The police have a duty to ensure that all the constitutional rights of a suspect are respected and protected in the process of obtaining statements from a suspect in custody including the right of access to his counsel or the right to seek for free legal aid with the Legal Aid Council. A comprehensive list of the statutory rights of a suspect in police custody is provided hereunder:

  • Right to silence and right not to answer any question put to him until after consultation with his counsel: section 35(2) of the CFRN 1999 & section 3(2)(a) ACJ (R&R) L 2011 & section 6(2)(a) of the ACJA 2015
  • Right to be guided by counsel as to how to respond to questions put to him by the police: section 3(2)(a) ACJ (R&R) L 2011 & section 6(2)(b) of the ACJA 2015
  • Right to engage the services of a counsel of his choice before making or writing any statement at the police station: section 35(2) of the CFRN 1999 & section 3(2)(b) ACJ (R&R) L 2011
  • Right to free legal representation from the office of the Public Defender, the Legal Aid Council or any other establishment providing the same or similar services, where the suspect merits same: section 3(3) ACJ (R&R) L 2011 & section 19(2) of the Legal Aid Act 2011 & section 6(2)(c) of the ACJA 2015
  • Right not to utter a word throughout the period of investigation and right not to be forced to make statements orally or in writing: section 3(2)(3) ACJ (R&R) L 2011
  • Right not to be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment while being interviewed at the police station: section 34(1) of the CFRN 1999 & section 8(1) of the ACJA 2015
  • Right not to arrested merely on ground of civil wrong or breach of contract: section 8(2) of the ACJA 2015
  • Right to be informed of the reason for the arrest: section 35(3) of the CFRN 1999 and section 6 of the ACJA 2015; unless:
  1. He is caught committing the offence
  2. He is pursued & caught after committing the offence;
  3. He is caught escaping from lawful custody.
  • Right to an interpreter where he does not understand the language of the police interviewing him: section 36(6)(e) of the CFRN 1999 & section 17(3) of the ACJA 2015
  • Right to be arraigned in court within 24hours where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a 48kilometer radius from the place of arrest or 48 hours where there is no court of competent jurisdiction within a 48kilometer radius from the place of arrest, unless he is suspected of a capital offence: section 35(4) & (5) of the CFRN 1999
  • Right to be presumed innocent until presumed guilty by a court of law: section 36(5) of the CFRN 1999
  • Right to life or right not to be killed or executed extra-judicially except with the order of court: section 33(1) of the CFRN 1999
  • Right to be arrested in connection with an offence known to a written law and the punishment prescribed in a written law: section 36(12) of the CFRN 1999
  • Right not to be arrested in connection with an offence for which he had previously been tried and convicted or acquitted by a court of competent jurisdiction: section 36(9) of the CFRN 1999
  • Right to compensation and public apology for unlawful detention
  • Right not to be arrested by the use of excessive force
  • Right to be taken to a police station upon an arrest: section 14(1) of the ACJA 2015
  • Right of continuous access to his legal counsel
  • Right to medical care
  • Right to privacy of his home, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications, subject to a court order to that effect: section 37 of the CFRN 1999
  • Right to Bail and personal liberty: section 35(1) of the CFRN 1999; unless:
  1. In execution of sentence or order of court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty; or
  2. By reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court; or
  3. In order to secure the fulfillment of any obligation imposed upon him by law; or
  4. For the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of court; or
  5. Upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence; or
  6. To such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence.
  • Right not to be subjected to unnecessary restraints; section 5 of the ACJA 2015; except:
  1. There is reasonable apprehension of violence
  2. He attempts to escape
  3. It is necessary for his protection
  4. By order of court

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