Text of a lecture delivered by Acting Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar Adamu Mohammed to Course 27 Participants of the National Defence College, Abuja at the college auditorium on 7th February, 2019
It is my honour and privilege to present this paper on behalf of the Acting Inspector-General of Police, IGP Abubakar Adamu Mohammed NPM, mni, who directed me to convey his candid apology for not being able to be here to personally deliver this lecture. He also sent his warm greetings and asked me to sincerely thank the Commandant for inviting him to deliver this lecture on “Nigeria Police: Challenges and future perspectives” to these distinguish participants. There is no doubt that no topic would have been more apt at this period of our national history than the one in question.
The aim of this paper is to acquaint the participants with adequate knowledge of the Nigeria police Force (NPF).
Outline of the Paper
- a) History and evaluation of the Nigeria Police Force
- b) Organizational Structure of the Nigeria Police Force
- c) Roles, Mission and Powers of the Nigeria Police
- d) Domestic policing, with emphasis on community policing
- e) International policing/ Police and Peace Support Operations
- f) Constraints to Nigeria Police Operational Efficiency
- g) Future Perspectives and Policy Direction
- h) Conclusion
History and Evaluation of the Nigeria Police Force
Historically, the establishment of a police force in Nigeria could be traced to the formation of a 30-Man Contingent in June 1861 in Lagos. The then Consular General, John Beecroft, appointed a 30-Man group of officers named the Consular Guard, with the permission of the British Government. This was to aid him in the discharge of his numerous administrative duties, some of which he regarded as police duties. This Consular Guard was renamed the “Hausa Guards” in 1863 and consisted of 600 men following an additional enlistment of run-away slaves captured at Jebba by Lieutenant Glover R. N. The Guard subsequently increased in capacity to 1,200 men due to the recruitment of new officer mainly of Hausa origin, all commanded by an Inspector General of Police. This Guard was saddled mainly with military duties as well as some civil duties, dealing with internal disturbance and external aggression.
In 1894, the Niger Coast constabulary was established in Calabar under the Niger Coast Protectorate. It was modelled after the Hausa Constabulary but with greater emphasis on the military role. During its six years of existence, the constabulary was mainly engaged in active service and formed the major part of the Expedition against Benin in 1896. Like the Hausa Constabulary, Lagos Police Force was established on 1st January, 1896 and named the “Lagos Constabulary”. It had a Commissioner, two Assistant-Commissioners, a Superintendent, a Pay Quarter, a Master-Tailor and 250 other ranks. The Commissioner was a Sheriff (i.e. officer in charge of process). Inspector of weight and measure was also in charge of prison. This Force was armed and operated mainly in Lagos area while the “Hausa Constabulary” operated in the hinterland. In 1906, three separate Police Forces existed in Nigeria; the Lagos Police Force, the Northern Police Force and the Southern Police Force.
Indeed, even at amalgamation in 1914, Nigeria did not have a unified Police until 1930 when all the three Forces were merged to form the Nigeria Police Force, with NPF as its acronym. The Force was under the command of Mr Duncan, as the Inspector General. The new Police Force was saddled with military duties as well as civil Police duties, dealing with internal disturbance and external aggression. The title, “Inspector General” was dropped for “Commissioner of Police” in the year 1937 as the Command Head of the Nigeria Police Force. Following the administrative division of the country into; East, West and Northern Regions, the Force was divided in 1947 and the office of an Assistant Commissioner of Police was created and appointed in each region. With the introduction of a new constitution in 1952, the Nigeria Police was again under the leadership of an Inspector General assisted by a Commissioner in charge of each of the regions.
As Nigeria became a Republic on the 1st of October, 1963, the Nigeria Police continued to be administered on a Federal basis as it was promulgated in the Republican Constitution. Pursuant to the Military take-over of government in January 15, 1966, the country was divided into twelve States on 27th May, 1967. Subsequently, the Nigeria Police made necessary adjustments by establishing a Police Area Command in each of the States under the authority of Commissioners of Police. With the further creation of additional States, the structure changed to thirty-six States, and the Federal Capital Territory.
