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Crime is a universally phenomenon that is threatening the security of various countries in varying degrees. Every society across the globe has its peculiar problems and challenges. Nigeria is not an exception. As a developing country, she faces her own share of social, political, economic and cultural problems which has in no small measure affected the wellbeing of the populace. One of such problems bedevilling the country is the rising wave of crime.

Policing strategy has been incorporated into modern policing so that the police will respond to democratic system of governance. Community policing should be welcomed not only because traditional policing has been failing because it is reactive rather than proactive, but also, the police personnel are part and parcels of the community that they serve. Three strategies make community policing quite distinct from traditional policing: community partnership, organizational transformation, and problem-solving.

The objectives of this research study is to examine the Nigeria police and community policing in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. This study reveals that community policing has helped in reducing crime rate in Ibadan and there exist a cordial police-community relation, the public interface with the police easily through the through the community associations, the private securities, the vigilant group and neighbourhood watch. In overall community policing has achieved great success in Ibadan as rate of crime has drastically reduced in communities where the associations operates.

Even with the positive effect of community policing, the research reviewed some of the challenges the program faced amongst the Police Force, community, as well as those emanating from the government. The research revealed that Community associations takes law into their hands; the public are used to Kin-based settlement, the aggrieved find it difficult to report to the police after been settled by the kin. It is unacceptable to report your kin to the police or to any outsiders; Also, the existence of multiple lords or ‘big men’. These are politicians, transport union leaders and gang leaders who have and maintain groups of followers who oftentimes break the law.

To overcome these challenges, the paper suggested an integrated effort from these three structures, such as reorientation programs for the police and the community, fighting corruption, and to ensure that the rule of law is obeyed by the police, community and the political leaders.


Keywords:     Community Policing, Crime Control, Crime Prevention, Crime, Prevention, Control, Effectiveness


Title                                                                                                                                   Page

Certification                                                                                                                           ii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                               iv

Abstract                                                                                                                                 vii

Table of Contents                                                                                                                  viii


Chapter One: Introduction

1.0              Background of the Study                                                                                           1

1.1       Statement of the Research Problem                                                                            3

1.2       Research Questions                                                                                                     5

1.3       Objectives of the research                                                                                           6

1.4       Definition of Terms                                                                                                    6

1.5       Significance of the research                                                                                        8

1.6       Literature review                                                                                                         9

1.6.1    Concept and Definition of Police and Policing                                                          9

1.6.2    Social Perception of Nigeria Police Force                                                                  10

1.6.3    Police – Public Interaction and Interface                                                                   11

1.6.4    Challenges of Policing in Nigeria                                                                               14

1.6.5    Remedy to Police Malady in Nigeria                                                                          16

1.6.6    Conclusion                                                                                                                  19

Endnotes                                                                                                                    20


Chapter Two: The Origin & Development of Policy in Nigeria

2.0       Introduction                                                                                                                23

2.1       Traditional policing in Nigeria                                                                                    23

2.2       Evolution of the Nigeria police up to 1966                                                                26

2.2.1    The Colonial Police Force                                                                                           26

2.2.2    Police in Nigeria: Post-Colonial Era                                                                           30

2.3       The Nigeria Police 1966-2004                                                                        31


2.3.1    Command of the Nigeria Police Force                                                                       32

2.3.2    Organization of the Nigeria Police Force                                                                   33

2.3.3    The Nigeria Police Council                                                                                         33

2.3.4    Police Service Commission                                                                                         34

2.3.5    Nigeria police and crime prevention and control in Nigeria                                       35

2.3.6    Conclusion                                                                                                                  40

Endnotes                                                                                                                    41                                                                   


Chapter Three: The Evolution & Development of Community Policy in Nigeria

    (A Case Study of Ibadan 2004-2017)

3.0       Introduction                                                                                                                44

3.1       The Nigeria Police and Crime Prevention and Control in Ibadan                              44

3.2       The Evolution of Community Policy in Nigeria                                                         45

3.2.1    Community Policing in Nigeria: The Concept of Community Policing                     46

3.2.2    The Need for Community Policing                                                                             47

3.2.3    Principles of Community Policing                                                                              51

3.2.4    Core Values of Community Policing                                                                          53

3.2.5    Wrong Notions about Community Policing                                                               55

3.2.6    Benefits of Community Policing                                                                                57

3.2.7    Benefit of Community Policing to Community                                                         59

3.2.8    What Is Partnership?                                                                                                   60

3.3       Community Policy in Ibadan (2004-2017)                                                                 61

3.4       Conclusion                                                                                                                  64

Endnotes                                                                                                                    65


Chapter Four: Impart Of Community Policing On Crime Prevention and Control in       

                          Ibadan (A Preliminary Assessment)


4.1       Introduction                                                                                                                67

4.2       Crime prevention in Ibadan                                                                                        68

4.3       Crime Control in Ibadan                                                                                             72

4.3.1    The Factors Affecting the Effectiveness of Crime Control by the Police in Nigeria 72

4.4       Assessment of Community Policing In Ibadan                                                          76

4.4.1    Communitisation of Personal Spaces and Problems                                                   77

4.4.2    Communitisation of Abdicated State Roles and Duties                                            80

4.4.3    The Effectiveness of Community Policing In Ibadan Practices                            82

4.5       Conclusion                                                                                                                  84

Endnotes                                                                                                                    85


Chapter Five: Summary and Conclusion

5.1       Summary                                                                                                                     88

5.2       Conclusion                                                                                                                  88

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                                      89

References                                                                                                                 91




















Chapter One


2.0              Background of the Study

The efficacy of the philosophy and policies of any system of government in any given society will depend on their faithful implementation. In this wise, the role of the police in ensuring social justice, peace and harmony cannot be over-emphasized. In the administration of justice in Nigeria, the police have the sweeping powers of arrest and prosecution of offenders. However, this law enforcement agency has at various times been criticized by both the general public and public officials in the exercise of their powers1. Since public safety and maintenance of peace and enforcement of legitimate laws are the chief responsibilities of the civil police force,2 it is essential in this study, to trace the origin of the police force in Nigeria. This approach would provide grounding for the inevitable linkage between the nature of colonial policing and the total collapse of the apparatus of law enforcement in contemporary Nigerian society.

