Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Yakub Oshoala has warned policemen to desist from arresting people in place of a suspect.
Oshoala warned that such practices amount to infringing on the fundamental human rights (FHR) of the persons arrested which were actionable and usually resulted in the award of damages by the court.
He spoke at the graduation ceremony of 200 policemen drawn from across the state trained on the respect of human rights by the Crime Victims Foundation (CRIVIFON).
No fewer than 18,600 cops from the rank of Deputy Commissioner to Constable have benefitted from this initiative across the country since inception by CRIVIFON in 2006, a gesture, Oshoala noted, was very commendable.
Oshoala also warned against the arrest and detention of underage persons in the same cells with adults, a practice the taskforce and other police divisions, area commands have been alleged to be notorious for.
According to him, such actions were crimes under the Child’s Right Act and the country’s Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, a law by the federal government which has been domesticated by 12 states- Kaduna, Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Anambra, Enugu, Cross River, Abuja and Akwa-Ibom- since enactment.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Area F conference room in Ikeja, the DPP said the impact of the human right training was being felt despite outcries of infractions by the police.
He noted that even the policemen engaged in illegal practices know in their subconscious they were running foul of the law, adding that constant reminder as provided by such trainings help keep them on their toes.
“Section 7 of ACJA forbids the police from arresting a different person from the person whom a warrant of arrest is directed at. It is a very wrong thing to do and the law is against it. There is something called Fundamental Human Right Enforcement which is now very well used in court.
“When you do something that is not allowed by law, it is the right of that victim to take a personal action against you and you will suffer damages. Most times we in the ministry face it because the victims will sue the state and the Commissioner of Police.
“We have to go a long way in trying to defend these cases. So, it is one of the issues we must consider when we are making arrest. When an arrest warrant is not directed at any person, you do not have to arrest that person. Nigeria is part of the global community and people watch what we do. We should endeavour to be police officers of modern century and that means whatever we do must comply with the law…” he said.