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CHAPTER ONE

                                           INTRODUCTION

1.1              Background of the study 

The phenomenon, “crime” has been a major subject of private and public concern throughout human history. No society is free of crime. However, the question often asked is that even if crime is part of inevitable human behaviour, how much of it can a society tolerate? This question is linked to man’s natural instinct for survival, the ability to respond to any threat to his life and property. Crime poses such a threat, particularly in its violent form. 

 The recent upsurge in violent crimes in Nigeria has created enormous uncertainty in the security of lives and property of individuals and of social stability in general. The incidents of traditional crimes such as armed robbery, arson, drug trafficking and abuse, murder, kidnapping, rape, hired assassinations and ritual killings are examples of the most serious and violent crimes which have been on the increase in the recent past. Correspondingly, White Collar Crimes in the form of Advance Fee Fraud (popularly, known as 419), contract deals, embezzlement and mismanagement in both the public and private sectors are also on the increase. The aggregate of the traditional crimes mostly committed by the less privileged and white collar crimes mostly committed by the highly placed call for a change in the strategies for the prevention and control of crime in Nigeria,

 The existing patterns in criminal activities show that criminals are getting more organized, sophisticated and brutal in the manner they carry out their dastardly acts, either in the way they physically attack individuals with dangerous weapons or the method they use in taking advantage of their official positions to steal and stash away millions of public funds in foreign and domestic accounts. Equally worrisome is the new dimension in organized criminal behaviour in Nigeria involving acts of terrorism and sabotage against individuals and public places. Recent incidents, in which some individual were stalked and eventually trapped in the volley of bullets from assault weapons, depict the viciousness of violent criminals. These acts are usually well-planned, orchestrated, syndicated and organized in the mafia-type fashion. In addition to these new patterns of violent crimes against persons, there is also the equally disturbing criminal behaviour against the Nigerian economy leading to the collapse of financial institutions and government parastatals. In short, we are witnessing the emergences of dangerous trends in the nation’s social and economic well-being. 

1.2              Statement of the Problem  

The Nigeria Police is saddled with the responsibility of maintenance of law and order. It also protects, prevents and investigates criminal activities. In the discharge of these duties, the force has over the years failed. This is by virtue of certain inherent problems and challenges that has militated the force in its application of its powers as have been statutorily provided. Some of these problems are:

a.           The abuse of human rights, collection of bribes, corruption in the force, flagrant shooting of suspects and fellow policemen, illiteracy and incompetence of certain police officers to the mounting of illegal road blocks.

b.           Lack of respect for fundamental human rights of every citizen in the discharge of their duties. These rights and liberties take the forefront in the operation of the rule of law in all democracies of the world today. Sadly, even when the Nigerian Constitution of 1999, reserves an entire chapter (the famous chapter iv) declaring and providing for the protection of these rights, the Police still continue to engage in their abuse from time to time. 

c.           There is police lawlessness which begins with small irregularities or illegalities such as the disquieting features of committing crime of falsifying crime records against accused persons. These sorts of events, actions or inactions indulged in by policemen show an open disregard for the principles of the rules of law and civilized conduct which adversely affect police discipline and make mockery of the Nigeria Police force generally. 

d.           There is also the problem of police extortion at road checkpoints, arbitrary arrest and detection, torture of detainees, administrative cover-ups are a few of the crimes committed by the police force in their pursuit for justice which they claim to uphold.

e.           Again, the Nigerian Police in the modern age seem to be handicapped in the face of current realities. It has been noticed that despite the teeming police personnel, the force is still bereft of manpower in certain quotas. There have been situations in which the police complain of shortage of staff when issues are reported to them. 

f.             Another problem is the lack of scientific and technological equipment for detecting crimes by the police.

g.           The police are handicap on the following aspects: Shortage of manpower 

i) Inadequate transport facilities  ii) Lack of scientific equipments for detecting crime

 1.3 Aims and Objectives 

                         The aims and objectives of this research work are: 

1)   To examine the role of the Nigeria Police in the administration of justice.

2)   To identify the inadequacies of the police in the discharge of their functions.

3)   To proffer practical solutions for combating crimes in Nigeria. 

1.4           Justification 

The importance of this research work cannot be over emphasized. It analyses the role of Police in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria in order to give the public clearer views on police administration.

 Also, the research is necessitated to show case the indiscriminate violations of human rights by the police and the gross increase of crime rate in the country which often leaves much to be desired. 

 With the above issues, this research will serve as a viable source of information to all and sundry. First, it will benefit the police, those engaged in the administration of justice, law enforcement agencies and the court. It will also provide relevant suggestions on how best to curb the increase of crimes; it is also of immense benefit to policy makers, government officials, academicians, students and anyone interested in the peaceful co-existence of the Nigerian populace. 

1.5              Scope of the Research

This research is limited to the role of Nigeria Police in the administration of justice. It will also look into the issues of crimes prevention and mechanisms for control crimes in Nigeria. But, reference shall be made to the former colonial master (United Kingdom) who introduces police administration in Nigeria. Analysis was also made to other police organization to enhance more knowledge on this area.