In Nigeria, the role of the police in crime prevention and control is a far cry from what was intended, which were specified in section 4 of the Police Act (Laws of the Federation 1990). According to the Police Act (Laws of the Federation 1990) the police are to prevent and detect crime, apprehend offenders, protect lives and property, enforce all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged and perform such military duties within or outside Nigeria as may be required of them by or under the authority of any other act3. However, the police have not been able to respond to the challenges of policing because of the structural constraints and deep-rooted political and socio-economic crises, which in part manifest as criminal activities but beyond police capabilities to resolve. In the context of policing in contemporary Nigeria, what Jesus Christ once told the disciples is wholly applicable to members of the Nigeria Police Force:

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted. It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under [the] foot”4.

Policing in Nigeria is also beset by several institutional problems that undermine the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Nigeria Police Force. Organization and management of police forces in terms of vertical and horizontal decentralization and coordination of authority have implications for police behaviour, performance and image. The nature of rules of policing established by a police force, adherence to these rules, rewards or punishment for compliance or non-compliance influence police discipline, integrity, effectiveness, performance and legitimacy, including public estimation and support5.

The rules and provisions for recruitment, training, deployment, remuneration, promotion, discipline, and pension and retirement affect police discipline, performance and image. In Nigeria, these aspects are not given adequate and continuous attention. Supervision and coordination are generally lacking. Corruption, partisan and parochial considerations have contaminated the process and decisions relating to recruitment, deployment and promotion in the Nigeria Police Force, thereby dampening motivation and commitment to excellence, sacrifice and integrity in police-work. The ability of a police force to manage information relating to socio-economic and political trends and to relate such information to the trend, pattern and severity of crimes will determine its capacity to plan and implement crime prevention and crime control policies, strategic plans and operations. Furthermore, the ability of a force to disseminate appropriate information about crime patterns and trends, police efforts and handicaps at promoting crime prevention and control will affect police-public relations, public support for police as well as police efficiency. The Nigeria Police Force has continued to neglect this critical area, resulting in operational strategies being dependent on guesswork instead of science or systematically produced and acquired knowledge6.

The personality of a police officer exercises influence on his or her behaviour, performance and relationship with the public. This is the reason in many societies, potential recruits are subjected to a battery of psychological and other tests with a view to determining their emotional stability and social relation competence. The Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force need to review the police recruitment process in order to ensure that only those that can meet the challenges of police work in Nigeria, at present and in the near future are recruited. It will be a waste to recruit an individual who do not possess adequate academic qualification, strong emotional and moral qualities and a patriotic commitment to Nigeria, in an age or era characterized by computer crimes, sophisticated and technology assisted financial crimes, piracy, terrorism and espionage. Additionally, the declining training facilities at police training institutes constitutes an eyesore, as it acts to impede the training of competent and capable police force7

A constellation of structural, institutional and personality factors create what has been variously referred to as police culture. Police ‘working personality’ and culture result from the elements of police-work - danger, authority and isolation. Police-work breeds solidarity and occupational pathology characterized by ‘perceptions of the public as uncooperative, unsupportive and antagonistic toward the police’. In Nigeria, this engenders a tendency by the police to protect each other’s criminality and misconducts, As a result, the integrity of the police is undermined and a culture of impunity is thereby entrenched. These institutional problems are critical to the attainment and sustenance of an effective police force and deserve serious consideration and attention by the government and police leadership. It is for this reason that the current study considers it a task to elevate the subject of “Nigeria Police and Community Policing” to the status of a historical analysis and thus, use it as a general response of the public to the management of the Nigerian Police crisis. But before it can go on, a brief examination of the history of the ‘Nigeria Police’ will not be out of place.

Historically, the origins, development and role of the European type of police forces in Nigeria are traceable to the nature of European interests in the continent and the reactions of the indigenous people to their activities. It indicates that the various forces were established, organized and maintained by colonial and post-colonial governments primarily for order maintenance that engenders repression, a culture of impunity: corruption, incivility, brutality, lack of transparency and accountability. With the advent of colonialism came the distortion of the traditional institutions and values, which had from time immemorial sustained harmonious relationship, peace, and security of lives and property in the pre-colonial Nigerian communities. Thus, the legacy of Western plantation (and in some cases racist) ideology is the portrayal of Nigerian society and culture as lawless and disorderly8. This negative image had its roots in the long ordeal of the slave trade, and later colonialism, which mediated modern Nigeria’s interaction with the West9.

The study is therefore motivated by the existence of the institutional, structural personality problem in the Nigeria Police Force and the ‘law and order’ question in Nigerian. There is no doubt that a crime situation exists in Nigeria, as a consensus has already emerged which cuts across the complex social groups in Nigeria that there is a crime problem. This admission notwithstanding, there is no agreement as to what is to be done. But there exists a confusion as to the conventional explanations of the analysis of the crime question. If the analysis is confused, the solutions being proposed cannot but be based on a wrong premise. In thought and action, Nigeria’s present and past leaders continue to mystify the crime problem; hence, the current study.

1.1       Statement of the Research Problem

Policing, in Nigeria, which is undoubtedly a colonial-oriented problem, has remained elusive since the inception of colonial police due to structural constraints and organizational inadequacies. Up till now, the English-based social control mechanism in Nigeria has been unable to guarantee safety to lives and property of the common people. In addition, it is rather expensive, time wasting, and insensitive to the traditional values and beliefs system of the people. The utility of the traditional social control mechanisms, on the other hand, has been remarkable and appear to satisfy Nigerians’ yearns for inexpensive, more rapid and culturally relevant justice and social order10. The public generally perceive the performance of the Nigeria police as unsatisfactory because police have been ineffective and inefficient in their job. Their poor performance is due to several factors, but mainly inadequate personnel in terms of quality, quantity and competence at various ranks; poor training and conditions of service; lack of public co-operation; grossly inadequate logistic (especially transportation, telecommunication, arms and ammunition, et cetera); poor remuneration and lack of welfare programmes.

