What is the penalty for assault against police officers? [Topnewstv Explainer]
In 2022, after Ice Prince assaulted a police officer in Lagos, the IGP said an attack on any officer is an affront to the rule of law.
In the video, the artist cum activist repeatedly yelled at the officer, manhandled him and then struck him in the face. The incident happened on the Third Mainland Bridge on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
What the officer did to the artiste is not yet clear but according to Seun, he assaulted the policeman because he ‘tried to kill’ him and his family.
Similar assaults happened last year
This isn’t the first time videos showing civilians harassing law enforcement agents would surface on social media.
In September 2022, Nigerian rapper Ice Prince was arrested after he allegedly abducted and threatened to throw a police officer in a river.
The police officer was said to have stopped the music star for driving a car without a number plate at 3 am.
According to the police, Ice Prince who agreed to be taken to the station for his offence allegedly kidnapped the officer and also threatened to throw him into a river.
Also, in August 2022, a viral video showed one Billy Tokunbo, assaulting a police officer after he was stopped for allegedly driving against traffic.
In the video, Tokunbo was seen dragging the officer by his trouser on the road while someone in the background asked him if he was satisfied with what he did to the policeman.
Tokunbo was subsequently arrested while his car was impounded.
What is the penalty for assaulting officers?
Due to the prevalence of assaults on police officers, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali recently vowed that attacks on police operatives won’t be tolerated anymore.
The police boss said an attack on any officer is an affront to the rule of law.
Here’s what the law says
According to Section 356 of the criminal code act, attacking a police officer is a serious offence and all the incidents highlighted above can be regarded as a felony.
Therefore, the act of locking officers in your vehicle, dragging or holding their uniforms out of anger, and resisting or obstructing arrest are termed serious assaults punishable with at least three years jail term.
Section 356 identifies the following actions as serious assaults.
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 a lawful distress, while so engaged; or
(4) assaults, resists, or obstructs any person engaged in such lawful execution of process, or in making a 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.
Any person involved in the acts stated above is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.