It is imperative to note that even after the mergers of the Forces, under the colonial rule, the Nigeria Police still performed the vast majority of its duties under Local Governments. Thus, they were working under Native Authorities. However, at Independence in 1960, and under the first republic, the Nigeria Police initially worked on regional basis (territorial premise) before it was changed to the National Police. From thereon, the Police Force has experienced expansion, modernization and a couple of changes in nomenclature.
The NPF, which at independence numbered approximately 12,000 was chronically underfunded (CLEEN Foundation, 2008). This, in addition to low manpower, was due to lack of equipment to perform. Equipment and facilities were poorly maintained, and with time, obsolete equipment such as those of communications were not upgraded to modern international standards. In addition, police remunerations were absolutely at their lowest, prior to the present democratic dispensation 1999. The numbers of police officers were not commensurate to the growing population of the country. At the advent of the current democratic dispensation in 1999, there were only 112,000 Policemen and women policing the Country of approximately 119.3 million then.
Organisational Structure of the Nigeria Police Force
The structure of the NPF is provided for under Section 214 (2) (a) and 215(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. It is designed to work in a multi-divisional form, although the operational structure has recently evolved in a matrix form with the combination of many other structures. Section 215 (2) of the Constitution states that:
The NPF shall be under the Command of the Inspector-General of Police and any contingents of the NPF stationed in a State shall be subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of Police, and under the command of Commissioner of Police of that State.
From the above provisions, three different structures: Command (Authority) Structure; Administration Structure; and Organisational Structure exist in the NPF. These structures are patterned to meet the Constitutional expectations of the Force, to perform efficiently and effectively the duties assigned to it. The Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force is in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, where the office of the Inspector General of Police is located.
In order to ensure effective service delivery, the Inspector-General of Police is assisted by Deputy Inspectors-General of Police that are structured and divided into seven Departments: ‘A’- ‘G’, with each Department charged with peculiar duties. ‘A’ Department: Finance and Administration; ‘B’ Department: Operation; ‘C’ Department: Logistics and Supply; ‘D’ Department: Investigation and Intelligence; ‘E’ Department: Training and Development; ‘F’ Department: Research and Planning and ‘G’ Department: Information Communication and Technology (ICT). Though their duties are inter-woven, there is no water-tight separation among the departments in the course of handling issues and affairs of the Force because very often, one particular issue may require the attention of two or more departments. That is, what obtains in practice is that all the departments have coordinate powers that overlap in the process of performance of their respective duties. It is these Departmental Heads, including the Force Secretary that constitute the Nigeria Police Management Team, under the leadership of the Inspector General of Police. The Management Team makes decisions and gives directives that reflect national policies on all issues relevant to the Force.
The NPF is further structured in line with the geo-political structure of the Country, with provisions for supervisory formations. The structure formation enables Police operations cover the internal territory of Nigeria. As at January 2019, the NPF has, across the Federation, 12 Zones, headed by Assistant Inspectors-General of Police; 36 States and FCT Command, headed by Commissioners of Police; 127 Area Commands, headed by Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACP), also known as Area Commanders; 1,329 Divisions, commanded by Divisional Police Officers of the ranks of Assistant Superintendent of Police to Chief Superintendent of Police; 1,579 Police Stations, headed by Police Inspectors and; 3,756 Police Posts, headed by non-commissioned officers. The hierarchy of the Police Force therefore runs from the patrol team to the Force Headquarters. It is important to state that, there is no fixed number of Police Divisions that make up an Area Command and number of Police Stations that constitute a Police Division as their statutory creations depend on such considerations like – population density, geographical size and other security peculiarities of the respective States. The overall consideration being that every State is adequately policed.