The crisis of integrity and accountability manifests in terms of police corruption, police incivility and brutality, and police-public antagonism. As a result of its colonial history and protracted military rule, the Nigerian police have not developed the culture of accountability to the public or citizens. Rather, the force has been severally criticized for its brutality, corruption, extortion, incivility, extra-judicial killings and impunity11. This further exposes the need for proper training and orientation of officers to the value of democratic accountability, respect for human rights, and observance of rule of law, civility, and public assistance. Corruption by police is a worldwide phenomenon as criminological research has shown. However, the extent, types and pattern of police corruption vary across societies, reflecting the wider social, economic and political structures of individual nations. Police corruption has been a serious concern to the police authority in Nigeria, which routinely purges the force of known corrupt officers. But, because of the country’s political and economic environment as well as institutional inadequacies, police corruption has persisted on a wide scale at all levels of police functions12. While corruption is endemic in all segments of the Nigerian society, it is particularly objectionable among the police because it is their occupational responsibility to prevent and work at its elimination and not to be responsible for its spread, entrenchment and legitimation as a norm of social and official interactions13. While inadequacies of infrastructure and under-funding contribute to the extent and public perception of police corruption in the country, these cannot justify the disgraceful leprous handshakes between commercial vehicle drivers and police officers at check-points. The insinuation that a portion of the extorted money from such handshakes is ‘remitted upwards” to senior officers is particularly worrisome. This form of corruption has caused grave damage to the public perception and estimation of individual police officers and the entire police force. These are serious problems that the police authority, government and the society must address and eliminate the factors that cause and sustain them. Closely related to the problem of corruption and extortion is the incidence of collusion or conspiracy between some police officers and criminals.

The relationship between the police and the public is generally hostile14. This is due to the historical legacy of oppression and continuing citizens’ experiences and misconceptions of police roles15. One of the major hindrances to police legitimacy is police incivility or brutality. Some of the factors that create and sustain these pre-conditions for public support are beyond the police. Such factors include democratic and good governance, good and responsive laws, economic and technological development, a deeply ingrained socio-cultural values for justice and equity, compassion, and political tolerance. In Nigeria, these conditions are largely absent. Consequently, the Nigeria police suffer deficit of public legitimation and support. The public do not respect, trust and support the police because their performance is poor. Also, the public regards the character and level of accountability of the police as grossly unsatisfactory. The police in the nation are generally feared (but not respected), distrusted and despised by the Nigerian public. Many of the problems in the Nigeria Police Force are self-evident and have been sources of more serious concern to a majority of the people in the country. What is required is a determination to address the problems. It is in view of this that the federal government of Nigeria through Nigerian Police introduced Community Policing in order to include both the police and all the Nigerians in the fight against crime. Hence the current study is embarked to ascertain the fruitfulness of the police-community partnership in crime control from 2007 to 2017 in Ibadan.

1.2       Research Questions

The specific research questions addressed in this study are:

        i.            What is the social perception of the Nigeria Police Force among community-dwellers in Ibadan?

      ii.            How effective is police-public interaction and interface in Ibadan?

    iii.            What are the challenges of policing in Ibadan?

    iv.            How can notable successes in crime prevention be achieved in Ibadan through community involvement in setting priorities for and collaborating with police?

1.3       Objectives of the research

The general objective of this study is to conduct a historical analysis into the origin and evolution of policing in Nigeria, with a view to exposing the gains, strengths, errors and weaknesses of the police force; understanding the change and dynamics of the past and relating the understanding to the present and possibly have a sound base for policy recommendations that will enhance performance and improve quality service-delivery in Ibadan and the Nigerian society at large. Thus, the specific objectives are to:

        i.            Find out if the social perception of Nigeria Police in Ibadan is a reflection of the colonial experience in Ibadan.

      ii.            Find out the effectiveness of police-public interaction and interface in Ibadan.

    iii.            Determine the challenges encountered by the police in the course of their operation in Ibadan.

    iv.            Find out how notable successes in crime prevention can be achieved in Ibadan through community involvement in setting priorities for and collaborating with police.

1.4       Definition of Terms

§    Police: The world Police was derived from the Greek work ‘polis,’ meaning that part of non-ecclesiastic administration having to do with safety, health and order of the state. Police is a department of government responsible for the preservation of law and order, detection of crime and enforcement of civil law. There is a reason to emphasize this derivation, for every primordial societies has had great social control mechanisms, and the basic characteristics of social control are easiest to observe in primitive societies.

§  Policing: This is the primary role of the police. Policing is first of all protection. The primary role of police is securing compliance with existing laws and conformity with precepts of social order. It is the means by which public (or community) safety, security and public order are ensured at all times. In other words, policing is the means by which the society regulates the behaviour of its members.

§  Community: The concept of community concerns a particularly constituted set of social relationships based on something which the participants have in common – usually a common sense of identity. It is, to paraphrase Talcott Parsons, frequently used to denote a wide-ranging relationship of solidarity over a rather undefined area of life and interests.

§    Community Policing: Community policing is the police working in partnership with the community; the community thereby participating in its own policing; and the two working together, mobilizing resources to solve problems affecting safety for long term, rather than the police working in isolation. It is the philosophy of full service personalized policing, where the same police officer patrols and works in the same area on a permanent basis, from a decentralized place, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve problems’.

§  Crime: There are several diverse definitions of “crime”, including the popular definition, social definition and the legal definition. Socially, crime is a social activity which is constituted in the society and which is contingent on the constitution of poverty and power relations among some other things Crime is a manifestation of the specific social relations. Since the legal definition is the one that is used by the criminal justice system, this is the preferred definition that is used in this study. Thus, we may define a crime as an intentional act or omission in violation of criminal law (statutory and case law) committed without defense or justification and sanctioned by the state as a felony or misdemeanour. Key elements of this definition are: The exhibition of an act or the omission of an act that is required, intention, violation of criminal law, defense or justification and sanction by the state.

