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How to Curb Acts of Impunity by the Nigeria Police Force against Defenseless Citizens

Agha Eresia-Eke PhD

Department of Philosophy,

Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State. 

aeresiaeke@gmail.com

Abstract

With the ever-worsening relationship between the Nigerian public –  the citizens and the Niegria Police Force which, has seen the police perpetuate acts of incivility, insensitivity, brutality, violence, and brazen corruption against the people, though hapless, one can only but thinker on how to curb  those acts of impunity by the Nigeria Police Force against defenseless citizens. The above preceeding underlines the engagement of this study which ensures that the proper role of the Police in society is exposed as this invariably yields to a better understanding of the place of the n Police, its organisation, functions and powers, and relating these powers to the fundamemtal human rights of the citizens. It is within the observed inconsistencies found to exist between the administration of a popular police and its Nigerian version that the study proceeds to enlist ways and means of curbing acts of impunity by the Nigeria Police. And the study identifies the curbing agents in structural and institutional reforms, and legislative and civil society initiatives. The study reaches to the conclusion that research, training, advocacy, monitoring, and mobilisation are important in order to introduce and implement necessary changes within the Nigeria Police system which will also usher in a new vision of relationship and partnership between the citizens and the police.

 

Introduction

The police are state officials charged with responsibility for “law enforcement and order maintenance’ in the society. To discharge these twin responsibilities, the police are empowered to use force, indeed violence. National constitutions and statutes, international conventions and rules; police departmental orders and professional ethics regulate the use of force or violence by police. But despite these provisions, the police in most societies use force and violence beyond the limits permissible by law. There are two dimensions of police violence. These are police use of violence against the citizens and citizens’ use of violence against the police. The incidence, extent and pattern of both forms of violence in different communities are determined by social, political, economic and institutional factors. Police violence is generally conceived in terms of police brutality, torture and homicide. This study focuses on acts of brutality, torture, unnecessary use of excessive force, lethal use of firearms including extra-judicial executions of suspects, and sometimes innocent citizens by the Nigeria Police. In Nigeria, police violence is widespread. Its manifestations include beating and kicking citizens, unnecessary use of restraints such as handcuffs and leg chains, unnecessary use of lethal firearms against suspects and members of the public, torture of suspects in order to extract confession or extort gratification. We urge that a society with authoritarian political structures and an economic system characterised by widespread exploitation and inequalities such as Nigeria will generate social conflicts; Police violence is often a response by a dictatorial government to repress such conflicts.

 

