A wrongful arrest must be taken seriously as it affects an individual’s right to freedom. A suspect must be arrested under relevant laws and due process of arrest must be followed to secure such an arrest. Where the above is not respected, a court might deem it a wrongful arrest and the police force may face sanctions.

Also, regardless of the fact that a person is suspected to have committed a crime, they are not to be treated unjustly. If it is proven that an arrest is unlawful, the victim of such an arrest has the right to sue and be entitled to damages known as compensation.


What is an arrest?

An arrest is the act of apprehending and taking of a person into custody, usually because the person is suspected to have committed a crime or observed committing a crime. Whether or not the arrest is lawful, when the seizure is done, an arrest has been made.

There are procedures around how to carry out an arrest. Those arrest procedures have to respect your rights and there are options to challenge the violation of your rights in case they are not respected during arrest.

Legal action can be a way of holding the police accountable for unfair arrests or stop and searches by police.


Introduction and scope of this guide

This guide aims to give you an overview of your rights and what options you have to enforce them in relation to arrest procedures in Nigeria.

The guide provides practical tips on how action can be taken effectively. This guide may be of use to everyone who seeks knowledge about arrest generally, lawful arrest, unlawful arrest, procedures for arrest, and the rights upon arrest of an individual.

This guide also discusses how abuse of rights during arrest can be redressed and the available remedies.



This guide was put together by a team of Lawyers, CSO Experts, and Law Students (NJEF Fellows) in partnership with NULAI and Action4Justice.

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