Nov 19, 2015


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I have seen a number of Hollywood movies where upon arrest by the police, the suspect is read his rights. This means the suspect has been mirandized. This experience is however different from  Nollywood movies, where upon arrest, a suspect is told that he would be informed of the reason for his arrest when he gets to the police station. If this is actually the reality in Nigeria, then I must say the Nigerian police force is doing something wrong.

The doctrine of Miranda can be traced to the case of  Miranda V. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436,86. S.Ct 1602 (1966). This case discussed the admissibility of statements obtained during. It states that a criminal suspect in police custody must be informed of certain constitutional rights before being interrogated. For instance, the suspect must have been advised of the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning and the right to have an attorney appointed if the suspect cannot afford one. 

In the U.S and some other legal jurisdictions, when the suspect is not advised of these rights or does not waive them, any evidence obtained during the interrogation cannot be used against the suspect at trial. Though, this is not the case in Nigeria, the Miranda rule is not restricted to other legal jurisdictions as we have a similar provision of law in Section 6 of the Administration of Criminal Act 2015 provides that:

6(1) Except when the suspect is in the actual course of the commission of an offence or is pursued immediately after the commission of an offence or 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.
(2) The police officer or the person making the arrest or the police officer in charge of a police station shall inform the suspect of his rights to:
a. remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of his own choice;
b. consult a legal practitioner of his choice before making, endorsing or writing any statement or answering any question put to him after arrest; and  
c. free legal representation by the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria where applicable; provided the authority having custody of the suspect shall have the responsibility of notifying the next of kin or relative of the suspect of the arrest at no cost to the suspect.
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In the past, we have heard of police officers who abuse their powers, however, we must always demand a high level of professionalism from the police and other security agencies. Therefore, please share this blog and inform as many people as you can. Thank you. 

Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq.