Police warn of consequences of following and harassing people

Authorities however stopped short of saying who has been affected by such activities, but it is widely believed that the police release was influenced by recent political activities that have seen members of the opposition, picket the workplace of the Speaker of the National Assembly.

Speaker Martin has come under recent scrutiny as public debate continues over a motion of no confidence that has been delayed for 15 months. Members of the opposition blame him for the delay and have tried various tactics to convince him to place the motion on the Order Paper for debate and vote. He has not been swayed, though a recent ruling by a High Court judge intimated that this should be done without further delay.

While issuing their statement, the police went further to remind the public that the activity of following and harassing persons is an offence, adding that the public should be guided by Section 4 of the Prevention of Crime Act, Chapter 4.26 of the revised Laws of the Federation.
4. Offences made punishable

(1)        Every person who does any one or more of the following acts, that is to say,

(a)        use violence to any person or any property;

(b)        threaten or intimidate any person in such a manner as would justify a Magistrate, on complaint made to him or her, to bind over the person so threatening or intimidating to keep the peace;

(c)        molest or obstruct any person in a manner defined by this section with a view to coerce such person; commits an offence against this Act, and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred and fifty dollars, or to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding three months. 

(2)        A person shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to molest or obstruct another person in any of the following cases, that is to say,

(a)        if he or she persistently follows such person about from place to place;

(b)        if he or she hides any tools, clothes, or other property, owned or used by such person, or deprives him or her of, or hinder him or her in, the use thereof;

(c)        if he or she watches or besets the house, or other place where such person resides, or works, or comes on business, or happens to be, or the approach to such house or place, or if, with two or more other persons, he or she follows such person in a disorderly manner in or through any street or road.

(3)        Nothing in this section shall prevent any person from being liable under any other Act, or otherwise, to any other, or higher, punishment than is provided for any offence by this section, so that no person be punished twice for the same offence: Provided that no person shall be liable to any punishment for doing, or conspiring to do, any act on the ground that such act restrains, or tends to restrain, the free course of trade, unless such act is one of the acts hereinbefore specified in this section, and is done with the object of coercing, as hereinbefore mentioned.


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