It was one of those habitual Friday night soirées. The ambience had an infectious zing to it and everything was almost as planned, until my friend and I got accosted by the men of the Nigerian Police Force.
It was a mild interrogation of who we were and what we were up to, until he asked my friend to tender his phone for a search. By the way, my friend is the direct opposite of the man the law has sculptured out of me. I mean if you’re in the know of some aspects of the law, you certainly won’t be coy about it when you sense an impending trample of your rights.
He handed over his mobile phone with no shred of reluctance while I stood dazed for about 10 seconds-the span it takes me to suckle on trouble and then unloose. I could have dragged the phone from the officer’s hands but he wasn’t alone, he was in a company of five-though they were distracted but I’m sure it would take them a lesser amount of time to caress their guns in assertion of control- so I maintained my cool, and then let the law loose by telling him he had no right to ask for his mobile phone, let alone search it without a search warrant. He looked at me, I maintained my fierce gaze, he laughed, I oozed brazen disapproval which made him uncomfortable enough to give the phone back with one or two distasteful jokes.
The Inspector General of Police recently reinforced the provisions of the constitution and has thus saved Nigerians from the prolonged violation of their right to private and family life, by declaring a ban on the illegal searching of phones of civilians without a warrant. This ultimately accords with the fundamental human rights of the citizens, as enshrined in Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vis-à-vis the Inspector General’s powers to make such sound pronouncements which is tailored along the provisions of Section 6 of the Police Act.
In furtherance of the duties of the police officers under Section 4 of the Police Act, it would be implored that they respect the sanctity of the oath of appointment taken by them as necessitated under Section 13 of the Police Act by adhering to the circular of the 4th of January 2016, but in the case where it is flouted, please do well by exercising your civic duties and responsibilities by bringing such disregard to the attention of the authorities @PoliceNG_CRU.
Let’s together purge the system of its rot in the little ways we can, it is a step in the right direction!