The Role of the Police in Society 

Historically and universally, the police have been charged with numerous and diverse functions. As a result, there are divergent views on the nature and significance of different police roles. Consensus-functionalist perspective in social theory portrays state laws as products and expressions of consensus among the disparate classes and social groups in society over norms governing their social, political and economic institutions. According to this school of thought, the police being law enforcers are responsible for the enforcement of laws that promote the common interests of these different classes and groups. For example, in democratic societies, it is advocated that the police should: contribute towards liberty, equality and fraternity… help reconcile freedom with security and to uphold the rule of law… facilitate human dignity through upholding and protecting human rights and pursuit of happiness, provide leadership and participation in dispelling cryogenic social conditions, contribute towards the creation or reinforcement of trust in communities, strengthen the security of persons and property  and the feelings of security of persons, investigate, detect and activate the prosecution of offences, within the rule of law, facilitate free passage and movement on highways and roads and on streets and avenues open to public passage, curb public disorder, deal with major and minor crises and to help and advice those in distress, where necessary activating other agencies (Alderson 196). This is an idealistic vision of police roles, which is characteristic of the consensus functionalist perspective of state and law as supra-class, mediating and intergrating forces for harmonious existence in society. Social conflict perspective in social theory postulates that society is divided into groups and classes with common interests in some areas and conflicting interests in many fundamnetal areas, including the organisation, mobilisation and distribution of economic and socio-political resources. It has therefore, been argued “that the police were not created to serve the “society” or the “people” but to serve some parts of society and some people at the expense of others” (Onoge 151 – 186). The variation in attitudes towards the police reflects the differential services rendered by the police to different segments of society. Police roles vary across societies with different political and economic organisation. For example, it has been argued that in capitalist societies: the main function of the police has been to protect the property and well being of those who benefit most from an economy based on the extraction of private profit. The police were created primarily in response to rioting and disorder directed against oppressive working and living conditions, other roles of the police in these societies include the repression of the poor and powerless in order to protect the interests of the rulers, thus the police roles, therefore, include standing as a “buffer between elite and masses” and to perform “the essential holding operation against the mal-contents until military force could be applied in a punitive and salutary manner”. Brodgen (2009), puts this view more forcefully, stating that “Police forces are structured, organisationally and ideologically to act against the marginal strata”. The social conflict theorists concentrate on the repressive aspects of police work in a society characterised by class conflict, underlined by unequal and inequitable economic and power relations among groups in society. Their views explain why the poor and the powerless are more likely to be victims of police violence than the elite are. But police role is not limited to repression. No government governs by repression alone, precisely because this renders governance unstable, expensive and unacceptable. Consequently, rulers also enforce compliance, law and order by means of persuation, indoctrination and incorporation of diverse interests into public crime control and law enforcement policies. In many societies, such as the United States of America, Canada, Britain and other European nations, police spend more than one-half of their working hours attending to non-crime-related needs and concerns of citizens or providing social services. The more realistic view is to see police forces as repressive and service organisations. Police repress and at the same time serve the public. The priority attached to repressive and service functions vary across societies and even governments within a society. As has been observed, police role embodies ironies. Police are instrument of oppression and exploitation in totalitarian and unjust social systems. Yet they are essential to the preservation of justice and democracy. The police are guardians of social order. As an institution, the police force, helps to preserve, fortify and reproduce the prevailing social order, and are hardly catalysts for its change. Thus when a social order is oppressive, exploitative and unjust, the police preserve it by suppressing and defusing demand for democracy and elimination of oppression and injustices. Similarly, in a democratic, just and equitable society, police have greater chances of serving as vanguard for social democratic, human rights and socio-economic justice. The most valid way to explain police bahaviour, including police violence, is in terms of the social, political and economic order that the police are required to secure, preserve and fortify. In a free market economy without efficient social welfare services to mitigate the effects of poverty and inequality, police crime control efforts, especially in the control of economic crimes, are likely to be significant. Also, where economic efficiency and equality are not given due considerations; where corruption and distribution of wealth is highly skewed, police will not only have to contend with high rate of economic crimes without much public support for their control, but also with hostility towards the police by those who consider themselves oppressed and exploited. There can be no peace in a society where wealth-largely ill-gotten is concentrated in the hands of a few while the vast majority of its toiling people are condemned to destitution and poverty. The availability, quality and distribution of social infrastructure also affect police performance, and police-public relations. These also have impact on the extent and severity of crimes as well as the capacity of police to respond to security and welfare needs of citizens. The citizens who live in deprived areas of the country are more likely to be hostile to government and especially to the police which they see as a symbol of an insensitive and irresponsive government. This is the presnt day situation where the Nigeria police have been made to deliver saintly dedication of fellow man and country.

 

The Nigeria Police Force

Nigeria had an estimated population of 89 million in 1991, made up of 50.04% males and 49.96% females. Of this population, 44.9% were in 0-14 age group. Nigeria is a multiethnic society with about four hundred ethnic groups (Tamuno, 1993). The country occupies a land area of 923,769 square kilometers. Nigeria evolved through the colonial subjugation of hundreds of societies in the territorybetween 1861 and 1914. By 1900, the British colonial government after series of the amalgamation of the hundreds of nationalities in the Southern and Northern territories further amalgamated these societies into two political blocks: colony and protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the protectorate of Northern Nigeria. The two blocks were amalgamated in 1914 as a single political entity. The subjugation of each of the constituent nationalities witnessed the establishment of a police force or constabulary for the territory. This practice of local and multiplicity of local police forces continued throughout colonial rule. However, from 1900, there were also regional police forces. In 1930, a national police force called the Nigeria Police Force was established. Nigeria became an independent country on 1st October 1960. The Independence constitution (1960) and the Republican constitution (1963) provided for local police force and the Nigeria Police Force. The military seized power on 15th January 1966, and dissolved the local police forces, as a result of the negative roles attributed to the forces during the first Republic (1960-1966) (Tamuno 1970). Nigeria currently has a centralised police force – Nigeria Police Force, established in 1930.  This was sequel to the dissolution of local police forces in 1966 (Onoge 1998). The 1979 and 1999 constitutions explicitly prohibited the establishment of 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.

