Judges’ Arrest: Basic Guide for Arguing For or Against the DSS

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Before you argue either in favour of the recent arrests of some judicial officers by the DSS, it is important that most of you know the following facts. They will guide you to argue intelligently and intelligibly. This is my part of contribution to the change agenda.

1. No judicial officer has immunity against, arrest, search, investigation and/or prosecution in respect of an allegation of crime.

2. The National Judicial Commission (NJC) is responsible for the appointment, discipline/punishment of judicial officers only in respect of breach of judicial ethics, and not crime.

3. Even where a judicial officer has been sanctioned by the NJC for any misconduct, the state still reserves the right to prosecute the erring officer if his misconduct amounts to a crime.

4. The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) is the procedural law that guides the activities of all federal investigating and prosecutorial agencies like the police, EFCC, ICPC, DSSS,etc., as well as the Federal High Court, High Court of the FCT, National Industrial Court, Code of Conduct Tribunal, etc.

5. Any action taken by any prosecutorial agency either during investigation or prosecution must be in line with the ACJA

4. Under the ACJA, there is no time limit or time frame when a person can be arrested. There is no day that a person cannot be arrested.

5. Sections 12 (2) & 13 ACJA give a law officer the power to break into and out of any house for the purpose of arresting a suspect who fails to let the arresting officer in.

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6. Section 43 (1) ACJA states: “A warrant of arrest may be executed on any day, including a Sunday or public holiday.”

7. The person arresting may not necessarily be the person to prosecute. A private person may arrest a suspect and hand him over to a prosecuting authority(Section 23 ACJA).

8. A person may be arrested notwithstanding that the person arresting him is not in possession of an arrest warrant on demand, but can show the warrant as soon as practicable. Section 44 ACJA.

9. “A warrant of arrest issued by a Federal High Court sitting anywhere may be executed in any part of Nigeria.” Section 47 (1) ACJA.

10. A search warrant can be executed by anyone to whom it is directed (Section 147 ACJA).

11. “A search warrant may be issued and executed at any time on any day, including a Sunday or public holiday.”(Section 148).

12. Apart from the President, vice president, Governor and a Deputy Governor, no other person has immunity from arrest and/or prosecution

Culled

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