IMPACT OF SECURITY SYNERGY BETWEEN THE POLICE AND COMMUNITY POLICING ON THE CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHTS IN NIGERIA

IMPACT OF SECURITY SYNERGY BETWEEN THE POLICE AND COMMUNITY POLICING ON THE CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHTS IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION

        1.1.      Background of the Study

In the discourse of security in Nigeria, Okorie,[1]Jega,[2]Salawu,[3]Onyishi,[4]Ezeoha,[5]and Lewis[6]have identified several causes of security crisis in Nigeria that pose grave consequences to national development. Chief among them is ethno-religious conflicts that have claimed many lives in Nigeria. By ethno-religious it means a situation in which the relationship between members of one ethnic or religious and another of such group in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society is characterized by lack of cordiality, mutual suspicion and fear, and a tendency towards violent confrontation.[7]

Since independence, Nigeria appears to have been bedevilled with ethno-religious conflicts. Over the past decades of her Nationhood, Nigeria has experienced a palpable intensification of religious polarization, manifest in political mobilization, sectarian social movements, and increasing violence.[8] Ethnic and religious affiliations determine who gets what in Nigeria; it is so central and seems to perpetuate discrimination. The return to civil rule in 1999 tends to have provided ample leverage for multiplicity of ethno-religious conflicts.

As part of the social contract which the state has the obligation to fulfil for exercising the power which belongs to the people, the government is expected to provide adequate security for the citizens. Consequently, the Nigerian government has set up various security agencies for both the internal and external protection of the citizens. The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria underscores this when it declares: that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.[9]But the veracity is that security is a thing of partnership between the state and the citizens. A security system entails all that the state and citizens do from individual to institutional level to ensure the security of lives and property.10

The problem of the Nigerian polity is that there is no strong will to entrench law and order in the Nigerian polity. If there were only one man in a State in Nigeria, there would be no need for rules of law or regulationsbecause there would be no upsetting of existing equilibrium caused by the acts of another person; there would be no conflict of any type.

Perhaps all that would be necessary would be for one to avoid injuring oneself through one’s own act. No wonder, Farrar notes that a solitary individual is a hermit living in complete isolation from other human beings probably requires nothing more than habits.[10]Since this scenario only exists at the utopic realm, law became necessary to help in the quest to actualise order. It became the tool for social engineering. Law is the pillar of social code; a society without laws is a living anachronism. In the absence of law and order organised life is impossible.[11] Thus, law defines the extent to which it will give effect to the interests which it recognizes, in the light of other interests and of the possibilities of effectively securing them through law; it also devises means for securing those that are recognised and prescribes the limits within which those means are to be employed.[12]

Rule of law is a key component of the social and political orders found in liberal democratic states. Aristotle insisted that it is preferable that law should rule other than a single one of the citizens. According to Aristotle:

He who ask law to rule is asking God’s intelligence and not others to rule while he who ask for the human being is bringing in a wild beast, for human passion is one like wild beast and strong feelings lead astray rules and the very best of men. In law, you have the intellect without passion.14 This means that man’s freedom is conditioned in a society where there is rule of law. Therefore, where the law rules, violation of its stipulations will attract penalty. Many people obey law in order to avoid the unpleasant consequences that may follow disobedience to law. Amadi explains that:

The rule of law is the infrangible cord that connects all wings of law, giving meaning to all laws in any political authority. The rule of law simply says that laws should be obeyed by everyone – the ruler and the ruled. It is this obedience that gives life a meaning. Life begets society, and if life is meaningless because of absence of the rule of law, then we may have an anarchic society.[13]

Whenever there is absolute incapacity to impose sanctions where there is breach of law; disorderliness becomes prevalent. A clear illustration is the terroristic insurgence of Boko