 

Organisation of Nigeria Police Force   

The Force is organised into 37 commands and the Force Headquaters. Each of the thirty-six States and the Federal Capital Territory is served by a Command of the Force. The Force Headquarters is the office of the Inspector General of Police. The task of the force is carried out through seven departments:

  1. Administration and Finance
  2. Operations
  3. Works and Logistics
  4. General investigation and intelligence
  5. Training
  6. Research and Planning
  7. Information, Communication and Technology.

Each of the Departments is under the leadership of an Assistant Inspector General of Police. The 37 State Police Commands are further organised into 8 Zonal Commands.

 

Functions and Powers of Police in Nigeria

The colonial police in Nigeria performed a variety of functions including “investigating and detecting crime, escorting residents and other officials; prosecuting offenders; guarding goals and prisoners at work outside the precincts of the prisons, serving summons and executing warrants; patrolling, aiding and protecting revenue and customs officials, guarding and escorting goods; and suppressing slave raiding” (Coomassie 20). The colonial police were ‘general utility force’. The functions of the Nigeria Police Force are more clearly stated in section 4 of Police Act and Decree No. 23 of 1979; The police shall be employed for the prevention and detention of crime, apprehension of offenders, the enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged and perform such military duties within or without Nigeria as may be required of them by, or under the Authority of this or any other Act. The Police in the country also have statutory powers to investigate crimes, apprehend offenders, interrogate suspects, prosecute suspects, grant bail to suspects pending completion of investigation or prior to court arraigment, to serve summons, to regualte or disperse unlawful processions and assemblies. The police are also empowered to search and seize properties suspected to be stolen or associated with crime, and to take and record for purposes of identification, the measurements, photographs and fingerprint impressions of all persons in custody (Policy Act, Criminal Code, and Penal Code).

 

Police Powers and Fundamental Human Rights in Nigeria

Police powers in Nigeria are counter-balanced by constitutional guarantee of human rights in the country’s successive constitutions. In chapter 4 of the 1979 and 1999 Constitutions, and under the criminal procedure status, the following fundamantal rights are guaranteed:

  1. Right to life, human dignity (freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, torture) personal liberty, and privacy.
  2. Right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
  3. Right to remain silent during criminal investigation and trial processes.
  4. Right to notice of charges within a reasonable period.
  5. Right to be arraigned before a court or tribunal, and to a judicial proceeding in language(s) understood by the suspect (including interpretation of proceeding in language understood by suspect).
  6. Right to be arraigned before a court within a reasonable period.
  7. Right to be represented by a counsel of one’s own choice provided one is able to pay for the services (and to state legal aid for indigent persons in cases of capital offences).
  8. Right to bail.
  9. Right to cross-examine prosecution’s witnesses and to present witnesses.
  10. Right to speedy trial.
  11. Right against self-incrimination and compulsion to testify against or for oneself.
  12. Right to a fair, open and impartial judicial process.
  13. Right against unduly long detention without trial.
  14. Right against retroactive laws.
  15. Right against double jeopardy (multiple trials for the same offence).
  16. Right to an appeal in respect of the decisions of a court of first instance.

Notwithstanding these provisions, these rights are frequently breached at all phases of criminal justice administration in the country. This is due to several factors, including a legacy of colonial arbitrariness, excesses of politicians and their manipulation of the judiciary and police, as well as police and judicial corruption. The most important source of the infringement of these rights is protracted military rule. Under previous military regimes, the subsisting Constitutions were suspended, retroactive legislation and ouster clauses were introduced. Special (military) tribunals which composition, processes and rule of evidence fall below the standard prescribed by these rights were established. This generally resulted in an atmosphere of persecution and repression. Police violence, brutality, and corruption were more common under the military regimes, which promoted or condoned them.

 

Review of literature and experience indicate that police violence thrives in Nigeria for the following reasons:

