PUBLIC ORDER LAW
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
PUBLIC ORDER LAW
A Law to prohibit the carrying of Weapons at Public Meetings and Processions, the wearing of Uniforms in connection with Political Objects and the Maintenance by Private Persons of Associations of Military or similar Character; and for other matters relating to the Maintenance of Public Order on the Occasion of Public Processions and Meetings and in Public Places.
(23rd July, 1959)
(1) Any person who, while present at any public meeting or on the occasion of any public procession, has with him any weapon, otherwise than in pursuance of lawful authority, shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) For the purposes of this section a person shall not be deemed to be acting in pursuance of lawful authority unless he is acting in his capacity as a servant of the State or as a special constable.
(1) Subject as hereinafter provided, any person, who in any public place or at any public meeting wears uniform signifying his association with any political organisation or with the promotion of any political object, shall be guilty of an offence:
Provided that if a superior officer is satisfied that the wearing of any such uniform as aforesaid on any ceremonial or other special occasion will not be likely to involve risk of public disorder, he may by writing under his hand permit the wearing of such uniform on that occasion either absolutely or subject to such conditions as may be specified.
(2) Where any person is charged before any court with an offence against this section, no further proceedings in respect thereof shall be taken against him without the consent of the Attorney-General except such as the court may think necessary by remand (whether in custody or on bail) or otherwise to secure due appearance of the person charged, so, however, that if that person is remanded in custody, he shall, after the expiration of a period of twenty-one days from the date on which he was first remanded, be entitled to be discharged from custody on entering into a recognisance without sureties, unless within that period the Attorney-General has consented to such further proceedings as aforesaid.
(1) If the members or adherents of any association of persons whether incorporated or not are—
(a) organised or trained or equipped for the purpose of enabling them to be employed in usurping the functions of the police or of the armed forces of the State; or
(b) organised or trained or equipped either for the purpose of enabling them to be employed for the use or display of physical force in promoting any political object, or in such manner as to arouse reasonable apprehension that they are organised, trained or equipped for that purpose, then any person, who takes part in the control or management of the association or in so organizing or training or equipping as aforesaid any members or adherents thereof, shall be guilty of an offence:
Provided that in any proceedings against a person charged with the offence of taking part in the control or management of such an association as aforesaid, it shall be a defence to the charge to prove neither consented to nor connived at the organisation, training or equipment of members or adherents of the organisation in contravention of the provisions of this section.
(2) No prosecution shall be instituted under this section without the consent of the Attorney-General.
(3) If, upon application being made by the Attorney-General, it appears to the High Court that any association is an association of which members or adherents are organised, trained or equipped in contravention of the provisions of this section, the Court may make such order as appears necessary to prevent any disposition, without the leave of the Court, of property held by or for the association, and in accordance with rules of court (which the Chief Judge is hereby empowered to make) may direct an inquiry and report to be made as to such property as aforesaid and as to the affairs of the association, and may make such further orders as appear to the Court to be just and equitable for the application of such property—
(a) in or towards the discharge of the liabilities of the association lawfully incurred before the date of the application or since that date with the approval of the Court;
(b) in or towards the repayment of moneys to persons who became subscribers or contributors to the association in good faith and without knowledge of any such contravention as aforesaid;
(c) in or towards any cost incurred in connection with any such inquiry and report as aforesaid or in winding up or dissolving the association; and may order that any property which is not directed by the Court to be so applied as aforesaid shall be forfeited to the Government of Cross River State of Nigeria.
(4) In any criminal or civil proceedings under this section proof of things done or of words written, spoken or published (whether or not in the presence of any party to the proceedings) by any person taking part in the control or management of an association or in organising, training, or equipping members or adherents of an association shall be admissible as evidence of the purposes for which, or the manner in which, members or adherents of the association (whether those persons or others) were organised, or trained or equipped.
(5) If a judge of the High Court or a magistrate is satisfied by information on oath that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that an offence against this section has been committed, and that evidence of the commission thereof is to be found at any premises or places specified in the information he may, on an application made by a superior police officer, grant a search warrant authorising any such officer named in the warrant together with any other persons specified in the warrant and any other police officer to enter the premises or place at any time within one month from the date of the warrant, if necessary, by force, and to search the premises or place and every person found therein and to seize anything found on the premises or place or on any such person which the officer has reasonable ground for suspecting to be evidence of the commission of such an offence as aforesaid:
Provided that no woman shall, in pursuance of the warrant issued under the provisions of this subsection, be searched except by a woman.
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting the employment of a reasonable number of persons as stewards to assist in the preservation of order at any public meeting held upon private premises or the making of arrangements for that purpose or the instruction of the persons to be so employed in their lawful duties as such stewards or their being furnished with badges or other distinguishing signs.
(1) Any person, who in any public place or at any public meeting uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or whereby a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned, shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Any person, who in any public place or at any public meeting by act or speech or otherwise raises discontent or disaffection amongst inhabitants of any tribe or clan in Nigeria or promotes feelings of ill-will or hostility between tribes, clans, religious groups or sects, shall be guilty of an offence.
(1) Any person who at a public meeting acts in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which the meeting is called together, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of twenty naira or to imprisonment of one month or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(2) Any person who incites others to commit an offence under this section shall be guilty of a like offence.
(1) If the Commissioner is of the opinion that it is expedient in the interests of good order in the State or any area within the State that notice should be given of public meetings or public procession intended to be held in the State or that area, he may by order published in the Cross River State Gazette direct that not less than twenty-four hours’ notice in writing shall be given to such person or authority as may be specified in the order of every public meeting or public procession, or of any public meeting or public procession of such class as may be specified in the order which is intended to be held in the State or that area.
