© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
QUESTION: Which law prohibits alcohol consumption in front of police stations?
The Lagos State police command arraigned two persons before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Wednesday on two charges of “of felony and breach of peace” by drinking alcohol in front of a police station.
The offenders — Wole Broad and Wale Oludare — pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail at the sum of N5,000 each, with a surety in like sum.
“The accused drank alcohol in front of Akinpelu Police Station after the commissioner of police had warned that on no account should anyone operate a beer parlour around any police station,” Rachael Williams, the police prosecutor, told the court.
According to Williams, the offences contravene Sections 57 and 412 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
But those sections of the law quoted by Williams did not even as much as contain the word “alcohol”.
Section 57 of the criminal law of Lagos has, as its subheading, “provoking breach of peace by offensive publication”.
It states: “Any person who: (a) in any manner or form publishes or offensive displays or offers to the public the pictorial publication etc. representation of any person living or dead in a manner likely to provoke any section of the community;
“(b) publishes or circulates publications either in the form of newspapers, or leaflets, periodicals, pamphlets or posters, if such publications are likely to provoke or bring into disaffection any section of the community; or
“(c) sings songs, plays any instrument or recording of sounds, or sells, lends or lets on hire any record of sounds, the words of which are likely to provoke any section of the community, is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of Ninety Thousand Naira or to imprisonment for six months.”
It is difficult to establish the connection between this provision of the law and drinking in front of a police station.
Similarly, Section 412 of the above Act is totally disconnected from the charges slammed on the accused persons. It only refers to “conspiracy in trade dispute”.
Furthermore, it is curious that the Police only arrested and arraigned the persons who were drinking at a beer parlour situated in front of a police station, and not the operator of the business itself.
The matter is already in court and the next trial date is March 16, but it does not require a soothsayer to predict that the case will most certainly be struck out and perhaps charges awarded against the police for wasting of the court’s time.