§  Police Corruption: Police corruption has been defined as the misuse of authority by a police officer in a manner designed to produce personal gain for himself or for others. Forms or types of police corruption include:…improper political influence; acceptance of gratuities or bribes in exchange for non-enforcement of laws, …particularly those relating to gambling, prostitution and liquor offences, which are often extensively interconnected with organized crime; the fixing of traffic tickets; minor thefts; and occasional burglaries.

§  Police Transparency: This refers to openness of the police force in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies, programmes and decisions. It implies a system that is compliant with the rule of law as well as popular participation. These are the elements of democracy and good governance.

§  Police Accountability: This refers to honesty of the police force in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies, programmes and decisions.

§   Crime Control: In this study, crime control is the means of solving crime problems, arresting suspects, processing and incapacitating offenders by the members of society, agents and the criminal justice system.

§  Crime Prevention: In this study, it is the present interventions in stopping future crime.

§  Crime Reduction: It is all the effort from the people and the government to reduce the rate of crime in a given society.

§  Law Enforcement Agency: This is an agency of the criminal justice administration charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order in society. They are those that are responsible for detecting, fighting and controlling crime in any society. E.g. Police.

§  Perception: It is the way a set of people see or understand a given circumstances, or the awareness created by some people about something or issues.

§  Vigilance Group/Traditional Policing: Principally, they are traditional crime prevention and social control mechanisms responsible for law enforcement and also to detect and arrest criminals. It also mean indigenous police system used before the advent of the colonialists, whereby the Emirs in the North, uses palace guards, the Oba in the West, makes use of palace guards, while the South-east Council of Elders uses age-grade to ensure order.

1.5       Significance of the research

Policing in communities should be based on a clear understanding of the connection between order-maintenance and crime prevention. The best way to fight crime is to fight the disorder that precedes it. In the face of ever increasing acts of lawlessness, social disorder, armed robbery, and senseless, malicious assassinations in Nigeria, it has become necessary to look for causal explanations that go beyond superficial semantics. Possessing a great deal of knowledge about the existing research, policy-makers would embrace the view that community involvement in setting priorities for crime prevention, and collaborating with police, can ‘work’ to prevent crime and thus, can help foster community safety. Therefore, it is hoped that, when concluded, the outcome of the study will provide some direction to police authorities on the type(s) of intervention(s) that involve(s) a shift toward ‘community-oriented (preventive) policing’ and away from ‘incident-oriented (reactive) policing’. Furthermore, this study is intended to add to the body of literature on ‘Nigeria Police and Community policing’ and thus, serve as reference material for prospective researchers.

1.6       Literature review

This section reviews and critiques existing literature on the subject of ‘Nigeria Police and Community Policing’. There is hardly any comprehensive work written exclusively on “the Nigeria Police and Community in Ibadan between 2007 and 2017”. Thus, in order to know various studies that have been conducted on police and policing, and possible gap in knowledge, the review of literature available within the preview of the objectives of the present study has been sub-divided into subheadings. While it is nearly impossible to use all existing works in review of this nature, efforts would be made to review few works that are directly relevant to this study. It begins with ‘concept and definition of police and policing campus violence’, followed by ‘origin of ca’.

1.6.1    Concept and Definition of Police and Policing

It is well known and established all over the world that peace and security of life and property is a necessary pre-condition for development. The principal agency charged with the responsibility of internal peace and security of nation-states all over the world is the police. Police are the most visible governmental agents through which the character of a government and political system may be assessed. This is so because the police are the guardian or vanguard of the status quo. To a large extent, the actions and behaviour of the police reflect the political and economic character of society as well as what those in power are willing or able to tolerate or condone5.

The Nigeria Police Force is a product of the nation’s Constitution. The 1999 Constitution, cited by Alemika and Chukwuma,14 explicitly prohibited the establishment of State Police forces other than the Nigeria Police Force. Section 214(1) stipulates:

“There shall be a Police Force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provisions of this Section no other police force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof.” 17

Scholars have defined and conceptualized policing in various ways. Barley et al. define policing as the activity of making societies safe which entails intentional attempts to regulate the distribution of physical security produced by actual or potential use of force.18 According to Femi Odekunle, “the central objective of policing is to provide security, or at least a social and psychological feeling of security, for a majority of citizens, in a majority of places and for most of the time”.19 This will involve prevention and control of criminality, maintenance of public order and peace, rendering of assistance and service to all citizens needing or requiring security and symbolizing the law and the government by always upholding the rule of law.20 In this study, the researcher takes policing to mean all activities carried out by the police to fulfil its mandate of maintaining internal peace and security.

1.6.2    Social Perception of Nigeria Police Force

The establishment of the Nigeria Police Public Relations Department (NPPRD), saddled with the responsibility of improving relationship between the police and the civil populace, notwithstanding, have grappled with the problem of improving police public image. A publication, titled “Creating a Better Police Image, Nigeria Police Information Booklet,”21 stipulates the statutory roles of NPPRD to include the following:

“To spotlight anything likely to cause police-public friction and advise the authorities of the situation and suggest action to remove it; to publicize the good work of the police so that the public will appreciate such services; to gain and sustain a favourable public opinion about the police force; to establish and strengthen sound relationship with well-meaning citizens and to win over the “fence sitters” by effectively communicating with them; to educate the public on the functions and roles of the police in the society; planning and coordination of the Force public relations policies with a view to improving police relationship with the public; serving as the central source of public information concerning the force and the only official channel of publicity for the force; production and distribution of the force’s magazine, newsletters, press releases, feature articles, statistics, photographs, films, advertisements and other publicity documents to the information media and the public; establishment and maintenance of an internal information and reference service within the force; examination of complaints from the public; and education of ranks on the importance of public relations”21.

The publication further outlines the causes of public distrust of men and officers of the force:

“Dissatisfaction in handling of reports due to the public ignorance of police methods and the law; rude treatment of citizens who come to the police with cases; an overbearing attitude and an attempt to deflect the ego of the citizen in public; discourteous approach of policemen controlling or checking traffic in the cities; unpleasant tone of voice; unnecessary show of force and bestial pleasure to hurt people while controlling crowd; rough treatment of suspects and other offenders; taking advantage of other citizens when driving police vehicles such as breaking speed limits and jumping of lanes; showing partiality to women, friends and relations in handling cases; assumption of proud airs by policemen to cover their shortcomings; drinking in uniform while on duty; unkempt and careless dress and appearance; and tendency to expect unmerited rewards for performing lawful duties” 22.

