Do you know you are entitled to these rights if you are arrested or detained? – The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides in Section 34 (2) (3) (4) (5) and (6) for the rights of a Nigerian citizen that is arrested or detained. However, it dampens the spirit to discover that most people might not be acquainted with some of the laws that have been put in place for their protection. Every Nigerian citizen regardless of tribe, age or gender is equally entitled to these rights. In an event where there is a breach of any of these rights, the party who is aggrieved can sue for enforcement of his/her fundamental human rights. Some of the rights a person in detention or under arrest is entitled to include:
The right to remain silent; Often times when we watch an arrest scene in a Nollywood movie, we hear “You have a right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in the court of law”. When these words are spoken, they sound more like a threat rather than an assurance of a right one is entitled to. In the real sense, however, every Nigerian citizen that is arrested or detained can decide not to speak a word or answer any question till his/her legal representative is present or any other person he/she may choose.
The right to be informed about the reason for an arrest or detention
Within 24 hours after a person’s arrest or detention, he is entitled to be informed about the reason for such arrest or detention. It is also required that he is informed of the facts or grounds for the arrest or detention in writing and in a language he/she understands.
The right to be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time after arrest. A reasonable time may vary depending on whether such a person is entitled to bail or not.
The right to a public apology after an unlawful arrest or detention. It is required that this public apology be done by the appropriate authority or person which is specified by law.
As easy as it might be to claim these rights, there may be situations where any of the rights stated above are breached. When that happens, you can apply to a court