Nigeria and the Criminal Procedure Code in the North1 vest the power to institute or commence criminal proceedings against any person or authority on the following:
(i) The Attorney-General of the Federation and States;
(ii) The Police;
(iii) Private persons;
(iv) Special Prosecutors.
Although these persons and authorities can institute criminal proceedings in our Courts, such powers are subject to the overriding authority of the Attorney-General of the Federation or States respectively6.
Furthermore, where any of the above institute a criminal proceeding, they generally have the power to prosecute the charge.
While it is agreed that private persons can only prosecute with the consent or fiat of the Attorney General, the power of the police to prosecute in all Courts is not so clearly defined.
The aim of this paper is to examine the power of the Police to prosecute criminal proceedings in Superior Courts – the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. This will be examined in view of the recent Supreme Court decision in Federal Republic of Nigeria v. George Osahon & 7 Ors7. which is to the effect that Police Officers can prosecute criminal cases in all superior Courts in Nigeria. We shall also discuss the case of Sunday Olusegun Olusemo v. Commissioner of Police 8 . The correctness or otherwise of these decisions will be considered especially in view of the Criminal Justice administration in Nigeria. It will be shown that a construction of the relevant constitutional provisions, the High Court Laws of the States including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Federal High Court Act and certain specific statutes may exclude the power of the Police to prosecute in certain Courts. Only named persons and authorities can prosecute in such Courts