However, the aforementioned publication suggests some basic rules which every member of the police force should embrace as their operational creed in their quest to transforming their organization into a responsive, accountable, civil and people-centred:

“Smile and be polite (not weak) and avoid rudeness; enthusiasms instead of dullness – show interest in what you have at hand, learn about your job and locality to be able to discuss any problem freely and confidently; use courteous words instead of sharp retorts; response instead of indifference. Listen to those who come to complain, show you are interested and be alert to their moods; warmth instead of coolness, warmth attracts warmth, no one can respond to you if you are cold and aloof; understanding instead of closed mind, keep an open mind to be able to discuss, reason, discern and arrive at sound judgment; attention instead of neglect, listen and if necessary disagree politely; patience instead of irritation; sincerity instead of sham. Say exactly what you mean. Be honest and straight forward in dealing with the public; consideration instead of annoyance, listen without annoyance; to persuade without apparent force is evidence of maturity; facts instead of arguments, facts are your best weapon because they cannot be denied and can be repeated without confusion, don’t argue, reason; creative ideas – the world is progressing so must you or you fall by the way side, you have to think progressively, the days of the bluster muscle police are gone, working mostly alone you must act promptly without reference to you superiors; helpfulness instead of hindrance; giving you time to assist others and asking nothing in return is the most difficult but most rewarding experience; action instead of dilatory tactics; and appreciation instead of ingratitude”23.

1.6.3    Police – Public Interaction and Interface

According to Alemika and Chukwuma, relationships between the Nigeria Police and the citizens are largely characterized by suspicion, prejudiced, mutual disrespect, conflict and violence. In essence, the inability of the police to connect with the public as a result of their widely reported belligerent and criminal attitudes has alienated the public14. The conducts of the Nigerian police is largely at variance with the aforementioned lofty tips on how to engage the public. Reports have shown that the police-public relationship is plagued with mistrust, suspicion, betrayals and hatred. Okiro, former Inspector-General of Police, explains the historical antecedents of police anti-people stance and its repressive posture:

“The people who hated the idea of armed military-styled police in their own soil created and used armed police to keep the colonies in perpetual subjugation. The colonial masters recruited into the Nigeria Police illiterate men who were outcasts, ex-slaves and criminals who could carry out colonial orders, even against fellow Nigerians without question or critical analysis. The policeman was used by the colonial masters to collect taxes from unwilling Nigerians and suppress Nigerians who were agitating against colonial rule. Examples included the cold blooded killing of workers in Burukutu in 1947, the brutal suppression of the Aba women riot in 1929, the murder of Chief Abiyoko of Ajido for resisting arrest”24.

In his evaluation of police repressive attitude toward the citizens, Mawby, cited in the Awake Magazine, echoes Okiro’s assertion:

“Incidents of police brutality, corruption, violence, murder and abuse of power punctuated almost every decade of colonial police history. The colonial masters created a global impression of policing as a government force not a public service”25.

Alemika and Chukwuma documented the largely repressive, ruthless and criminal legacy bequeathed to Nigeria Police Force by its colonial forerunner:

“The British colonial government established police forces in the territory and organized them as constabulary and para-military forces. The Forces were employed in various colonial wars and punitive expeditions. They were also used in maintaining the exploitation and repression of labour. In some of these cases, the police used ‘batons, rifles and revolvers’, to suppress, maim and kill persons who opposed colonial rule and policies.…The frequent use of police to scuttle, disperse and break strikes led to the killing of 21 miners and 50 wounded workers during the Enugu colliery strike in 1949”14.

According to Johnson, since April 1, 1930, when the present Nigeria Police Force was formed, there have been little efforts to exorcise the Force from its colonial evils. Hence,

“Nigeria Police of the 21st century is still a relic of the 1879 Colony of Lagos Constabulary in spirit and soul…the force has remained trapped in the vision its creator (the British colonial government) crafted for it: an instrument of coercion and oppression”26.

The inability of the Nigeria Police to transform itself into a people-friendly force and social service-oriented organization, love and trusted by the public has affected its public image and perception. Bothered by the public image of the force, the former Inspector-General of Police, Sunday Ehindero counselled his men and officers to change their policing methods and eschew illegal practices such as extortion and extra-judicial killings27. According to Obijiofor, the Nigerian public is yet to develop trust and confidence in the police. A genial relationship between the police and civil society in Nigeria is simply non-existent. It would take a long time, perhaps decades, to establish a good working relationship between the police and civil society. It would also take radical changes in the police, their attitudes to their job, as well as changes to how they respond to public calls for protection from criminal groups28.

Obijiofor further reveals the depth of mutual distrust existing between the public and police and its impact on effective policing. He said that The Nigeria community does not trust the Nigeria Police. The police too have no respect for the community. When members of the community witness a crime, they run away from the police rather than run to the police to report the crime. This makes the task of policing very difficult. And given the soured relationship between the police and the members of the public it is not surprising that the Force has been largely ineffective in performing its constitutional roles29. The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) in its 2007 Interim Report on the Nigeria Police put the Force brutalization and wanton killing of defenceless people in perspective:

“The evidence from NOPRIN’s monitoring of police practices covering over 400 police stations in 14 States of Nigeria found a police institution whose work has been criminalized. Police personnel kill, torture, extort, and commit rape, safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely to suffer consequences for such misconduct. Such brutal police practices have thus become the routine of policing in Nigeria”30.

The Punch, in its editorial of August 5, 2005, titled “Police and Rights Violation,”31 detailed some largely unwholesome acts perpetrated against members of the public by Nigerian police which have affected public confidence in the Force:

“The Police Mobile Force is nicknamed “Kill and Go” because its members are notorious for extra-judicial killings. For refusing to part with a N20 (twenty naira) gratification, they have sent many commercial drivers to their early graves while on daily basis, policemen harass law abiding citizens and boast that they can “waste you” and “nothing will happen.” When the police arrest bandits or illegally raid streets, drinking parlours and joints, most of those arrested, who could not bribe their way to freedom, are often tortured and dumped in the prison for years on holden charges, without any credible evidence to prosecute them”.