By its nature, the Police operational crime fighting function is felt by the populace. The relevance of the structuring of the Police to the defence and internal security of the nation can be appreciated by the totality of Police role in internal security. The whole weight of the powers and duties of the Police are spread on the balance of these structures. A periodic assessment and review of these structures to determine their relevance in the scheme of the nation’s defence mechanism has remained a traditional exercise in the Force, in order to catch up with current global policing strategies as prescribed in international defense policies.
Roles, Mission and Powers of the Nigeria Police
There are several laws in the country that instituted the Nigeria Police and their corresponding roles, especially the Police Act, Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) which grants the Police wide powers. According to Section 4 of Police Act 2004, the main functions of the NPF are unambiguously stated as follows:
- Prevention and detection of crime;
- Apprehension of offenders;
- Preservation of law and order;
- Protection of life and property,
- 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.
In addition to the aforementioned roles, the NPF also has statutory powers to investigate crimes, interrogate suspects, prosecute suspects, grant bail to suspects pending completion of investigation or prior to court arraignments, to serve summons, and to regulate 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 record of the measurements, photographs and fingerprint impressions of all persons in custody for purposes of identification. The duties of the NPF are statutory and the police owe these duties to the generality of Nigerians and all other persons lawfully living within the country. They are therefore answerable to the law in performance of their duties.
The vision of the NPF is to “make Nigeria safer and more secure for economic development and growth; to create a safe and secure environment for everyone living in Nigeria.” The mission of the NPF is to partner with other relevant security agencies and the public in gathering, collating, sharing information and intelligence with the intention of ensuring the safety and security of Nigerian citizens. This is aimed at addressing the root causes of crime while ensuring that any criminal act is investigated so as to bring the criminals to justice in a fair and professional manner. This mission also forms the tasks the Police seeks to achieve in the discharge of its statutory roles by employing community policing in order to achieve the goal of leading other agencies in law enforcement and maintenance of order within the Nigeria society.
Society through its law gives its government wide powers for the purpose of efficient and effective preservation of law and order, protection of citizens from suffering, fear and loss of life and property produced by crime and violent conflict. The Police is inherently, the most visible symbol of any government power and authority and primary enforcement of its law; an institution of social control in the hands of those who are managers of the State.
Domestic Policing, with Emphasis on Community Policing
Domestic Policing is the internal Policing mechanism adopted by the Nigeria Police in the art of policing at home with a view to ensuring that law and order in the society is maintained, and that the security of citizens and the safety of their property is ensured. These tasks are performed using preventive and detective methods of policing such as foot and motorized patrols, beats patrols, surveillance, raids, escorts, investigations and prosecutions among others. In discharging these tasks, the NPF has now adopted community policing rather than the traditional ways of policing the country. The purpose of this is to ensure that the citizens are engaged in policing their society.
In the course of implementing community policing within the domestic environment, the NPF put some strategies in place to ensure proper enforcement of the strategies. The NPF also adopted policing styles in conformity with universal norms and practices. This is encompassed in the concept of community-based policing system. It entails policing style of problem-solving approach to work, and involve the public in deciding policing priorities. To achieve this, the NPF established a section called the Community Policing and Strategy Development, headed by a Commissioner of Police. This Section was set up to provide research and analytical services such as to monitor and evaluate functions to support modern policing operations and public safety practices. It is also responsible for identifying law enforcement issues and conducting timely policy research and evaluation. In addition, the Section is to follow-up training and technical assistance on those issues that will provide information and direction to police personnel, police leaders and the community.
In view of this, the NPF made provisions to provide the necessary guidelines for the execution and implementation of community policing, towards ensuring crime free society within the country. The establishment of the Community Policing and Development Section in the NPF has initiated the necessary strategies and also ensured proper implementation. The effective execution of these strategies would further improve the activities and operations of the NPF towards entrenching community policing concepts in our policing culture.
