The Nigeria Police Force on Monday told Nigerians that they have the right to search its operatives in select circumstances.
This was made known by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, in a statement titled, ‘(Part 2) Tips For Safe And Cordial Conduct During An Arrest.’
Mba said if an officer is about to search a citizen or a property, that citizen has the right to first search the policeman in order to ensure that no evidence is planted.
He said Nigerians also have the right to demand to know the reason for their arrest whenever an arrest is about to be made.
The statement reads in part, “You may politely request that the officer be searched before searching you. Often times, this helps to allay fears that someone may be trying to plant incriminating items on you or implicate you in any other way.
“Demand to see the warrant of arrest where necessary (note, however, that not all invitation/arrest requires a warrant). As a matter of fact, under our laws, the Police have wide powers to arrest without warrant in many circumstances.
“Politely request that the officers allow you inform a trusted friend or a family member or a lawyer soon after your arrest in order to avoid unnecessary apprehension as to your whereabouts or safety.
“If the arrest requires the officer to conduct a search on you, demand to see the Search Warrant and comply with all legitimate instruction during the search (note that there are a lot of instances where a policeman can search you with or without warrant).”
The Police spokesperson called on Nigerians never to resist arrest, even if it seems unjustified.
It also counselled Nigerians to never interfere in the arrest of a third party.
According to the statement, the Police may ask one to perform some tests such as walking in a straight line if a person is pulled over on suspicion of being drunk or high on drugs.
A Nigerian also has the right to decline writing a statement upon arrest.