Supreme Court says a car painter deserves an award for reporting stolen car brought to his workshop.

Abdulrahman v. The State [2019] 5 NWLR (Pt. 1664) 162 at 177, paras. C-D, per Galumje, JSC:

“Before I end this short contribution, I must commend PW2, the car paint sprayer who promptly reported the presence of the stolen car in his workshop. He is a true reflection of an honest Nigerian who deserves to be encouraged by the Law enforcement agencies. He definitely deserves an award in order to encourage others to expose criminals. It is when such people are recognized and rewarded that the fight against crime will find a new and extra momentum.”


Indeed, the society would be a better and safer place if we all work hard to discourage and prevent crimes. While the law enforcement agencies are statutorily mandated to play the major and front-line role, the rest of us can support the work by taking good steps towards crime prevention by reporting all incidences of crime to the appropriate authorities. It was for the purpose of projecting this objective that the Federal Government of Nigeria came up with the whistle-blowing initiative and the attendant monetary reward that follows.

Nevertheless, we must ensure that in playing this role as citizens and members of the society, we do so cleverly in order to minimise the life-threatening risks associated with whistle-blowing.

The Court of Appeal mentioned that honest Nigerians (like the car painter in the instant case of Abdulrahman v. The State) deserves to be encouraged by the law enforcement agencies. This is key. The reason is that, law enforcement agencies especially the Police oftentimes display some level of irresponsibility in handling cases of whistle-blowing. In some cases, the Police might even demand illegal money from the person making a report. In some others, we see the Police transferring the role of investigation and fact finding to the person making the report by their unexpected assignments and needless interrogation. More so, information may not be adequately collected and efficiently processed. The consequence of all these is that the people become discouraged, ultimately.

Beyond the award or monetary compensation, the real reward for whistle-blowing should be that the law enforcement agencies do the proper thing always by ensuring that justice is done and that the society becomes safer and better.


Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.


  • Precious Nwadimuya

    Good one! I was going to remark on how the police discourages the report of crimes. In some places, you pay money to get your petition approved, you pay mobilisation fee even though your requires that the police merely mount a discreet investigation to nab the suspect. At other times they demand for transport even if they are going no where. If they want to write a letter, you are made to beat the expenses. You pay to open casefile. I met a complainant who was beginning to regret that he had spent so much time and energy and resources just to bring to book someone who defrauded him of 200k. A very long way to go for the police

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