Haram in the North-eastern part of Nigeria. In a deadly attack on 24th day of February 2014, the group massacred 29 students with scores seriously injured. The Islamic sect had killed hundreds of people in the orgy of violence unleashed on Gwoza, Izge and Bama in Borno State on February 2014 alone.[14] The level of lawlessness and rascality prompted the Federal Government to declare State of Emergence in some North-Eastern States. The Governors in those states are no longer finding the heartrending lawlessness funny. Order has completely vanished in those States. The Governor Shettima of Borno State insisted that Boko Haram is better armed and better motivated than the Nigeria Military.[15] This is even as the promise of the Chief of Defence Staff that Boko haram would be wiped out by April, 2014[16] is still subsisting. Why is it then, that every time the military boasts of winning the war or putting timeline to ending the war that the insurgents step up their attacks? Nwosu writes: “The strangest thing for me in all this is the issue of motivation. What motivation can be behind these seeming mindless attacks? Is it the motivation of hoisting an Islamic State and running it? If it is that, what then is the motivation to kill yourself to hoist such a regime”.[17]

It must be pointed out that insecurity is a multi-headed monster that has exposed our security failings. Presently the incessant bombing by theBokoHaram sect which has plunged the Northern part of Nigeria into crises, intractable cases of kidnapping which has engulfed the South-East zone and the oil bunkering prevalent in the South-South zone are just a few to mention. These internecine acts of criminality and the fear of the unknown have prompted various communities to set up vigilante groups with the aim of mitigating some of these crimes. Vigilante groups thus forms the crux of community policing. 

        1.2.      Statement of the Problem

The upsurge in terrorist attack in Nigeria being spearheaded by the Boko Haram, an Islamic extremists group, has exposed the absolute non observance of the fundamental rights of suspects in Nigeria. The prompt killing of the Boko Haram leader UstazMuhammed Yusuf without trial speaks volume of the power of police to kill and maimpeople presumed to be innocent under the Nigerian Constitution.[18] Access to lawyers, which is a right of an accused under section 36(6)(c) of the 1999 Constitution as

amended, is now a privilege. This was why KabiruAbubakarDikko known as KabiruSokoto was allegedly denied access to counsel which ultimately stalled his trial when he was arraigned on the 20th March 2013.[19] Right of access to counsel is a fundamental right enshrined in the 1999 Constitution which is observed in breach.

There is also the ponderous presence and contribution of the vigilante groups in the infraction of rights of Nigerian citizens. Sometimes, rights to life, human dignity, movement and liberty are most often threatened by these groups. What is worse, these vigilante groups do these with the implicit or explicit support of the police. Thus in the case of Aluu four,[20] the students were killed instantly by the murderous vigilante group with full cooperation of the police.Therefore, it becomes glaring that the major problem in the security sector of the Nigerian nation is the challenge of preserving and protecting the fundamental human rights in Nigeria and at the same time guaranteeing adequate security for the nation.

        1.3.      Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are:

i.                    To ascertain the challenges of fundamental rights enshrined in the 1999 Constitution to the police and the community policing outfits in Nigeria. In the process of doing this it will be shown that the community policing outfits play complementary role to the police. 

ii.                  To show that the cost of the synergy between the Nigerian Police and the community policing isthe infraction on and the desecration of the fundamental rights of the suspects.

iii.                To establish the legal obstacles to the protection of fundamental rights of the citizens and the need to address these problems will also established.

iv.                To show that both the police and the community policing outfits flout the law on the fundamental human right of the arrested suspect with reckless abandon. They neither observe nor comply with provisions of law on fundamental human rights.

v.                  To suggest the way out of these challenges.

        1.4.      Significance of the Study

This study is significant because it attempts to show that the Nigeria Police Force and the

Community policing outfits have an established case on the infringement and nonobservance of the Fundamental rights provisions. This is irrespective of the fact that the said fundamental right provisions are constitutionally entrenched in the Nigeria legal corpus. This work will contribute immensely in finding the best approach to observance of fundamental rights of suspects in Nigeria.