  • Undemocratic political structures, and the quest by rulers to suppress opposition to dictatorship, involve the use of police to coerce or repress citizens. Lack of political accountability by the rulers, which encourage lawlessness by government agents, encourage police to act beyond the law.
  • Inequitable economic system, breeds socio-economic complicts that threaten the interests of the rulers and require the deployment of the police by economic and political power-holders for the suppression of some segments of society.
  • Protracted military rule led to the establishment of joint-operation task forces consisting of Armed Forces personnel and the police, to combat crimes, to mount check points, to monitor the distribution of petrol to filling stations, and to monitor fertilizer distribution, and waste disposal. These did not only become fertile grounds for bribery, extortion and sharp practices but also licence for unrestrained use of force against the citizens. The militarisation of the police in these respects compound the ‘kill and go’ syndrome which was in the past only dominant among the personnel of the Police Mobile Force, but now pervasive throughout the Nigeria Police Force.
  •  The use of police to suppress socio-economic discontents among workers, students and disempowered groups in society, often result in violence by and against police.
  • Inadequate training of police officials, lead to misuse of arms and ammunitions against citizens.
  • Inadequate supervision of junior police personnel encourgaes brutality towards citizens.
  • Hostile police-public relations precipate police-citizen violence.
  • Stress-frustration by police officers in response to high crime rates, poor conditions of service, dearth of crime control facilities, especially transportation and communication, arms and ammunition, precipitate violent law enforcement strategies.
  • Poor screening of police recruits leads to the recruitment of psychologically and socially unstable persons into the police force, who are prone to violence in the course of law enforcement.
  • Poor appreciation of structural and resource limitations, demands and stress of police work in Nigeria, leads to unrealistic demand on police to fight crime without necessary facilities, resulting in the use of the most brutal method of crime control.
  • Lack of public respect for the police due to the arbitrary and unjust laws they are called upon to enforce, leads the police to forcefully assert their powers and authority. These factors, which are by no means exhaustive, combine in different ways to provoke violence by and against the police in the country. The solution to the problems demands adequate analysis of these and other relevant factors and the design of appropriate measures to address them.

Historical evidence demonstrates that the colonial police forces were organised and oriented to behave as occupation forces – ruthless, brutal, corruption, dishonest and prone to brutalising the colonised people and vandalising their properties… The preoccupation of colonial and post-colonial Nigeria police were not the promotion and enforcement of just laws, rule of law, natural justiceand equity, and security of the vast majority of Nigerians, as colonial surrogates often claimed. The greatest part of the police energies and resources were committed to, and dissipated on, the suppression of struggles and protest against oppression and exploitation, the large scale theft and mismanagement of the public wealth by those who controlled the economy and state apparatus. Colonial police in Nigeria therefore acted as “hostile troops occupying an enemy country” (Alemika 187-219), rather than a force constituted by or for the people for their collective and individual security.There were two principal areas of dissatisfaction with colonial and post-colonial Nigeria Police Force. These areas are conduct and performance. Firstly, the public dissatisfaction with police conduct derived from pervasive corruption, incivility and insensitivity to the plights of citizens and especially crime victims. Police methods employed in the course of crime investigation, arrest, and interrogation is also a source of the citizens’ dissatisfaction with the police. Examples include the activities of the colonial constabulary police in the pillage of Benin Kingdom (1897), Opobo nation and the battle for Niger confluence occupied by various ethnic nationalities such as Abinu (Bunu land), Bassa Nge, Oworo, Kakande, Egbura etc between 1895 and 1900. The ‘victory’ of British Force led to the formation and proclamation of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria with Lokoja as headquarters on January 1, 1990. Such instances also include women anti tax riots in the East (1929-1930), in Warri Province (1927-1928), in Abeokuta (1948) and industrial Labour Strikes in Burutu (1945), Enugu (1949), and General strike (1945) (Alemika 30-78). Scores of unarmed men and women were “killed or maimed in these incidents by colonial forces by order of the government of the day. Secondly, the public dissatisfaction, also derive from ineffectiveness of the police in controlling crime, detecting and apprehending offenders, and protecting the rights of citizens who come in contact with them as either complainant/victimor suspect/offender. Thus, since the creation of the Police Force, there have been continuing and widespread dissatisfaction with police conduct and performance.

 

How to Curb These Acts of Impunity by the Nigeria Police Force Against Defenseless Citizens.

Concretely, the following measures should be introduced and sustained to curb the brazen acts of impunity by the Police against the citizens of Nigeria.

 

Structural Reforms

The country must restructure its political and economic structures towards democratising the polity, and promoting economic efficiency and competitiveness with due consideration for and the guarantee of social equity and welfare, especially in the provision of health, education and housing for the needy.

