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THE NIGERIA POLICE AND DEMOCRATIC SUSTENANCE IN NIGERIA FOURTH REPUBLIC


Project topic for Political Science department

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

Before 1999, Nigeria has most of her political years being controlled by the military (total absent of democracy). Between 1960 and 1999, the military has rule the country for about twenty-nine years. The birth of the present democracy was costly hence it cannot be toiled with by those who are supposed to protect it. If democracy does not move towards securing freedom and rule of law, the citizens will eventually lose their faith in democracy, and turn to authoritarian alternatives. The fate of democracy in Nigeria will be determined not by its expansion but rather by the performance of those institutions that are supposed to protect the democracy itself. 

Democracy is built on the existence of statutory institutions where different opinion and interest are harmonized. Democracy as the government of the people (majority) has a duty of equal protection of her citizens, their possession and their right. People under democratic society have their welfare and security taken care of by the government. There is equal right to political participation, freedom from undue interference, equal opportunity to pursue their career and freedom of speech and religion. 

All over the world, the central element to the achievement of sustainable democracy is “A Police Force” that is: subject to the rule of law rather than to the wish of the powerful leaders, group of people or any political party; can intervene in the life of the citizens only under limited and careful controlled circumstances; and is publicly accountable. Traditionally, the police force stand between the total chaos and social order. The importance of a police force in a democratic society increases with the increase in the heterogeneity of the society. 

In previous years, a defining characteristic of the Nigeria police force is their mandate to legally use force and to deprive citizens of their right. A character that is bound to generate opposition from those who are subject to it; and this was a great threat to Nigeria democracy. However, the recent administration of the Nigeria Police Force the M.D Abubarkar regime to the present regime of Suleiman Abba – has brought positive hope to the role of the Police Force in Nigeria Democracy and this was clearly demonstrated in all the Governorship Elections held during the regime of the above IGPs (the 2012 Ondo Governorship election, 2014 Ekiti and Osun Governorship election) were the Nigeria Police were applauded for their good performance. 

Democracy is built on the existence of institutions whereby different opinions and interest are harmonized (Abdulraseed, 2013). Such institutions include; the police, the judiciary, political parties, electoral commission etc. The modern democracy is expressed in a representative model in which decision making is restricted to the elected.

Abdulsalaam (2004), posits that “Democracy is a sought-after value. It is not a perfect system of governance, even theoretically. But as Aristotle argued, it is the least evil of all possible governments. The strength of democracy is drawn from the fact that it is supposed to be the product of the will of the majority of the people. Government is held in trust for the people. The citizens feel a sense of ownership of the state for they can identify with it as vital stakeholders whose will gave existence and legitimacy to the state and the government. As shareholders of the common-wealth, the citizens will not only avoid such behaviors that hurt and sabotage the system, but join forces to resist any such attack on the collective interest. That in-fact is the real basis for the development of grand tactic, the mobilization of the entire national asset for the protection of the nation, which I believe can work best in a democracy 

For those who elected the decision makers to benefit from the dividend of democracy, the security network must be above average and impartial.Bohm and Haley (1997), posits that “an orderly and safe environment is the foundation for all else that happen in an environment or institution to an extent that the security within the society affect even the inmates in the prison” It is believed that where an environment is not safe, everything that goes on there is secondary. Security therefore is the primary and necessary condition for the smooth running of a democratic process in any social system. The police force is a major institution that protects and curtails the excesses of the citizens. Democracy allows the freedom while the police policies the freedom.

Critical to democratic governance is the concept of the rule of law, and fundamental human right as enshrined in Section 33 – 42 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011. As important and in-alienable these rights are, in practice, it cannot be enjoyed in a society where lives and properties are not adequately secured. The electoral process, through which a democratic government is given birth to, must be protected and policed according to the law of the land. The political parties as both lubricant and conduit in a democratization process must be effectively policed and controlled in line with the law without bias for adequate harmonization of different interest and opinion among the people.

