There are various methods of instituting criminal proceedings in Nigeria. It could be by way of complaint, preferring a charge or information against an accused person. The methods used in a particular case will depend on the court in which the proceedings is initiated.
Preferring a charge is the commonest method or instituting criminal proceedings in Magistrates Courts in Southern Nigeria. Such a charge is usually signed by a Police Officer1 or by a law officer if he is the one prosecuting. Section 78(b) of the Criminal Procedure Act Cap. 80 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 provides:-
(b) by bringing a person arrested with out a warrant before the Court upon a charge contained in a charge sheet specifying the name and occupation of the person charged , the charge against him and the time and p lac e where the offence is alleged to have been committed. The charge sheet shall be signed by the Police Officer in a charge of the case.
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