I think it is high time we should address the issue of forceful barbing of dread hair style in Okene in legal perspectives. I will like to draw an issue to address for easy understanding and clarification.
I take it upon myself to address this issue legally, the validity or otherwise the action of the authority as well as the community who are involved. I will take it one after the order the highlighted issues above which are:
- What is an offense?
- Does Dreadlock hairstyle constitute an offence
- Does forceful barbing of dreadlock hair infringe on the fundamental rights of the victim?
WHAT IS AN OFFENCE?
By the provision of Chapter 1 , Section 2 of the Criminal Code Act which define an offence as an act or omission which render the person doing the act or omission liable to punishment under this code, or under any act or Law is called an offence. This provision clearly shows that where there is no law, there is no sin and where there is no sin there can be no punishment. This is telling us that for an act or omission to constitute an offence it must be written under any written law and the punishment there of must be prescribed.
DOES DREAD LOCK HAIR STYLE CONSTITUTE AN OFFENCE?
I’ve never seen in any provision of any law, where dreadlock hair style is been mentioned to be an offence. Therefore I think the authority involved in implementing that law own public an address probably an orientation as to when such law was enacted, the provision and the punishment so prescribed thereof. Because the position of law available to us at this point is that of the mother of all laws in Nigeria which is the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Section 36(8) of 1999 provides that “No person shall be held guilty of criminal offence on an account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence heavier than the penalty in force at the time the offense was committed. See the case of OMOJU vs FRN (2008) 7 NWLR (PT. 1085 ) 38 It was held in this case that the joint reading of section 36(8) and 36(12) respectively of the Constitution a person cannot be punished for an offence in customary law, which is not written. See also the case of AOKO vs FAGBEMI (1961)
DOES FORCEFUL BARBING OF DREADLOCK HAIRSTYLE CONSTITUTE INFRINGEMENT ON THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE VICTIM?
Absolutely yes! It is highly an infringement on their fundamental human rights as guaranteed under Chapter 4 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria The act is purely infringement on the victims right as provided for under section 35(1)CFRN “Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the circumstances provided under paragraph (a to f) which non we can say that is appropriate in this scenario. Therefore we can categorically say that the act constitute an infringement on their constitutional rights of liberty which can call for a court action.
In conclusion after I’ve make my submission as to what offense is and I’ve successful show that no retroactive in law. I will hereby call on the authority involved to abide by the Constitution at all level in discharge of their duties and they should not just take an order made by someone sitting in his office without checking on the position of constitution in regard to that. SECTON 1(3) CFRN provides that “if any other law is inconsistent with the provision of this constitution, this constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void” this is to tell you that if there’s any order or law to that effect such is null and void. See the case of PDP vs APC(2011)
Secondly by the provision of SECTION 36(12) CFRN “provides that a person shall not be convicted for any offence unless that offence is define and penalty therefore is prescribed in a written law” this is to tell you that the offence here is not written and no punishment is prescribed to such. That’s amount to jungle Justice. See the case of AMADI vs FRN (2011)
I will implore the said authority that they own the affected parties a compensation and an apology to be made in public in accordance with SECTION 35(6)CFRN “any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person” going by this profiso the said can be compelled to pay compensation and tender apology to the victims public for such a trespass so committed to them. Those guys have never in any way violated any written laws, they haven’t committed any sin and therefore are not entitled to be disgraced as a corrective measures. I will rest my pen at this juncture till further notice.
Prince A A Oziandu