You Cannot Be Arrested For The Offence Of Another Person

Under Nigeria’s criminal law, and in fact, all over the world, you cannot be arrested for the offence of another person, no matter how close that person is to you.

It is common in our society that Mr. A commits an offence and the Police visit his house to arrest him. When they get to Mr. A’s house, they did not meet him but met Mr. B, his younger brother, living with him. The Police then arrest Mr. B with the aim of forcing Mr. A to appear at the station and surrender himself. This is COMPLETELY WRONG!! It is a wrongful arrest and unlawful deprivation of liberty for which the Nigeria Police can be sued in claims for millions of Naira in damages. And with a report to the appropriate police authorities, the police officer who carries out such unlawful arrest would be severely punished. The complainant who led the police in effecting such wrongful arrest would also be liable in law to pay you damages.

  • The husband cannot be arrested for the offence of the wife.
  • The mother or father cannot be arrested for the sins of the son.
  • A sister cannot be arrested for the offence committed by her brother.
  • The apprentice or servant cannot be arrested for the offence committed by his master.
  • A friend cannot be arrested for the sins of his friend.
  • Even under the law, an employee of an incorporated company cannot be liable for the offence committed by the Company. This is because such a company is taken under the law to be a legal entity with a life of its own.

To further assure you that this is for real, The Administration Of Criminal Justice Law Lagos State specifically provides in Section 4 that “No person shall be arrested in lieu of any other person”. This is also guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended)  which applies throughout Nigeria. And the courts will not hesitate to enforce this accordingly.

The only instances where you can be arrested for the offence of another are as follows:

  • where you helped the person in escaping justice.
  • where you are involved in conspiracy to commit the crime.
  • where you stood as a surety/guarantor to produce the offender whenever he is needed and then he cannot be found.

These are the few instances when you may be arrested for the sins of another person. Anything outside this is illegal, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void. The courts will not hesitate to declare it so where you have your facts and evidence intact.

Many people have suffered this situation and taken it as an act of God. But make no mistake about it; your rights have just been infringed upon. If you have suffered this situation, or you know someone in similar situations, please contact your lawyer immediately.

Please note that you do not need to resist such illegal arrest so you don’t suffer unnecessary injuries/assault from the police in the process of forcefully arresting you. But make your point known on the spot that you know your rights and that you would take it up. When you are so requested, please make your statement and insist that all the necessary station entries be made by the IPO in respect of your arrest. You never mind. These are the same documents you would call for to prosecute your case on damages for the illegal arrest.

In addition, the Nigerian constitution guarantees you the following rights

  1. Right to personal liberty, which means nobody has the right to detain you except on the lawful orders of the court. The Police may also detain a citizen but it must be for a lawful purpose where he has committed or is suspected to have committed an offence;
  2. When arrested, you have a right to remain silent or avoid answering any question until you consult with your lawyer;
  • You have a right to be informed immediately in the language you understand why you are being arrested and/or detained;
  1. You have a right to be granted bail within 24 hours and if not granted bail, to be charged to court within 48 hours after arrest;
  2. You have a right to be tried only in a legally constituted court of law or tribunal; not in a kangaroo court or town council or by an unrecognized group
  3. You have a right to defend yourself or be represented by a lawyer of your choice;
  • You have a right to be given adequate time and facilities to prepare your defense;
  • You have a right to be given an interpreter if you do not understand the language used during the trial;
  1. You are entitled not to be tried twice for the same offence for which you had previously been tried and either sentenced or discharged and acquitted;
  2. You have a right not to be tried for an offence for which you have been pardoned;
  3. You have a right not to be forced to make a statement incriminating yourself or any other person.