There have been various scenes in Nollywood
movies, where a police officer makes an attempt to arrest a citizen. Such
citizen will often inquire about the reason for his arrest and the officer will
respond that ‘when you get to the police station, you will find out the reason
for your arrest”. I have always wondered if these scenes were solely fictitious
or whether they stemmed out of the actual practice of the Nigerian Police Force.
 If the latter is the answer, this will
come as no surprise as the Nigerian Police is not popular for imbibing international
best policing practices. It is no secret that the Nigerian Police is still
heavily into torture and extortion. Moreso, the average police officer is not
educated on basic forensic protocols in crime investigations and rely usually
on forced confessions and crude methods in solving crimes.

However, this piece seeks not to criticize the
police but to enlighten members of the Nigerian public on the question – Can a police officer make an arrest without
stating the reason?
. The relevant provision of the law which addresses this
question is the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
Section 6 of the ACJA provides that –
when the suspect is in the actual course of the commission of an offence or is
pursued immediately after the commission of an offence has escaped from lawful custody,
the police officer or other persons making the arrest shall inform the suspect immediately
of the reason for the arrest
From the above, it is clear that the answer
to the question – Can a police officer
make an arrest without stating the reason?
Is “NO”. The ACJA provides that
any such officer must tell you the reason for your arrest.
Furthermore, a Nigerian police officer will
usually not inform you that upon arrest, the person arrested has a right to
remain silent and to refrain from making a statement until consultation with a
lawyer as stated further in Section 6 of the ACJA Act 2015.
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