The Nigerian policeman cannot be left out of this need to help oneself. Those of them who have guns are hiring them out for fee. It is interesting to recall the Iyamu case here32. Police officers at the check points often terrorize and often shoot un-cooperating motorists even they are not suspected of any crime as such. The brutality and the dehumanizing approach at our road blocks have to be explained in the light of declining economic fortunes with within which Nigerians operate. Nigerian policemen are after-all human beings and are open to temptation just like other members of the society. The police force has consistently officially stated that its people are on the highways to prevent crime and apprehend criminals, and not to perform traffic duties33. But Nigerians know better that rather than preventing crimes or apprehend criminals, policemen perform more the job of “Oga wetin you carry, your particulars” with all its consequences. Most of the unemployed graduates of today would not join the Nigeria Police Force as a last resort. The reasons are not unconnected with the poor pay and the poor image of the Nigeria Police Force in the eyes of the public. Most policemen are shabbily dressed and most often beg for free ride. 

1.6.4    Challenges of Policing in Nigeria

The challenges of policing in Nigeria are well documented by scholars and practitioners. According to Femi Odekunle, the challenges of policing in Nigeria can be categorized as material inadequacies, human problems (quality of personnel in the force) and other factors such as absence of an overall crime prevention/control policy, body and planning; political interference; materialistic, greedy, corrupt and indisciplined socio-economic environment and the inherited colonial legal system34. It must be pointed out that scholars are not unaware of the very difficult conditions under which police operate in Nigeria. As Chidi Odinkalu has documented, the police in Nigeria are called upon to do a most difficult job. They suffer severe constraints of inadequate training, poor appropriations, political interference, and resulting debilities in personnel, traditions, material and morale. Every year, a significant number of Police personnel lose their lives on duty. Their families and survivors struggle along without hardly any acknowledgement or support from the society35.

Solomon Arase and Iheanyi Iwuofor have documented the challenges of policing in Nigeria and the response of Inspectors General from Musliu A. K, Smith through Tafa Balogun to Sunday Ehindero36. The issues identified are similar and include among other things funding of the police, increasing crime wave, the need for training and re-training, corruption within and outside the police, community policing, public relations/image of the police, inter-service and agency co-operation, conditions of service and welfare of police officers and the need for a paradigm shift in policing. Inspector General Smith (1999-2002) focused his reform programme on increasing the strength of the force, provision of barracks accommodation, rehabilitation of police training colleges, police communication and equipment and police image. In March, 2002, the then Inspector General of Police Mr. Tafa A. Balogun formulated an 8 point agenda to address the challenges confronting the police in Nigeria namely:

“Massive onslaught against robbers, gruesome murder, assassination and other crimes of violence [Operation “Fire-for-Fire” was adopted as the methodology]; fast and decisive crisis/conflict management; comprehensive training programme, conducive for qualitative policing; serious anti-corruption crusade, both within and outside the force; robust public relations necessary for the vision of “People’s Police;” community partnership in policing, the modern approach all over the world inter-Service/agency cooperation at all levels, and improved conditions of service and enhanced welfare package for all officers, inspectors and rank and file”37.

On 18th January, 2005, Sunday Gabriel Ehindero became the Inspector General of Police and he enunciated a ten point programme as follows:

“Effective crime prevention and control through intelligence led policing; combat of violent and economic crimes; conflict prevention and resolution; community policing and police public partnership; zero tolerance for police corruption and indiscipline; improved career development, salary and welfare packages to motivate police officers and thereby promote better service delivery and discipline, re-organization of the investigation outfit of the force to ensure prompt and timely investigation of cases; contribute positively to improving the quality of justice delivery in Nigeria; empower field officers operationally by devolution of powers to improve the standards, reliability, consistency and responsiveness of the service and to re-orient Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) to focus on improving public perception and image of the Force”38.

On 4th June, 2007, Sir Mike Okiro became the Inspector General of Police and he outlined a 9 point agenda namely39:

“Transparency and accountability, war on corruption, crime prevention, intelligence and crime data base, training, police Public image, human rights, community policing and inter-agency cooperation”.

From the above, it is clear that the challenges facing policing in Nigeria are well known and documented by scholars and practitioners. The problem has been lack of strategic approach to dealing with the challenges, poor leadership and management to apply workable solutions in a democratic society.

1.6.5    Remedy to Police Malady in Nigeria

Studies have linked orderly behaviour to the fear of crime, the potential for serious crime and to urban decay in global societies. In 1982, political scientists James Wilson and criminologist George Kelling published an article under the title ‘broken windows,’ arguing that policing in communities should be based on a clear understanding of the connection between order-maintenance and crime prevention. In their view, the best way to fight crime is to fight the disorder that precedes it. Communities can decay into disorder and crime, if no one attends to their maintenance. The analysis implies that if disorderly behaviours in public places are control then a significant drop in crime will follow. Wilson and Kelling therefore argue in favour of ‘community policing’ in communities. This means many more police officers on foot-patrol and fewer in police cars responding to emergency calls. Law enforcement should be a technique for crime prevention rather than a vehicle for reacting to crime. These ideas have achieved notable successes in reducing crime-rates and urban decay in many cities in world societies. Typically, these involve some mixture of Neighbourhood Watch programmes, zero tolerance of minor public disorders, a shift toward ‘community-oriented’ (preventive) and away from ‘incident-oriented’ (reactive) policing, police involvement in local youth projects, decentralization of authority to individual police officers, and community involvement in setting priorities for and collaborating with prosecutors, police, probation officers, and criminal justice officials40.