  1. Democratisation of Nigerian polity and economy should be accelerated. This is the only way to have an effective, efficient, civil and polite, accountable, well equipped and adequately remunerated and motivated police in the country.
  2. The economy should be restructured to provide the basic needs of citizens on local/national self-reliance basis. The development of effective services like education, health, transportation, telecommunication, and energy (electricity) should receive priority attention in national development policies and the services should be made avialable to citizens at affordable costs.
  3. Corruption, which is an important motivation for political repression and a major cause of economic and social backwardness in the country, should be tackled through effective legal provisions that are fairly and promptly enforced. This will reduce the high level of curruption in the top hierarchy of government and private institutions. The existence of corruption at these levels encourages corruption at other levels, especially by law enforcement agents. Effective anti-corruption programmes in the country will also promote effective and efficient allocation and management of resources for national development and provision of social services.

 

Institutional Reforms

The following conditions within the police force should be given due attention with a view to reducing the institutional sources of police-citizen violence.

  1. The scope of the contacts between the police and citizens should be enlarged to include social services delivery by police in order to create favourable environment for public cooperation with police in their law enforcement duties.
  2. Members of the public should be educated on the role and powers of the police and the significance of public cooperation with police in order to promote an overall individual, community and national security.
  3. Policemen and women should be thoroughly screened and tested during their intial training to ensure that they possess good character, and are emotionally stable before they are finally enlisted.
  4. Government should provide opprotunities fortraining in academic and professional disciplines by police officials. Many officers, on their own embarked on self-sponsored education at post-secondary levels, and instead of being rewarded, they are indirectly punished, for example by failing to promptly retrain and upgrade them in accordance with their qualifications. Officers who engage in self-education or self-sponsorship in order to acquire higher educational and professional qualifications should be upgraded to appreciate rank within twelve months.
  5. Workshops, seminars, lectures for the reorientatiin of police officers should be organised at state and divisional command levels, to enable them acquire proper orientation for policing a free and demoncratic society. The curriculum of police colleges should be enlarged to adequately deal with human rights education, international codes and ethics for law enforcement officers, etc.
  6. In order to enhance the effectiveness of the police, the Nigeria Police Force should be well funded and equipped. This will boost the morale of the officers, enhance their performance, and promote positive evaluation of police by citizens.
  7. The Nigeria Police Force should change its law enforcement practices and style that emphasise reactive policing. Instead, proactive preventive policing strategies such as beat (foot) patrol, problem-oriented policing, which involves police-community partnership should be emphasised.
  8. Refresher courses should be provided for all levels of the police with a view to sharpening the professional skill of officers and to enable them understand the changes and dynamics in the country’s political, social and economic spheres. The courses should also aim at ensuring that police are properly oriented to promote good relationship with the public, and protect humn rights and rule of law in the country.
  9. Nigeria police should pay attention to effective information management collation, analysis, publication, storage and dissemination of relevant criminal, social and economic information. At present, the quality of criminal and law enforcement statistics generated and produced by the police is grossly unsatisfactory in terms of scope or coverage and accuracyof data, level of analysis, format of presentation and publication. Worse still, the Nigerian police are reluctant to collaborate with technically qualified criminologists to design appropriate and relaible criminal and law enforcement information management system. The police are also reluctant to disseminate criminal and law enforcement statistics to researchers, mass media practitioners, civil society organisations and citizens in general. This practice denies the police understanding of their responsibilities and constraints. The police authority should establish a panel comprising of police and civilian specialists to design appropriate criminal and law enforcement infromation management system for the country.
  10. There is need for explicit guideline that conforms to international conventions and principles on law enforcement, to guide the behaviour of police officers and their relationships with the public. The present force order governing the use of firearms requires changes to make conditions for the use of firearms more restrictive. In addition, police should procure more non-lethal but effective weapons, such as water cannons, rubber bullet, etc. for crime and crowd control. The use of baton rather than personal arms should be reintroduced as routine tools of law enforcement for the beat officer.
  11. The police authority should enhance the quality and quantity of telecommunication facilities available to officers. Telephone and radio communication facilities should be installed in all police stations and barracks. In addition, all active police men and women should be provided with an effctive and relaible walkie-talkie for communication with police stations and patrol vehicles within his divisional command to ensure better police response to crime and needs of victims.

 

Legislative Initiative

Several legislative initiatives are needed to promote police effectiveness, civility and accountability, and reduce police violence and brutality. Some of such initiatives are presented below.

