians, that the police is filled with some of the worst Nigerians. Now that a law gives them the power to arrest anyone on “reasonable” grounds, we know they won’t be reasonable with it, as always. And waiting for a court of law to prove reasonableness is just another long grind.

This provision of the law needs to be amended or repealed. For the sake of the Nigerians.

Read: The Nigerian Police Is Recruiting, We Want These 7 Interview Questions.

Check back every weekday by 10am for more Zikoko Citizen stories.


One year ago, we left Nigeria for an 80-day adventure across West Africa. Something is coming. Unshared stories. New perspectives. Limited series. 10 episodes. Check out: Jollofroad.com

 Also, read this: “We Just Dey Start” – We Went On Jollof Road, What Next?

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

October 4, 2020

Nothing symbolises how dysfunctional Nigeria has become like the terrorism that is carried out daily by faceless officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). See, I know we still don’t have 24-hour electricity 60 years after Independence. I know our roads are shite and our hospitals are crappy. But how can some criminals keep terrorising […]

October 28, 2019

When did ‘youth’ get a new meaning? View this email in your browser 25- 7 – 2019 This is Zikoko’s Game of Votes Weekly Dispatch. We share the most important things that happen in Nigeria every week. 5pm Thursdays. Stay woke.  LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THAT LIST. Not like we’re counting, but two months post-inauguration, three […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

November 25, 2019

We already guessed how many people you’ve slept with, and y’all were out here denying the truth. Anyway, we won’t hold that against you. This time, however, we’ve created a quiz that predicts who you’ll sleep with next — so you can either prepare or try (unsuccessfully) to prevent it. So, take and see:

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

November 1, 2019

Twitter is buzzing right now, bringing a new conversation to the concept of cool vs not-so-cool, especially in relationships. If you’ve been thinking about how much of a red flag you are, why don’t you let this quiz help you decide once and for all?

More from Citizen

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X