Handling Murder Cases Falls Under The Jurisdiction Of The Police

By Adewole Kehinde

“There are checks and balances and broad separation of powers under the Constitution. Each organ of the State, i.e. the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, must have respect for the others and not encroach into each other’s domain,”P. Sathasivam

On March 14, 17 military personnel comprising a lieutenant colonel, two majors, one captain, and 13 soldiers were killed while on a peacekeeping mission” in the Okuama community of Delta State.

Last week, the Defence headquarters declared some suspects wanted over the killings of soldiers in the Okuama community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Murder is not a military offence to warrant investigation by the Defence Headquarters, therefore, the Nigerian Army lacks the power to arrest, investigate and hold in custody, anyone who is not subject to the Armed Forces Act or any other military law.

In Nigeria, the responsibility of handling murder cases falls under the jurisdiction of the police. The police are tasked with investigating crimes, gathering evidence, and making arrests in cases of murder or any other criminal offence.

Section 4 of the Police Act empowers the police to detect and investigate crime.

Section 4 of the Police Acts and Regulations lists the duties of the police force to include: The prevention and detection of crime. The apprehension of offenders. The preservation of law and order.

The army is primarily responsible for national defense and maintaining security, rather than addressing civilian criminal matters like murder investigations.

After all, the Police also faced a tragic incident that occurred in Ughelli, Delta State on 23rd February 2024, where officers on a fact-finding mission were ambushed, and on 26th February 2024, when other officers on a rescue mission were also ambushed, resulting in the death of six policemen, while six others are still missing in action.

According to the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, following intensive investigative efforts, the police have apprehended eight suspects in connection with the brutal ambush attack.

The Police assures that the suspects will soon have their day in court, with credible evidence once investigations are concluded.

The Defence Headquarters should obey the constitution and hand over the investigation of the suspects involved in the gruesome murder of the 17 officers and soldiers to the Nigeria Police for due diligence.


Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached via 08166240846. Email: kennyadewole@gmail.com

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