In Nigeria, level of crime rate is high. There is high level of insecurity among the citizens with rampant cases of armed robbery and kidnapping. The social perception of the police is very poor. There are daily complaints of police brutality and extortion from members of the public. There is therefore the need for the Nigeria Police Force to also become strategic in its approach to policing to be able to overcome the challenges of policing in Nigeria identified above. There are many strategic issues that affect the organization, efficiency and effectiveness of the police as an organization. In this study, the researcher will address only nine of them:

a)      Recruitment into the Police Force: Management studies have established that what make organizations great are the people within the organizations. This is why organizations take recruitment of quality personnel seriously. In the recent past, recruitment into the Nigeria Police Force has been problematic. On return to civilian rule in 1999, the Federal Government in a bid to address the security challenges in the country gave a directive that forty thousand police officers be recruited from 2000 to 2005. But as the M. D. Yusuf Presidential Committee on the reform of the Nigeria Police Force has documented, “the recruitment exercise was carried out in a very unwholesome manner without adherence to the established rules and guidelines governing the screening and recruitment of candidates, resulting in the recruitment of unqualified and even sub-standard characters into the force”41. When the Police Service Commission was reconstituted on 15th April, 2008, it committed itself to promoting integrity and merit by ensuring that appointments and promotion are based on seniority, merit, equity and availability of vacancies42. In 2008, 12, 936 Constables were recruited into the Force in 2009, 3,783 Constables were recruited43. The Police Service Commission has already put in place mechanism for recruitment into the police in line with the M. D. Yusuf report and Police regulations. What is required is the will and cooperation of all stakeholders to adhere to the guidelines and the capacity to put in place monitoring mechanisms to checkmate abuses of the process.

b)      Human Capital Development within the Force: It is widely acknowledged by all that human capital development is the key to superior performance and sustainability of any organization. In terms of policing there is a minimum number of personnel that can be utilized for effective policing. The United Nation prescribes a ratio of one police officer to four hundred persons (1:400). According to the M. D. Yusuf report, there are 371,800 police officers in Nigeria which translates to a ratio of one police officer to three hundred and seventy seven persons (1:377). This shows clearly that the problem of the police in Nigeria is not with the number but with the “level of training, kitting, competence and technical proficiency, which currently, the Nigeria Police does not possess”38. It is therefore of strategic importance that the issue of human resource development in the police be addressed squarely.

c)      Change of Attitude: For there to be strategic oriented policing in Nigeria, there should be an attitudinal change in police administration and law enforcement. There must be a change in the way police officers relate with members of the public and the way police authorities react to allegations of police brutality through denial and/or rebuttal. In addition, there is the need to take action against any officer that acts contrary to force orders and police regulations.

d)     Operations: The M. D. Yusuf report has documented that the present state of police operations in crime, riot control and the maintenance of public safety have been greatly hampered by the gross inadequacies of human, material and technological resources made available to the Nigeria Police Force by successive governments38. Various human rights organizations including CLEEN Foundation, NOPRIN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also documented that police operations violate the rights of citizens in various ways. There is the need to change strategy of operations from a militarized “fire for fire” mentality to service-orientation. In practice, the conduct of police is at variance with police regulations and force orders. It is therefore necessary that there is strengthening of police internal control mechanism and disciplinary procedure as well as effective oversight by the relevant oversight bodies (Police Council, Police Service Commission and the National Assembly). Over the last few years, the Police Service Commission has tried to formulate policies aimed at the efficiency and discipline of the Nigeria Police Force. It has approved four policies for the police. The Policies include domestic violence policy, gender policy, policy on in-custody death and policy on death during police operations. There is an urgent need for the police management to operationalize these policies. In addition, the commission has given priority to treating disciplinary cases involving police officers. At inauguration, the commission met a huge backlog of disciplinary cases which have been treated. In 2008, a total of 127 cases were treated. Three officers were exonerated, five were given letter of advice, 13 were given reprimand, 39 were given severe reprimand, the rank of nine officers were reduced, 21 were compulsorily retired, four were recalled from suspension and eleven referred for further investigation44. In 2009, a total of 150 cases were treated. Five officers were exonerated, five officers were given letter of advice, 13 officers were reprimanded, 31 officers were given severe reprimand, 16 officers had their rank reduced, 47 officers were compulsorily retired and 33 officers were dismissed from the force45. There is the need to continue to treat disciplinary cases with dispatch.

1.6.6    Conclusion

The police is the principal agency charged with the responsibility of internal peace and security of nations. In Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force is constitutionally and legally empowered to police the country for peace and security. But the policing in Nigeria is bedevilled with a lot of challenges. Scholars and practitioners have identified the challenges facing the policing in Nigeria. They include the problems of funding, increasing crime wave, poor training, corruption within and outside the police, lack of involvement of citizens in policing, poor public image, lack of inter-service and agency co-operation and poor conditions of service and welfare of police officers.

It is suggest that the Nigeria Police Force need embrace a more community-oriented policing initiative and that the police force be strategic in its approach to policing to be able to overcome the challenges of policing. The beginning point is to identify the strategic issues that affect the organization, efficiency and effectiveness of the police as an organization. In our view some of the strategic issues that need to be addressed are recruitment, human capital development, change of attitude, operations, corruption, image of the force, funding, leadership and management, and monitoring and evaluation.














1 Onyeozili: C. E.: “Obstacles to Effective Policing in Nigeria”. (African Journal of Criminology   and Justice Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1: April, 2005): 39.

2 Sections 19-26 of Police Act.

3 The law was initially enacted in 1943, by the British colonial government and there had been only very minor modifications. The contents of the legislation were similar to those enacted for other British colonial Africa countries like Zambia, Ghana and Tanzania. Nigeria has a national police force. There were local police forces up to 1966 when the military first intervened in the nation’s politics and seized power. Local police forces, which existed side by side with the national police (Nigeria Police Force), were disbanded by the military as a result of complaint of corruption, poor training and standard, political partisanship – they were used to rig elections and brutalize opponents.

4 The Holy Bible with Encyclopedia, “The Beatitudes” (The New Testament, King James Version (KJV), 2005) Matthew, chapter 5 verse 13.