Democracy therefore can only thrive in a society where security in all its paraphernalia abounds. The formal agencies charged with the responsibilities of social control are: the military; the police; and other quasi police agencies. Roger (2001), in support of the above assertion, argued that democracy alone cannot provide personnel and political freedom, unless the institutions of social control are effective. In the words of Governor Theodore Orji of Abia state, democracy thrives only in an atmosphere of peace. First and foremost security is paramount to my administration. In a state where there is no security, nothing work as everyone is afraid to move about”(Daniel, 2012). In the same vein, El-Badaway (2014), argued that the major threat to democracy is insecurity. While Leha (2013) posits that the Police should do everything possible to protect the hard earned democracy in Nigeria.

Section 214 and 215 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, charges the Nigeria police force with the responsibilities of the internal security of the country. Gary (1998) argued that the police are the central element of a democratic society. They are the agency of the government that the citizens are likely to see and have contact with; and are used to control crime and contribute to public order. Therefore, the relationship between the police and democracy is axiomatic. The police are seen almost in every part of the country and are almost the first point of contact whenever there is a disorder or social problem in the society. However, the condition under which the police operate and the means they use can greatly affects the existence of democracy in any society.

If the legal power which the police uses in the performance of their duty, are abuse (ranging from extra-judicial killings to being use by politicians and political parties), there will be a lot of oppositions from the public whom they serve. The law enforcement requires a delicate balancing act in the conflict liberty and order when considering democratization process. The police are constitutionally empowered to conduct arrest, search, detain suspect etc as in the police Act and Regulation. But when these powers are abused to the extent of supporting dictatorship, politicians, they threatened and destroy democracy.

The Nigeria democracy has been a superficial phenomenon, blighted by multiple forms of bad governance, abusive security forces, and domineering local oligarchies. Unfortunately, the dividend of democracy has only been restricted to a corrupt and avaricious few (Owolowo, 2013). 

Democracy begins with the idea that government exists to serve the people and that as the source of governmental authority, the people have the right to change the government if it does not serve them justly (Nash, 2008).

The issue of security remains paramount to all human societies. This is as a result of the important position that security and safety occupies in the order of priority for individuals, groups, nations and states. The capacity to ensure survival remains the most important issue for human collectivities since it is not possible to engage in any meaningful human activity unless the safety of life is assured (Imobighe 1999: 40). It is in view of the centrality of security to human existence that Thomas Hobbes in his treatise “The Leviathan” justifies the necessity for an absolute government in his native England. Hobbes argument was that a strong government is needed to ensure safety of life, which will be endangered in a state of nature that lacks any government which can provide law and order. Therefore, the political community that emerged from the contract entered into by individuals according to the ‘Social Contract Theorists’ has the sole purpose of guaranteeing safety of life and property of individuals and groups within it.

Since the inception of the modern state system traceable to the Westphalian Treaty of 1648, provision of security has remained its core responsibility. It is an issue which states irrespective of their size and strength have come to take as highly important to their continued existence. In other to fulfil this core mandate the state established among others, “Police Institution”, invests it with coercive power and delegated to this body of armed men the power for upholding law and order. Being the state agency invested with the duty of providing security, the police is empowered to use force in the discharge of it duties. In other to minimize the abuse of power, national constitutions, international conventions, police orders and professional ethics are put in place to moderate the deployment of violence by national policing institutions. Notwithstanding the checks, police forces in many states sometimes deploy violence beyond permissible bounds (Alemika and Chukwuma 2004: 1). This notwithstanding, the police continue to remain central to the State in its bids to ensure survival and guarantee individual and group safety irrespective of the noticeable excesses of this important institution across countries around the world.

Though democratically elected, political leaders rather than military juntas, now makes the laws that govern most states in Africa, these laws hardly enjoy consistent enforcement. Much of the inconsistencies that characterized law enforcement in Nigeria have to do, with the limited resources available for policing, poor training and supervision of police personnel. Thus, large swathes of territories and communities in Nigeria, particularly the peripherals of the states, seldom enjoy rule of law. Because of weakness of state in the provision of security, crime and insurgency are common in many Nigeria states, which are seen by students of security studies as a serious problem confronting states on the continent (Baker 2002: 3; Callaghy 1994). It is the understanding of the limitations of policing institutions, the crisis of brutality and endemic corruption within the ranks of policing authority in Africa and challenges confronting Nigeria states as it relates to security provisioning that informed this study.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The police are the agent of state charged with the enforcement of law and maintenance of order.