International Policing and Peace Support Operations
International policing activities of the Nigeria Police entails the engagement of the Force personnel in international duties. These duties include Peace Support Operations (PSOs) as well as Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs). The United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of Defence sees PSOs as “an operation that impartially makes use of diplomatic, civil and military means, normally in pursuit of United Nations Charter purposes and principles to restore or maintain peace”. It is an organised international assistance initiative to support the maintenance, monitoring and building of peace and prevention of resurgent violent conflict. The Nigeria Police participation in PSOs dated back to 1960 when the Force deployed her first contingent of Individual Police Officers (IPOs), led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Louis Edet who later became the first indigenous Inspector–General of NPF to Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo). This was the first time that the United Nations was deploying Police officers to a Peacekeeping operation, and Nigeria and Ghana were the first countries to be deployed.
Deployment of IPOs continued till June, 2004 when the Force deployed her first Formed police Unit (FPU) to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). With this deployment, Nigeria became the first country in Africa to deploy a Formed Police Unit to United Nations Peacekeeping mission. It is gratifying to note that the performance of the first FPU deployed to Liberia was highly exemplary and provoked the United Nations to request for the deployment of more Nigeria FPUs to other United Nations Peacekeeping missions. Consequently, other FPUs were deployed to DRC and Haiti in 2005. Since then, NPF has deployed FPUs to many PSOs including Darfur in Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Somalia and Mali, under the auspices of the UN, AU or ECOWAS. To a greater extent, personnel of the NPF that have served in PSOs have performed so well that they have been commended by the UNDPKO and Heads of their respective missions.
The role played by the Nigeria Police in PSO largely depends on the nature of the mandate. In a mission with a chapter VII mandate (i.e. executive), the Police take up national policing roles in the host state (e.g. the mission in Bosnia, Kosovo, Timor Liste). Since NPF’s first PSOs deployment to Congo, the NPF has creditably participated in numerous PSOs, among which are: –
- UN Operation in Congo (UNCE) – 1960 – 1964
- UN Assistance Group in Namibia (UNTAG) – 1989 – 1990
- UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) – 1992 – 1993
- UN Protection Force – Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR) – 1992 – 1995
- UN Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM 1,11 & 111) – 1994 – 1997
- UN Operation in Somalia (UOISOM 1 & 11) – 1994 – 1995
- UN Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara (MINORSO) – 1994 – 1998
- UN Operation in Mozambique (UNMOZ) – 1994
- UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) – 1994
- UN Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina (UNMIBIH) – 1995 – 2002
- UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNMEAT) – 1999 – 2012
- UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) – 1999 – 2005
- UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) – 1999 – 2012
- UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) – 2005 – 2011
- African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) – 2004 – 2007
- UN Operations in Burundi (ONUB) – 2004 – 2006
- UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) – 2007 – 2009.
As at 31st January 2018, the current deployment of Nigeria Police to different PSOs across the globe stands at Five Hundred and Fifty-Five (555) personnel covering Individual Police Officers (IPOs), FPUs and officers on secondment. At present, a total of 396 officers and men of the NPF are participating in different types of missions abroad. These include IPOs to AMISOM, MINUSMA, UNAMID DARFUR, UN Mission in South Sudan, UN Mission in Congo, MINUJUSTH, and ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau. The Force also sent FPUs to UN Mission in Mali and AU Mission in Somalia. The continued participation of the Nigeria Police in PSOs has indeed exposed personnel of the Force to modern day policing strategies that have been immensely beneficial to the Force and to the Nation in general.
Constraints to Nigeria Police Operational Efficiency
The Nigeria Police Force is faced with many challenges that are militating against its operational effectiveness among which are as enumerated hereunder:
The NPF most important asset is its personnel. As stated earlier, the manpower strength of the NPF at the inception of democratic governance was 112,000 Policemen and women to police about 119.3 million citizens. However, with series of recruitments under the Police Reform Agenda, the current strength of the Police is approximately 300,000 personnel. The number of the officers to the population which stood at ratio of 1:563. This figure is inadequate with the estimated population of approximately 180 million.