5 ALEMIKA, E. E. O., “History, Context and Crises of the Police in Nigeria”. Presentation at the Biennial Retreat of the Police Service Commission on the theme, “Repositioning the Nigeria Police to Meet the Challenges of the Policing a Democratic Society in the Twenty-First Century and beyond” (held at the Le Meridian Hotel, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, November, 1-4, 2010): 10-11

6 Ibid. 11-12

7 Alemika, E. E. O. “Colonialism, State and Policing in Nigeria” (Crime, Law and Social Change 20, 1993): 187-219

8 Onoge, O. F.: Social conflicts and crime control in Colonial Nigeria. In Tamuno, et al. eds. Policing Nigeria: Past, Present and Future, (1993).

9 Onyeozili: C. E.: “Obstacles to Effective Policing in Nigeria”. (African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies, Vol. 1 No. 1: April, 2005): 39.

10 Ajayi, J. O. and Aderinto A. A. “Crime Wave and Public Confidence in Oodua People‘s Congress in Lagos Nigeria”. (African Journal for the Psychological study of Social Issues Vol. II (2), 2008):76

11 Tamuno, T. N. The Police in Modern Nigeria (Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press, 1970).

12 Adeyemi, A. A. “Corruption in the Administration of justice in Nigeria”, paper presented at the National Conference on the Problems of Corruption in Nigeria”, (held by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced legal Studies, at the Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, March 26-29, 2001).

13 Alemika, E. E. O.: “Police Community Relations in Nigeria: What Went Wrong?” (Paper Presented at the Seminar on Role and Function of the Police in a Post-Military Era, Organized by the Centre for Law Enforcement Education in Nigeria (CLEEN) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) at the Savannah Suite, Abuja, F. C. T., from 8th to 10th March, 1999): 10.

14 Alemika, E. E. O. and Chukwuma I.: Police Community Violence in Nigeria. (Lagos: Lagos Centre for Law Enforcement, 2000), pp. 11-32.

15 Alemika, E. E. O.: “Colonialism, State and Policing in Nigeria”. (Crime, Law and Social Change 20, 1993a): 187 – 219.

16 Ibidapo-Obe, A.: “Police Brutality: Dimension and Control” In Chukwuma Innocent and Akin Ibidapo-Obe (eds.) (Law Enforcement and Human Rights in Nigeria Lagos: Civil Liberties Organization, 1995).

17 Federal Republic of Nigeria (2001). The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Amendment) vol. 11. Lagos: Government Press.

18 Barley, H. D. and Shering, D. C. The new Structure of Policing: Description, Conceptualizations and Research Agenda. (Washington DC, National Institute of Justice, 2001)

19 Odekunle, ‘F. “Overview of Policing in Nigeria: Problems and Suggestions” in Alemika, E. O. A. and Chukwuma, I. C. (Eds), Crime and Policing in Nigeria: Challenges and Options. (Lagos, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, 2004).

20 Ibid

21 The Nigeria Police Force: A Handbook of General Information, (Lagos: The Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, 1981), pp. 5.

22 Ibid, p. 6.

23 Ibid.

24 Okiro, M. “The Police and National Service,” (A lecture delivered at Security Watch Award, 2005), pp. 5-6.

25 Mawby, R. Policing across the World (Quoted in Awake Magazine, 2002).

26 Johnson, W. A. “Redeeming the Nigeria Police,” (Security and Safety magazine Issue 64, 2005).pp. 3.

27 Ehindero, S. I.G Scraps Operation-Fire-for-Fire (The Punch newspaper, January 26, 2005) p. 9.

28 Obijiofor, L. “Mindless Men in Uniform,” (The Guardian newspaper, July 15, 2005), pp. 51

29 Ibid, pp. 55

30 Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), Criminal Force? An Interim Report on the Nigeria Police Force. [2007]. Retrieved on the 10th of September, 2018, from the following website: Nigeria Police

31 The Punch newspaper,Police and Rights Violation,” (August 5, 2005).

32 Olurode, L. The Story of Anini (Lagos:Kristal Publications, 1990), particularly Chapter 6. 

33 Nigerian Tribune, 22nd August 1988, p. 3, where the Assistant Inspector of Police for Zone II, Alhaji Aliya Atta, made the assertion.

34 Odekunle, F. “Overview of Policing in Nigeria: Problems and Suggestions,” In Alemika, E. O. A. and Chukwuma, I. C. (Eds), Crime and Policing in Nigeria: Challenges and Options. (Lagos, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, 2004).

35 Odinkalu, Anselm Chidi (2004), Changing Roles of Civil Society in Promoting Safety and Security in Nigeria in

36 Arase, S. E. and Iwuofor, I. P. O. Policing Nigeria in the 21st Century. (Ibadan, Spectrum Books, 2004).

37 Balogun, T. Vanguard (Monday, March 25, 2002).

38 Otive I. “Strategic Oriented Policing”. A Paper Presented at the Police Service Commission Biennial Retreat on the Challenges of Policing in a Democratic Society in The 21st Century and Beyond (at Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State from 1st -4th November, 2010).

39 Okiro, Mike Mbama (2009), In Otive I. “Strategic Oriented Policing”. A Paper Presented at the Police Service Commission Biennial Retreat on the Challenges of Policing in a Democratic Society in The 21st Century and Beyond (at Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State from 1st -4th November, 2010).

40 George Kelling and Catherine Coles, “Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in our Communities,” In John Scott and Gordon Marshall, Clear, Comprehensive, and Contemporary Oxford Dictionary of Sociology (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

41 Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Nigeria Police Force, (Main Report, Vol.11) p. 22

42 Police Service Commission (2008), Annual Report

43 Police Service Commission (2009) Report

44 Police Service Commission (2008) Annual Report, In Otive I. “Strategic Oriented Policing”. A Paper Presented at the Police Service Commission Biennial Retreat on the Challenges of Policing in a Democratic Society in The 21st Century and Beyond (at Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State from 1st -4th November, 2010).

45 Police Service Commission (2009) Annual Report In Otive I. “Strategic Oriented Policing”. A Paper Presented at the Police Service Commission Biennial Retreat on the Challenges of Policing in a Democratic Society in The 21st Century and Beyond (at Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State from 1st -4th November, 2010).




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