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Assaulting a police officer is a felony

Assaulting a police officer is a felony
May 20
17:20 2022

BY STANLEY ALIEKE

“Please, help me, help me; he dey carry me go place wey I no know…” That was the cry of a policewoman that was abducted by a motorist the other day which has been trending on social media.

According to the motorist, the policewoman entered his vehicle for no reason and wanted to extort him for no just cause as some police officers at motor parks or checkpoints are fond of doing, so the motorist decided to teach the policewoman a lesson. He shut the car doors and zoomed off with the officer. The policewoman had to cry for help and begged for her life before she was let go.

Netizens have been reacting to this video saying that the policewoman deserves what she got, some even threatened to replicate that with any officer that dares to enter their vehicle for any reason whatsoever to teach the law enforcement agent some lesson.

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This is not the first time we are seeing videos of this nature where a law enforcement agent has been assaulted or bullied by motorists. While we all can attest to the fact that some law enforcement agents can be nasty, rude, and power-drunk; always looking for the slightest opportunity to bully, extort, or harass individuals but it should never be the justification for people retaliating assaults on officers of the law.

People should note that when you attack or assault a law enforcement agent you have committed a serious offence known as a felony punishable with at least three years jail term in Nigeria. The act of the motorist locking up the policewoman inside his vehicle can be said to be an abduction. Abducting a law enforcement agent is a felony. Any kind of assault against a police officer is considered a violent felony.

Offences of this nature are provided for in Section 356 of the criminal code act and it is captioned “serious assaults” and it read thus:

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Any person who;

  1. assaults another with intent to commit a felony, or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful arrest or detention of himself or of any other person; or
  2. assaults, resists or wilfully obstructs a police officer while acting in the execution of his duty, or any person acting in aid of a police officer while so acting; or
  3. unlawfully assaults, resists, or obstructs, any person engaged in the lawful execution of any process against any property, or in making lawful distress, while so engaged; or
  4. assaults, resists, or obstructs any person engaged in such lawful execution of process, or in making lawful distress, with intent to rescue any property lawfully taken under such process or distress; or
  5. assaults any person on account of any act done by him in the execution of any duty imposed on him by law; or
  6. assaults any person in pursuance of any unlawful conspiracy respecting any manufacture, trade, business, or occupation, or respecting any person or persons concerned or employed in any manufacture, trade, business, or occupation, or the wages of any such person or person,
    is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

Citizens should never be found taking laws into their hands. If you are maltreated by a law enforcement agent, report the incident to the appropriate authority, assaulting a law enforcement agent is not the right way to go about it and it can never be justified for whatever reason.

If you are caught assaulting an officer of the law you have committed a felony and you can be jailed for up to three years for the offence.

Alieke is a lawyer based in Abuja. He can be reached via [email protected]

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