You may become afraid of someone because they bother you, endanger your life, or are simply a nuisance, and you will need to defend yourself against them. A restraining order is one of the things you’ll need to protect yourself. The article that follows explains how to obtain a restraining order in Nigeria.
What Exactly Is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order is a temporary order issued by a court of law that prohibits the restrained party from contacting or approaching the protected party for a specified period. They are frequently asked to assist people in obtaining protection.
Nonetheless, restraining orders can keep an abuser from constantly harassing or bothering you by ordering them to stay away from your home, place of employment, school, or other locations that you frequently visit.
They are frequently accused of domestic violence, assault, battery, harassment, stalking, sexual assault, and other crimes. Restraining orders can sometimes be extended to the protected person’s family and household members.
Learn how to spot an emotional abuser and what to do before it gets that far.
Types of Restraining Orders
The following are examples of restraining orders:
1. Temporary Restraining Order
This is an order or injunction issued to keep you safe before your trial. They usually last 7-14 days. The party must persuade the judge that if the order is not issued, they will suffer immediate harm.
2. Emergency Restraining Order
These types of orders are typically granted in domestic violence cases. When a police officer receives a call, he may issue such an order due to immediate danger or inability to attend court.
The last 5-7 days, giving you time to go to court and request a domestic violence restraining order.
3. Restraining Order for Domestic Violence
Following a court hearing, a judge may issue this. This order typically lasts longer than emergency or temporary restraining orders and can last for several years.
4. Order with No Contact
Because it is issued after a court hearing and the abuser is charged with a crime, it is more akin to a judgment. It is a punishment for a crime, and it means the abuser may not have any physical or verbal contact with you.
Depending on the facts of your case, a no-contact order may be issued for a short or long period
How to Obtain a Restraining Order
1. Determine the Harassment
First, you must determine the nature of the harassment and collect evidence to back it up. For instance, if there is stalking, sexual harassment, a nuisance, or domestic violence.
2. Harassment Quantum
To obtain a restraining order in Nigeria, you must ensure that the reason for your request is not trivial, as the law does not care about trivialities (small acts).
That is, the harassment must be severe enough that you will face immediate danger if the restraining order is not granted.
3. Speak with a Lawyer
This is not required, but it is recommended. Consult a lawyer with relevant experience and skills. You will be able to go through a rigorous process with the help of a lawyer. Give the lawyer all of the details without leaving out anything.
This allows the lawyer to determine the best course of action to take.
4. Gather the Required Documents
This will be done by a lawyer. The lawyer will prepare all revenant documents based on the victim’s facts, and all necessary documents will be filed in court.
For example, an application for a domestic violence restraining order will be submitted to a court registrar along with an affidavit. They must do the same within 72 hours.
Although the lawyer has a professional duty to guide their client through the processes, make sure to follow the lawyer’s advice and ask questions. You can terminate your engagement with the lawyer at any time.
Assume you do not wish to retain the services of a lawyer due to financial constraints. If this is the case, you can seek help from non-governmental organizations, pro bono lawyers (lawyers who provide free legal services), women’s shelters, and a variety of other organizations.
You can obtain one on your own by applying to the High Court accompanied by an affidavit demonstrating prima facie (reasonable evidence) that you are in danger. This is your sworn statement in which you tell your story and provide all of the facts demonstrating why you believe a restraining order should be granted
This includes describing each specific act of harassment, how it made you feel, and any contact you’ve had with the police about it; after that, a notice will be sent to the harasser along with your affidavit.
The court can then issue an interim (temporary) restraining order that is valid throughout the federation. Following that, a substantive (main) suit can be filed.
If you are having difficulty visiting the Supreme Court, the following organizations may be of assistance.
Organizations in Nigeria That Can Assist You in Obtaining a Restraining Order
1. LawyerUp Nigeria
LawyerUp Nigeria is managed by a team of enthusiastic young lawyers who educate ordinary Nigerians about their rights and responsibilities. The organization also provides pro bono services to Nigerians in need.
2. Dorothy Njemanze Foundation
This foundation offers first-responder services to victims of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as domestic violence.
3. Service for Human Rights Law (HURILAWS)
HURILAWS is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing public interest and human rights law services for the legal protection of human rights.
How to get a restraining order in Nigeria is not as difficult as it sounds, especially if you have a professional lawyer or one of the organizations on your side. It can also be stressful, but you must remain calm and trust the process.
If you found the information in this article useful or if you need clarification, please let me know in the comments section.