However the security agency is facing myriad of challenges that impede its efficient operation. These challenges as identified by Alemika E. (2007) include the influence of the autocratic philosophy left by colonial administration with tendencies of incivility, brutality, emphasis on order rather than security and safety of citizens; Inclement Political Environment and Poor Economic Management and Performance.

1.3Purpose of the Study

The broad objectives of the study is to examine the role of police and democratic sustenance in Nigeria’s fourth republic.

The specific objectives are:

To examine the extent to which the Nigerian police have been able to exercise their statuary function to protect lives and properties

To examine the traditional roles and duties of Nigerian police

To examine the reasons for the poor performance of Nigerian police

To suggest solutions to the problems facing Nigerian police

1.4       Research Questions

  • What are the extent which the Nigerian police have been able to exercise their statuary function to protect lives and properties?

What are traditional roles and duties of Nigerian police?

What are reasons for the poor performance of Nigerian police?

What are solutions to the problems facing Nigerian police?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher; to guide this work

Hypothesis One

H0:    Nigerian police has not played Significance roles in exercise their statuary function to protect lives and properties

H1:    Nigerian police has played Significance roles in exercise their statuary function to protect lives and properties

Hypothesis Two

H0:       Nigerian police has no traditional roles and duties

H1:       Nigerian police has traditional roles and duties

Hypothesis Three

H0:       Nigerian police has no Significance reasons for the poor performance

H1:       Nigerian police has Significance reasons for the poor performance

Hypothesis Four

H0:       Nigerian police has no Significance solutions to the problems facing them

H1:       Nigerian police has Significance solutions to the problems facing them

1.6       Significance of the Study

Empirical Significance of the Study

The study will encourage Nigeria Police to seek for qualitative education that will enable them participate in active policing and policing without fear of intimidation.

In addition, the significance of this study is noted in the context of examining the factors militating against the proper discharge of roles and functions by Nigerian police. This will enhance government in putting in place effective policies in improving the security agency.

The study become important as it intends to research into the statutory roles and functions of the Nigerian police and enlighten the citizens on it.

This study will contribute to the academic enterprise on the ways to study security in Nigeria with focus in Nigerian police.

The study brings clear insight on roles and functions of Nigeria security agency. The study will be of benefit to Nigeria Police, government and Nigeria security agency.

Theoretical Significance of the Study

Finally the research work will be of help to scholars who wish to carry further research on Nigeria Police and Democratic Sustenance in Nigeria Fourth Republic as the material of the work will be of great importance for enquiries.

Furthermore, this report will add to the existing literature in the subject matter.

1.7       Scope of the Study

The statutory roles and functions of Nigeria security agency will be the main focus of this study. Hence the study will focus only on Nigerian police.

1.8       Definition of Terms

Police: Alemika E., (2007) are critical agent of state charge with the enforcement of law and maintenance of order.

Brutality: It is the trait of extreme cruelty

Crime: Is an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by laws.

Security: According to Free Encyclopedia it is the degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm, it applies to any vulnerable and valuable asset, such as a person, dwelling, community, nation or organization.

Sovereign state: According to Free Encyclopedia sovereign state is a juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area.

Peace: Peace is when people are able to resolve their conflicts without violence and can work together to improve the quality of their lives. Peace is also when everyone lives in safety without fear or treat of violence, and no form of violence is tolerated in law or in practice.

Poor performance is legally defined as 'when an employee's behaviour or performance might fall below the required standard'. Dealing with poor performance is, however, a legal minefield.

Traditional roles and duties of Nigerian police Its primary functions include investigation and prosecution of serious and complex criminal cases within and outside the Country. The Department also coordinates crime investigations throughout the NPF. Also the Laws should state that the primary duties of police are to protect victims and potential victims and promote offender accountability by consistently enforcing laws and procedures so that all “honour” crimes and killings are investigated and addressed by the criminal justice system.


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