Public Perception of the Police and Crime Prevention in Nigeria

Johnson Olusegun Ajayi

Abstract


The end of military rule in 1999 notwithstanding, the image of the Nigerian Police as a corrupt and inefficient organization with penchant for human rights abuse has not yet been redressed. During General Sani Abacha’s infamous regime, the resort to repression coupled with a rise in armed robbery wave led to a reckless abuse of human rights, including torture and extrajudicial executions by the police while road checkpoints became hotbeds of extortion, the police completely lost their bearings in combating crime particularly heinous politically motivated murders that became the hallmark of the Abacha regime. Throughout Nigeria history, the police had been a tool of the state, mistrusted and feared by the people instead of being friend to the general public. The tragedy is that the brutal mindset lingers on still. Independent Advocacy and Anti Corruption Group project in a recent research aimed highlighting the magnitude of corruption and its effects on democracy clearly placed the police as the most corrupt institution in Nigeria. In spite of the remarkable increase in the strength of the police from 122,000 in 1999 to 320, 000 in 2006, and 371, 800 as at present, the police welfare package, including housing allowances and provision of uniform had remained static over the years. This paper is of the view that there is urgent need to build a new police force that is compliant with democratic cultures and values. The welfare of the Nigeria Police should be accorded the highest priority. The IGP has to check official corruption and miscarriage of justice within the system.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782