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Monday, 30 September 2013

What to Do When Stopped By The Nigeria Police

It could happen to you.
Where are you coming from?
Where are you going to?
Where do you live?
Where do you work?
Do you have an identity card?
These are very simple questions, which can be easily answered by almost everyone. But when a police officer is involved, it can cause a lot of problems both for the officer and YOU. Most of the time, there is a reason for the officer to question you – even if it may not seem so at the time.
The officer may be investigating a complaint in the neighbourhood, or following up on a radio call concerning a crime committed in the area.
For one reason or another, you may be the individual the police suspect. You may have knowledge that will help in the investigation, or the officer may think that you are experiencing some kind of trouble.
Some times the manner in which the police question you may seem as if the officer is not respecting YOUR RIGHTS. Sometimes you may overreact to the questions and create a more serious situation. We will attempt to explain your rights. What to remember, and what to expect when an officer starts asking you a lot of questions… it could save you from answering a lot more unnecessary questions.

THE POLICE IN YOUR CAR

If you are driving a vehicle, the police can ask you to stop at any time. The best thing to do in this situation is to park and follow the directions of the officer. You will probably be asked to produce your driver’s license and particulars of the vehicle. This you must do, if asked. If you are stopped at night, turn on your interior light and show the officer that nothing is wrong. It is best to do nothing, which may give reason to search further. Having your light on and keeping your hand on the steering wheel will usually put the officer’s mind at ease.
Chances are that the officer might ask you to go if you have all your papers. The officer might say that you have violated traffic rules, if your papers are not correct or ask you to come out of your car for a search, if he is on Stop and Search duty. Remember that he or she is operating within the law in all these activities. Of course, you may explain at any point in this encounter, but you should limit your comments. Be careful how to make your points. A simple traffic violation may start costing you a fortune in fines for other violations. If you think that you have not violated any traffic rules, then carry your protest to the Police Public Complaints Bureau nearest to you.

IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY THE POLICE ON THE STREET

Most of the problems you may encounter with the police can be avoided. Remember, they think they have reason (probable cause) to stop you and ask questions. At this time, you should stop, collect your thoughts and remain calm. Whether or not you are arrested, may just depend on how calm and prepared you are at this time. There are many factors that the police may take into consideration when observing you. Every situation is different and the officer may consider the following factors,
 When you are running and a crime has been reported in the Area
 If you are hanging around with people under police investigation
 You are in an area where crime has just been reported
 You are in an area which the police believe to be abandoned or unoccupied, or a blackspot.
 You are acting in a manner, which appears to be suspicious
 The police believe you are in possession of stolen property.
 Someone else has identified you to the police.
 When you use derogatory or offensive language… You may be saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
While these things are taken into consideration when questioning you, the police MUST STILL RESPECT YOUR RIGHTS NOT TO ANSWER QUESTIONS THAT SOUND ACCUSATORY
 If the police have stopped you, they believe there is a reason to do so.
 It is best to be calm and identity yourself
 In many a situation, you can talk your way into arrest or detention as well as talk yourself out of trouble. By yelling, threatening or swearing at an officer, the BEST you can do is get yourself Arrested… and who needs that.
Follow CLEEN Foundation @cleenfoundation @LegalOil @stopthebribes
This brochure was prepared by CLEEN Foundation with support from MacArthur Foundation. CLEEN Foundation promotes public safety, security and justice through empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications in partnership with government and civil society.

Another policeman caught on video demanding N10,000 bribe

For the third time in the past two months, another policeman has been caught on video demanding a bribe of N10,000 from a motorist.
The footage, secretly filmed by a passenger at the back seat of a vehicle in Onitsha, Anambra State, has so far received thousands of hits on YouTube. The three-minute 18-second video which first appeared on the YouTube channel of one Tola Tim, has since become an Internet sensation.
In the video, a policeman apprehended the driver of a vehicle that was coming from Akure, Ondo State to Umuahia, Abia State. The policeman sat in the front seat with the driver, and after checking the vehicle particulars, declared that he had discovered some discrepancies between the documents and the chassis number.
In the video, the policeman explained that the number ‘0’ was the last number on the chassis number inscribed on the vehicle, while number ‘3’was the last number on the documents presented to him for perusal.
The driver was seen arguing with the policeman that he had asked him to veer off the road in order to enable him (policeman) do proper checking of the vehicle. Once the alleged discrepancies were discovered, the policeman insisted that he would collect N10,000 before he would release him.
The driver’s appeal that there was an unintended mix-up somewhere and that the vehicle was not a stolen one fell on deaf ears.  A nursing mother who sat at the back also appealed to the policeman.
The man in uniform bellows, “Settle us. Just give us N10,000 make I waka comot. Or is it too much? If I knew you stole the vehicle, I won’t collect money from you.”
But the driver, on noticing the adamance of the policeman, said he won’t give in to his demands.
It is three much! I want you to take me to your station. I’m not afraid of anything. I can go back to Akure. At worst, I will miss my appointment in Umuahia. Why will I part with N10,000 on the vehicle I didn’t steal? No sir! I can’t do that.
“I will rather go back to Akure, get the registration officer and other supporting documents, come back with another vehicle and clear myself. And that is to tell you that I have not done something wrong,” the driver said.
The unidentified driver also calmed the nerves of the apprehensive nursing mother who clutched a baby girl to herself. “My sister, don’t worry! At worst, you will sleep in a hotel with your baby when I go back to Akure,” the driver added.
The policeman replied, “Eh eh. It is three much. Wetin make am too much?” After ruminating over the issue for some seconds, the policeman, who was armed with a gun, ordered, “Driver, come down.” And the video went dead.
Meanwhile, outrage has trailed the incident on various social media platforms. Those who have watched the video online describe the encounter as a pointer to the depth of rot and decay in the Nigeria Police Force.
They urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to conduct an orderly room trial to ascertain the policeman’s culpability in the alleged crime and place appropriate sanctions on him if found guilty.
An anonymous reader on lindaikeji.blogspot.com says apart from condemning the act of corruption and sacking the culprit, more needs to be done to cater for the welfare of the rank and file of the police.
The reader said, “If you have a police officer as your relative, you will understand better. The income they get can’t even feed them alone not to talk of their families. The country doesn’t cater adequately for their needs. Many police barracks look like refuse dumps and they are expected to live there with their children.”
But a YouTube user, Paul Saint, argued that there is no excuse for being corrupt, attributing the behaviour to greed.
Saint stated, “This has nothing to do with the service welfare of the police. Corruption in Nigeria has nothing to do with low or high salary pay. If you are corrupt, no matter what you earn, you will still find ways to illegally enrich yourself. Most cases of corruption recorded in this country are perpetrated by persons who are otherwise fairlycomfortable with bribes.
“Corruption is as a result of greed only. Not poverty or low pay. We must condemn corruption at all times and not make excuses for it. But even if they are not well paid, there is no excuse for corruption. The most corrupt persons in Nigeria started off with collecting less than N10,000 and because we excuse them or celebrate them, they step up their demands to millions and billions. Well paid or not, do not demand or collect bribe.”
It will be recalled that three cops have so far been dismissed by the police authorities after being filmed demanding bribes from motorists.
A police sergeant, Chris Omeleze, who was caught on video camera extorting N25,000 from a motorist in Lagos in August was the first casuality of the social media whistle-blowing.
Two traffic policewomen, corporals Elizabeth Itolor and Jennifer Azingbe, who were also videotaped receiving N100 bribe from a commercial bus driver at the Oshodi/Apapa Expressway were dismissed earlier this month.
Source: Punch