The precarious manpower situation is further compounded by the practice of deploying a large number of Policemen on non-Police duties or duties that could be performed by other bodies or private security guards. This is exemplified in the use of a large number of Policemen especially in urban centres for such duties as protection of VIPs, guarding private homes and provision of security at social gatherings among others. However, the Inspector General of Police is currently reviewing this situation, especially as the general election is fast approaching which obviously require adequate manpower in order to ensure maximum protection before, during and after the electioneering processes. In addition, concerted efforts are being made by the Federal Government to recruit more personnel into the Force under the present administration.
Logistics and Infrastructure
Inadequate means of transportation and fuelling of vehicles has impaired patrols and response to calls for assistance by the public. Sometimes the Police had failed to pursue a criminal because there is no vehicle at the station. The Police require a large fleet of serviceable vehicles for mobility. It is recommended that a Police Station should have a minimum of four land rovers, two lorries, four crime branch vehicles, eight patrol vehicles and two motorcycles for routine patrols. Regrettably, the limited available operational vehicles are not fuelled regularly due to paucity of fund. With scarcity and cost of spare parts, many operational vehicles have been grounded and this is yet to receive desired attention. This position continues to affect the operational effectiveness of the Police, especially in terms of crime prevention.
Over the years, the NPF fiscal appropriation has been inadequate towards ensuring effective discharge of its constitutional duties. This is reflected in the Force operational efficiency. The annual budgetary allocation to the Force especially with regards to Capital and Overhead cost does not in any way reflect the enormous size, scope of responsibility and actual needs of the Force.
With insufficient funds made available to the NPF, much has not been allocated for maintenance of the Force operational vehicles. Even the little fund being allocated is not usually released on time. Going by the importance of serviceable vehicles to the NPF, the effect of deficits in fund released is drastically affecting its operational effectiveness in the face of the contemporary security challenges which ranges from armed robbery, burglary, rape, incessant killings, farmers-herdsmen clashes, banditry, among others that the country is facing. Most equipment and operational vehicles of the Force are supported and maintained by State Governments and other well-meaning Nigerians and organisations. Thus, revealing the inability of the NPF to solely operate effectively due to insufficient fund. Therefore, it is important for the Nigerian government to consider increasing and ensure full and speedy release of fund allocation to the NPF. In this instance, the Police Trust Fund Bill before the National Assembly could be speedily approved. In the recent past, the National Assembly has made progress in this direction.
Poor Motivation/Welfare of Officers and Men
The general welfare of officers and men of the NPF is not too encouraging. For instance, most officers and men lack habitable barracks, thereby affecting their service delivery to the nation. This does not in any way motivate the personnel for effective performance. Even though there are some welfare schemes available in the NPF, study conducted by Oyebade (2018) revealed that the services provided by these schemes are not enough to motivate its personnel for enhanced operational efficiency. As we all know, the level of operational efficiency of any organization is closely tied to the nature of motivation available to its personnel. The motivation factors in the NPF are not adequately encouraging. These, in combination with a host of other issues continue to dampen the morale of officers and men, thereby negatively affecting the operational efficiency of the Force.
The potency of the Nigeria Police in investigating crime is diminishing as public confidence in the Police has been eroded. The Police are often accused of the abuse of fundamental human rights by the Nigerian citizens, Human Rights Watch and other human right agencies. This continue to demoralise the Officers and men of the NPF thereby affecting their operational efficiency. In order to correct this anomaly, the NPF is implementing community policing that is bridging the gap between the police and the communities. The police/public partnership and community relations in crime prevention and control continue to get better.
Future Perspectives and Policy Direction
In term of crime prevention and control, which is most germane to our great country, the NPF has re-organised its Criminal Intelligence Bureau and is strengthening the Force Criminal Investigation Department with necessary logistics support, communications, transportation and other necessary facilities for intelligence gathering as well as timely and successful investigation. In addition, the IGP is on the track of strengthening strategic partnerships with all segments of the Nigerian society, including the traditional institutions, traders’ associations, National Union of Road and Transport Workers, trade unions and other necessary Non-Governmental Organizations within the country in order to enhance public support for its crime prevention efforts.