(2) The notice given in pursuance of an order made under this section shall be signed by the person, or one of the persons, organising the public meeting or procession to which the notice relates or, if the meeting or procession is organised by a body of persons having a president, chairman, manager, secretary or other officer, by any such officer, and shall specify—
(a) the name an address of such person or body of persons; and
(b) (i) in the case of public meeting, the time and place at which the meeting will be held;
(ii) in the case of a public procession the route to be taken by the procession and the time and place at which the procession will start; and the person by whom the notice is given shall forthwith furnish such further particulars as the person or authority receiving the notice may reasonably deem necessary for the purpose of determining whether any exercise of the powers conferred by section 9 may be expedient.
(3) Any person who—
(a) knowingly organises or assists in organising any public meeting or public procession intended to be held without notice thereof being given as required by an order made under this section; or
(b) in any notice given in pursuance of an order made under this section, or in any particulars furnished to a person or authority receiving such notice, knowingly or recklessly makes any false statement; or
(c) refuses or neglects to furnish any particulars which he is required to furnish under the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, shall be guilty of an offence.
(4) The Commissioner may delegate his power under this section to a Local Government Secretary, a public officer or a Local Government.
(1) If a superior police officer, having regard to the time or place at which and the circumstances in which any public meeting or public procession is taking place or is intended to take place (and in the case of public procession to the route taken or proposed to be taken by the procession), has reasonable grounds for beleiving that the meeting or procession may occasion serious public disorder, he may give directions imposing upon the person organising or taking part in the meeting or procession such conditions as appear to him necessary for the preservation of public order including (in the case of a public procession) conditions prescribing the route to be taken by the procession and conditions prohibiting the procession from entering any public place specific in the direction:
Provided that no conditions restricting the display of flags, banners or emblem shall be imposed under the provisions of this subsection except such as are reasonably necessary to prevent risk of a breach of peace.
(2) (a) If at any time a superior police officer is of opinion that, by reason of particular circumstances existing in the area of a Local Government of any part thereof, the powers conferred upon him by subsection (1) of this section will not be sufficient to enable him to prevent serious public disorder, he shall apply to the Local Government for an order prohibiting for such period not exceeding three months as may be specified in the application, the holding of all public processions or of any class of public processions so specified either in the area of the Local Government or in that part thereof, as the case may be, and upon receipt of the application, the Local Government may make an order either in terms of the application or with such modifications as it thinks fit.
(i) the Local Government declines to make an order upon an application; or
(ii) the Local Government makes an order with modifications and a superior police officer is of the opinion that the order will not be sufficient to meet the circumstances existing, the superior police officer may himself make an order prohibiting for such period not exceeding fourteen days the holding of all public processions or of any class of public processions so specified either in the area of that Local Government or in that part thereof, as the case may be, and may apply to the Commissioner who may in his discretion make a similar order extending the period of prohibition up to three months.
(c) Where a superior police officer is of the opinion that it is necessary for the purpose of preventing an immediate danger of a breach of the peace he may, whether or not application has been made to the Local Government, himself make an order prohibiting for such period not exceeding fourteen days the holding of all public processions or of any class of public processions so specified either in the area of that Local Government or in that part thereof, as the case may be, and may apply to the Commissioner who may in his discretion make a similar order extending the period of prohibition up to three months.
(3) An order made under this section shall be published in the Cross River State Gazette or in such other manner as may be deemed sufficient.
(4) An order made under this section shall have effect from the time when it is first published in any manner authorised by the provisions of this section or from such later time as may be specified in the order, and a certificate under the hand of the Local Government Secretary or the superior police officer (as the case may require) specifying the time of publication (other than a publication in the Cross River State Gazette) shall be conclusive evidence thereof in all legal proceedings.
(5) Any person who knowingly—
(a) fails to comply with any directions given or conditions imposed under this section; or
(b) organises or assists in organising any public meeting or public processions held or intended to be held in contravention of an order made under this section; or
(c) attends or takes part in, or incites any other person to attend or take part in, any such meeting or procession, shall be guilty of an offence.
(1) Any person, who commits an offence under section 5 of this Law, shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for six months or to a fine of two hundred naira, or to both such imprisonment and fine, or, on conviction by the High Court, to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of one thousand naira or to both such imprisonment and fine.
(2) Any person guilty of an offence under this Law shall be liable to imprisonment for three months or to a fine of one hundred naira, or to both such imprisonment and fine.
(3) A police officer may without warrant arrest any person reasonably suspected by him to be committing an offence under section, 3, 4, 6, 8 or 9 of this Law.
In this Law unless the context requires—
“Attorney-General” means the Attorney-General of Cross River State;
“clan” includes a sub-clan;
“Commissioner” means the Commissioner for the time being charged with responsibility for public order;
“meeting” means a meeting held for the purpose of the discussion of matters of public interest or for the purpose of expression of views on such matter;
“private premises” means premises to which the public have access (whether on payment or otherwise) only by permission of the owner, occupier or lessee of the premises;
“public meeting” includes any meeting in a public place and any meeting which the public or any section thereof are permitted to attend, whether on payment or otherwise;
“public place” includes any highway, public park or garden, any sea beach and any public bridge, road, lane, footway, square, court, alley or passage, whether a thoroughfare or not; and also any open space to which, for the time being the public have or are permitted to have access whether on payment or otherwise;
“public procession” means procession in a public place;
“superior police officer” means any of the following officers acting in the case of a Federal Officer with the prior general or special consent of the President published in the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette, namely—
(a) any police officer of or above the rank of cadet, assistant, superintendent;
(b) a chief officer and deputy chief officer of a Police Fire Brigade;
“tribe” includes a sub-tribe;
“uniform” does not include a badge or similar emblem or any form of customary dress.
This Law may be cited as the Public Order Law.
PUBLIC ORDER LAW
No Subsidiary Legislation