Legal Consequences Of Tunji Akinosi Assaulting A Police Officer
By Adewole Kehinde
“You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
Assault is an unlawful attempt or threat to harm another. Assaulting a police officer can be argued to be a breach of this constitutional provision.
On Saturday, December 16, 2023, a video of a federal lawmaker from Ogun State, Tunji Akinosi, physically assaulting a police officer at the Iganmode Day celebration in the Sango-Otta area of the state made the rounds on social media.
While this video has prompted many observers and commentators to ponder whether assaulting a police officer in any capacity has legal consequences, one cannot help but wonder if there are defences in law that offenders of this law can use as a shield.
Let’s look at the law. Section 356(5) of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act states that a person will be said to have committed ‘Serious Assault’ when such a person “assaults, any person on account of any act done by him in the execution of any duty imposed on him by law, is guilty of a felony and liable to imprisonment for three years.”
What does this mean? This means that if any person assaults anyone for performing or while executing a duty imposed on the assaulted by law, such a person shall be guilty of serious assault under this section.
Assaulting police officers is a felony punishable by at least a six-month jail term. Even resisting arrest or obstructing a police officer from doing his duty is also an offence punishable by law.
Section 98 of the Nigerian Police Act of 2020 provides as follows: “A person who assaults, obstructs, or resists a police officer in the discharge of his duty, or aids or incites any other person to assault, obstruct, or resist a police officer or other person aiding or assisting the police officer in the discharge of his duty, commits an offence and is liable on conviction.”
Some avenues have been established to address personal grievances against police officers. In recent times, the inspector general of police and the Police Service Commission have done so well in making sure that excesses of reckless police officers are put to check.
Relating this law to the scenario of Tunji Akinosi, it is clear from the video released via social media that he assaulted this police officer by pushing and hitting him in what can be described as an aggressive manner. It is worthy of note that this officer was most likely executing his duty as a police officer, just as the Criminal Code Act states.
From available information, in May 2023, the same Akinosi knocked down a female trader with his vehicle near Onikan Stadium in Lagos and violently attacked a witness for recording the incident with her phone.
From the above, it shows that Akinosi is known for violence and public nuisance.
We have recently seen numerous police officers who were caught extorting, assaulting, and harassing people severely punished by the police authorities; some were suspended, others were demoted, and some were outright dismissed.
I look forward to Tunji Akinosi being arrested and prosecuted so that others will not want to repeat what he did, which will lead to constant assaults and physical attacks on our formidable police officers who have been risking their lives to protect us.
Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached at 08166240846. E-mail: email@example.com