Nov 23, 2012

SEARCH WARRANTS: Rights of Police Officers

 How a Search warrant works.   What do you do when a policeman walks up to you and demands that you empty your pockets or stops you at a check point and demands to search your vehicle or maybe even your house? At such times, i have always yielded to their demands and i am sure you have too.
But do policeman really have the authority to search a person at will? Let's find out from the following parahraphs. 
A search is an examination of a person's body, vehicle, house, premises, aircraft or any other vessel, with a view to discovering contraband, illicit or stolen property, or some evidence of guilt to be used in the prosecution of a criminal action for some other crime or offence with which he is charged. A search may be that of a person's body or may be by way of a medical examination of the body of a person suspected of having committeda crime, for instance, a DNA sample taken and examined by a qualified medical examiner.  

The Nigerian Police do have the authority by virtue of the Police Act to search persons and premises.  In the course of executing a search warrant, the law states that a woman can only be searched by another woman, it is prohibited by law for a man to search the body of a woman though no rule states that a woman  cannot search a man.  When searching premises, the search must be conducted in the presence of two respectable inhabitants of the neighborhood summoned by the person to whom the search warrant is addressed. It is lawful for a policeman to detain and search any person whom he reasonably suspects of having in his possession any stolen item.

It is mandatoty that before a search warrant is executed, the warrant must be shown to the person to whom it is addressed and items found during a search are liable to be seized by the police. It should be noted that according to Nigerian law, any item illegally obtained by the police may still be admiitted in court as evidence. A search is obviously from the above stated paragraphs very critical to a police investigation as it aids the Police in gathering intelligence which will help resolve the crime.  

Adedunmade Onibokun Esq


  1. How about searching a policeman first in case of a home search for not to plant any exhibit...?

  2. Very good question above. Always wondered why policemen go into rooms alone, only to come out screaming with an item u have never owned or seen.

  3. Under the first revise, it is expected that when the warrant is gone away to conduct a find of property or person, that must be legal unless there are extenuating criteria. I appreciate you for sharing such an important information.

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  4. Nice one. However, the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2007 (ACJL) provides in Section 5(2) that: "whenever it is necessary to search a person, he shall be searched by a person of the same sex with a sense of decency".

  5. My question is do they have the
    right to search a place without a warrant?


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