1.6             Research Methodology 

The methodology employed in this research is doctrinal. That is, both the primary and secondary sources shall be employed such as the examination of statutes, Case laws, law reports, textbooks by renounced scholars. Other library materials such as journals, newspapers had been made reference to. Of course, internet sources were considered for current trends on crime detection and prevention. Encyclopedias, thesaurus and police diaries have been made

reference to. 

1.7           Literature Review 

This work examines an institution of great historical and political interest and significance. Together with the judiciary, civil services and the military, the police constitute one of the key institutions of a modern state. In particular, the origins, development and role of the police have not only prevented, detected and crime, they have also maintained law and order, preserved public safety and generally buttressed the existing governments, which were at first British and later Nigerian.

 Alcock, R.N. in his book, “Police Instruction Book[1] discussed very fundamental issues on crime prevention and detection. His work is indepth on the role of police in the prevention of crime, but failed to address to the minute detail of issues of enforcement of law. Also, his work, though relevant for this research, it is not in tune with contemporary issues as they obtain in Nigeria. 

 Gerber, S.B. and Schroeder, O, also wrote on Criminal Investigation and Interrogation, Cincinnati, 1962[2], where they elucidated on Investigation and Interrogation in the Maintenance of Law and Order and of curbing the rising tide of crime, yet their work has its short comings as most of the investigatory and interrogatory methods do not address the issues of Cyber Crime in the contemporary world.

 Jeffries, C. in his book: ‘The Colonial Police, London, 1952[3], only made reference to the function of the police in the colonial era. His work is relevant for this research only, in that it gives a historical background of the police, but is silent in contemporary role of the police.

 Okonkwo, C.O, in his book: ‘The Police and the Public in Nigeria’ [4] raised invaluable issues of the role of police in the prevention, detection and enforcement of crime. Though he addressed the Nigerian issue in his book, there are certain grey areas he failed to enunciate and examine, such as the role of the police as it relates to court proceedings. 

 Ibiziako, S.M. also in his book: ‘Police Powers in Nigeria’ which is a London University Ph.D Thesis, 1963[5], addressed the scope of the powers of the police in the prevention and detection of crimes; an enhancement to the identification and appreciation of the powers of the police, but only relevant to a large extent in four decades, as there is little relevance to the present police institution in Nigeria. 

 Shirley[6] gave an outstanding historical antecedence of the Nigerian police. The work, in its class has addressed succinctly the emergence of the Nigeria police. 

 Ottenberg[7] gave very useful tips on police investigation. His work is relevant to the situation as it obtains in Nigeria in the past, and gave a clue to the present. Though, a foreign book, it enhanced the richness of this research. 

 Palmer,[8] discusses fundamental issues of the police in prevention of crime. The issues raised in this work are indispensable.

 Other materials consulted include Journals of Criminal Law, Criminology and Police Science 1948-1960, Federal estimates 1974/1975, Journal of the International Commission of Jurists, 19591967. All discuss particular issues on crime and the Future in combating crime. 

 The internet was also consulted where the researcher got very useful information and update of the role of the police in the twenty first century. This source, gave an indepth description of the role of the police in the modern world and the rising tide of crimes and ways to put a halt to them. 

 It also raised issue of Cyber Crime that is now on the increase, and how to detect, prevent and even arrest offenders and make them face the law.

1.8             Organisational Layout 

Chapter one deals with the general introductions. It consists of introduction, statement of the problems, aims and objectives, justification, scope of the study, methodology, literature review and organizational layout.

 Chapter two deals with the history and development of the police force, organisation of the police force, the objectives of the establishment of the police force, the statutory powers, duties, functions of the police and conclusion. 

 Chapter three focuses on the police in the administration of justice, the concept of crime and the role of the police in combating it, detection and prevention of crime, the power of arrest, legal seizure and use of force, prosecution and interrogation of suspects, informers and entrapment and conclusion

 Chapter four examines the modern trends, issues and challenges in the police force, discipline in the police force, the Nigerian police and challenges of the modern world, cyber and computer crimes, modern equipment in crime detection and prevention, the police and quest for better services, the future of the police in Nigeria and conclusion.

Chapter five concludes the research by way of observations, findings and recommendations.


[1] Alcock, R.N., Police Instruction Book, (Worth Publishers, New York, 2005), p. 18. 

[2] Gerber, S.B. and Schroeder, O., Criminal Investigation and Interrogation, Cincinnati, p. 102.

[3] Jeffries, C. Colonial Police, London, 1952

[4] Okonkwo, C.O., The Police and the Public in Nigeria (Sweet and Maxwell, Publication, London, 1966), p.18.

[5] Ibiziako, S.M., Police Powers in Nigeria, (Ph.D Thesis, London University, 1963),  p.12.

[6] Shirley, W.R., History of the Nigeria Police, Lagos, 1948, p.19.

[7] Ottenberg, M., The Federal Investigators, New Jersey, 1962, p.40.

[8] Palmer, S., The Prevention of Crime, Behavioral Publications, (New York, 1973).


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