Nigeria police have the widest jurisdictions over criminal-related matters in Nigeria they have been placed in a position where they deserve 100% respect and compliance with their instructions from every citizen by law even though over the years history has shown that in most cases they have failed to live up to the power and expectations placed on them by Nigerian law as a reason of their abuse of power, nepotism behavior towards an ordinary man in the society compared to the privileged ones, bribery, and abuses of power, the manner at which they comport themselves among much other reason
This has created a notion of an undeclared war between citizens vs Nigerian police which has spanned over the years.
Every common Nigerian had one or other grudges against the police or has fallen victim to the police abuses
From the foregoing even with the reservation again the police it’s a criminal offense to obstruct police from performing his duty, assault, refuse to comply with their instructions, etc
While we can agree that Police officers sometimes are unruly, unprofessional, and power-drunk in the exercise of their duties, that is not a justification for one to assault a Police officer or obstruct them in performing their duty. The rationale behind seriously criminalizing assault on police officers is the fact that the primary function of the Police under section 4 of the Police Act is a revered one, and ordinarily, the Police are expected to command respect towards the citizenry.
Section 98 of the Police Act, 2020 provides thus: “A person who assaults, obstructs or resists a Police officer in the discharge of his duty, or aids or incites any other person to assault, obstruct or resist a police officer or other person aiding or assisting the Police officer in the discharge of his duty, commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of ₦500,000 or imprisonment for a term of six months or both.
Section 356 of the Criminal Code Act: This section provides that any person who assaults a police officer in the execution of his duty is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years. This provision has been applied in several cases, including the case of State v. Adekunle (2014) 12 NWLR (Pt. 1423) 469, where the defendant was convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment for assaulting a police officer.
The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015: This Act provides for stiffer penalties for assault on police officers. Section 68 of the Act provides that any person who assaults a police officer in the execution of his duty is liable to imprisonment for seven years. This provision has been applied in some cases, including the case of State v. Ambrose (2017) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1562) 105, where the defendant was convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment for assaulting a police officer.
It is important to note that assault on a police officer is a serious offense, and can lead to severe consequences. In addition to imprisonment or fines, the offender may also face additional charges, such as obstruction of justice or resisting arrest. It is advisable to always cooperate with law enforcement officers and avoid any actions that may be deemed as assault or obstruction of justice.