Beat and patrol are the most basic functions of police operations where frontline officers are in contact with ordinary citizens of the country. Accordingly, our regular patrol of all national road networks and waterways is absolutely necessary for effective policing, prevention and detection of crime. In this respect, the Force support services; K9 (Dog Section), Mounted Troops are now been overhauled in order to ensure adequate crowd control. In addition, all urban areas in the Country will be provided with motorised patrols with appropriate communication equipment connected to similarly endowed Base Stations. For prompt and effective policing of urban neighbourhoods, the NPF is determined to reorganise and equip flash points with maps, motorcycles, bicycles and appropriate communication gadgets (walkie-talkie) that will be linked with Police Stations.
The need for comprehensive training of officers, both locally and internationally is imperative for efficient service delivery. To this end the IGP has directed the review and reform of all existing training curriculum in the Force in order to meet its strategic training objectives. In addition, a NEED assessment on the Training Institutions particularly with a view to attracting and retaining the right personnel in the Force is part of the IGP’s agenda. The IGP has also initiated sustainable training and capacity building programmes aimed at bridging deep manpower competency gap in the Force. This will strengthen the quality of strategic police leadership and prepare the Force for future policing challenges in the country.
On provision of infrastructure, the police leadership is on the course of facilitating the construction of more decent homes for officers and men through a robust Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. The partnership would bring about construction of low-cost houses for members of the NPF nationwide. With this, officers and men of the NPF will be motivated for effective service delivery thereby enhancing the Force operational efficiency. The IGP have strategies for proper implementation of the various welfare schemes (Insurance, Pension, Medical, among others), to ensure motivation of the personnel.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) play critical role in strengthening Nigeria’s internal security against potential crimes. Thus, it helps to identify potential threats, provide mechanisms and develop response capabilities for intelligence led policing in the country. In its bid to provide a viable information and communication network necessary to support intra and inter State police operations, as well as platform for interfacing seamlessly with relevant security agencies, the NPF is developing or reviewing where necessary, the Force ICT policy in line with the National ICT policy and other extant instruments. To ensure adequate use of ICT in the Force, the IGP has set the stage to equip at least 70% of police officers with necessary ICT skills for operational efficiency and improved public service delivery by the end of December 2020.
Towards the forthcoming election, the IGP has deviced some strategic and action plans in order to ensure an enabling environment that will guarantee security of officials, electorates and electoral materials before, during and after the elections despite the challenges facing the Force. These plans include:
- Effective deployment of officers and men for the elections.
- Each officer will be provided with an aid memoire on roles of the police in election monitoring and management.
iii. Proactive patrol of all nooks and crannies of the nation.
- Timely apprehension of would-be electoral offenders.
- To ensure that all Electoral offences are professionally investigated to a logical conclusion.
- To ensure diligent prosecution of all electoral cases.
However, inter-agency cooperation and collaboration is key in our policing perspective.
The NPF made provisions to provide the necessary guidelines for the execution and implementation of its statutory duties towards strengthening and ensuring a crime free society. This is complemented by the establishment of the Community Policing and Development Section that initiated necessary strategies and also ensure its implementation. However, in the discharge of its duties, the Force is faced with numerous challenges that is affecting its operational efficiency. Thus, policing a nation like Nigeria is not to be left for the Police alone, but must be seen as collective responsibility of all. Therefore, it is important for the general populace to partner with the NPF in order to assist its vision of building the people’s Police of our dream.
Thank you for listening!
CLEEN Foundation (2008) Motions without Movement, Lagos: CLEEN Foundation.
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
Nigeria Police Act 2004
Nigeria Police Force Criminal Procedure
Nigeria Police Force Criminal Procedure Act
Oyebade, A.O. (2018), Motivation and Operational Efficiency in the Nigeria Police Force: An Appraisal (An Individual Research Project Submitted to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, in partial fulfilment for the award of Member of the National Institute, mni).