  1. The Police Act, including Police Regulations should be reviewed to bring it in conformity with international conventions and principles, and the nation’s constitutional provisions of human rights, law enforcement, criminal justice administration and treatment of offenders.
  2. The National Assembly should enact a law to create Police Boards at the Village, Divisional, State and National Levels. The composition should include elected representatives of community based organisations, workers, students, professional associations (especially medical, legal, and academic), trade associations (especially commercial vehicle drivers) religious and community leaders, retired police officers and a serving police officer within the command. The Board should have a civilian Chairman. The functions of the Board should include:
  1. To promote effective police services
  2. To promote respect for human rights and rule of lawby police
  3. To promote police accountability to the citizens
  4. To promote and mobilise public support for the police.
  5. To organise public enlightenment programme for police and citizens on police powers and functions and citizens concerns for public security, personal safety and human rights.
  6. To promote measures to reduce conflicts and violence between police and citizens.
  7. To identify and promote measures to reduce crime and insecurity in society and to assist police efforts towards crime prvention and control, and law enforcement in communities.
  8. To promote partnership, communication, and cooperation between community and police in problem identification and problem solving.
  9. To receive, investigate and make recommendations on complaints against police men and women, and police departments. The report shall be transmitted:
  1. From Community (village/town) Police Board to Divisional Police Board.
  2. From Divisional Police Board to State Police Board.
  3. From State Police Board to National Police Board.

The Police Boards should operate as an independent organisation. It shall, however, be a department of the office of the Minister of Police Affairs, who shall establish a state liason office to coordinate the activities of the Board within each State of the Federation.

  1. The National Assembly should enact a law for the establishment of a legal Assistance fund, into which an annual subvention shall be made by the Federal government. The victims of police and executive oppression should be able to draw on the fund for civil litigation.

 

Civil Society Initiatives

The civil society organisations need to create programmes, activities, and measures that will enhance partnership and cooperation between the public and police. Additionally, the organisations should empower citizens to ensure police accountability and effective police services. The civil society institutions can promote these through the mobilisation of the public in support of police legitimate efforts as well as the mobilisation of citizens against abuse of authority/power, brutality and violence, insensitivity, incivility and ineffectiveness by police. Civil society institutions should maintain a strong monitoring, research, training and advocacy capacity on police work in the country.

 

Conclusion

The desirability of decentralising Nigeria Police has been debated: some people want each state to establish its own Police Force, but others argued that there will be too many police forces that would be used for repression and fraudulent electoral practices if state and local governments establish their police forces. The need for decentralisation will involve two elements – accountability and police strategies. The police will be more accountable to the public, if the police emphasises community and problem-orientated policing strategies and if more power is devolved to local, divisional and state commanders to adopt with their community’s appropriate strategies for securing personal safety, public security and social order. Such strategies must not erode the rule of law or violate the fundamental rights of the citizens, group and communities, and especially minorities.

 

The problem of police corruption, incivility, insentitivity, brutality, and violence in the country deserve serious attention. In particular, police execution and extra-judicial killing of suspects, and innocent citizens should be discouraged bypromptly, fairly and firmly disciplining erring officers. The problem of police execution is serious. Such incidences are widely reported in the country’s mass media and corpses of suspects summarily executed by police are frequently shown on the nation’s television stations, sadly as evidence of police successful efforts against crime and criminals. These police practices are incompatible with democracy, human rights and rule of law, and must be stopped through legislative, judicial and organisational measures. Also, the police in Nigeria are handicapped, they are ill equipped, the salary is poor, and they are poorly trained. It is so bad that contacting the police is almostan impossible task, when they are finally contacted; it is either that they do not have a functional vehicle or there is no driver to drive it or that there is no fuel. Can you really blame them? Are they meant to use their meagre salaries to buy fuel to serve the masses? The policemen should be properly equipped to combat the rising crime wave. The police are still using the old obsolete riffle while the armed robbers use powerful automatic sub-machine guns. The police cannot succeed without cordial relationship with the public, but their relations with the public are hostile and oppressive due to government’s neglect and insentitivity to the lacuna created by years of abandonment of the police especially durig the dark period of military rule.

 

The problems with Nigeria police deserve structural and institutional reforms, legislative initiatives as well as monitoring, research, and training and advocacy and mobilisation activities by civil society, in order to introduce and implement necessarychanges within the police system and in the relationship and partnership between the citizens and the police. These are necessary if Nigeria is to have effective, civil, incorruptible and accountable police that will not hunt the citizens with unrepentant acts of impunities.

 

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Published inNumber 1Volume 5