        1.5.      Methodology

The methodology used in this research is doctrinal, analytical and descriptive. It is doctrinal because relevant legal doctrines were examined and applied. It is also descriptive and analytical because it describes and analyses the present state of the law vis-à-vis community policing and the community policing outfits in relation to the challenge posed to the institutions by the fundamental rights provisions. Reliance is also placed on primary source material like case laws, legislations, textbooks, conference papers, journal articles, internet materials and other legal literatures. Secondary source materials like observations, interviews and comments of legal practitioners are also

utilized.

        1.6.      Literature Review

Nigerian communities have perfected the arrangement for restraining certain anti-social behaviours before the arrival of the colonialists. In the northern and Western Nigeria, where the system of administration was centralized, policing was formalized. In the Hausa states, the Dogarai[21] were under the political control of a member of the chamber of eunuchs titled the Galadima, while the most senior Dogarai was called the SarkinDogarai.[22] The Dogarai performed the function of preventing crime through detection[23] and “bringing into judgment the criminal after crime had been committed and also executing the commands of justice,”[24] Okiro pointed out that: “In addition to their body guard duties to the kings, the dogarai also captured and disciplined offenders and assisted in guarding the town”.[25]

In the Yoruba kingdoms, the ilari, emese and agunren represented in the eyes of the populace the symbols of legitimate force. Like the emirate dogarai, they arrested criminals and executed the command of justice.[26] Nwankwo pointed out that the age grade in Oyo Kingdom usually referred to as the Elegbe has the responsibility of implementing the decisions reached in the Oba’s Court. He illustrated his point by stating that if anybody is to be executed or imprisoned, it is their duty to carry out the instruction or order to the last letter.[27]

In the decentralized Igbo pre-colonial system of Eastern Nigeria, which was based on small, self-contained groups of villages organized according to a lineage system that did not allow for social stratification, the concept of social control arose from established elements of culture, based on cherished traditions, hallowed secrets and revered institutions that ensured that any member of the community who violated tradition is severely punished as elucidated by Nnamani.[28] Okiro pointed out that: “In certain parts of Igboland, which practiced the Osu Caste system of old; The Osu[29] … performed some form of police duties”.[30] This position is corroborated by Okeke when he wrote that:

In most communities because the movement of the Osu was limited to certain radius, … they kept vigil in the village, when slaves (ohu) and their masters must have gone to the farm…. So they unconsciously acted as  ‘watchdogs’ in the villages to the advantage of couples still with children between the ages of two and ten, who, at the slightest mistake, could turn victims of kidnappers.[31]

The history of the Nigeria Police Force is traceable to the establishment of the Consular

Guard by the British Consul in 1860.[32] This consular Guard later became known as the Hausa Guard in 1863. Okiro maintained that: “The origin of the Nigeria Police Force has been traced to 1863, when Lt. John Glover of the Royal (British) Navy who emerged the Governor of Lagos that year established the Armed Police Force”.35Dambazau’s account is that after the formation of the protectorates in the North and South in the early 1900s, both the Royal Niger Company Constabulary and the Niger Coast Constabulary produced Northern and Southern Nigeria Police respectively.[33] Both the Northern and Southern Police Forces operated as independent entities, even after the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the British authorities in 1914. On April 1, 1930, however, the two forces were merged to become what is now the Nigeria Police Force.[34]

In 1943, the Nigerian Police Force owed its existence to the Nigeria Police Ordinance enacted in 1943 by the British Colonial government. Amadi categorically stated that today, Nigerian Police Force owes its existence to the constitution.[35] Consequently section 214 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended stipulates that: “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.” Flowing from the above, it is deducible that right from the colonial era, the police was established to champion the interests of the colonialist or government. According to Chukwuma:

… the British established police forces and constabularies to protect their interests. These forces and constabularies were armed and organized as quasi-military squads. Such forces in different territories comprise officials who were employed. The purpose of this practice of alienating the police from the communities they served, was to ensure that such officials, when deployed to execute punitive expeditions, would act as any army of occupation and deploy maximum violence on the communities.[36]

Till date, the Nigeria Police Force has not purged itself of this colonial impact of standing against the people irrespective of the police is your friend slogan being disseminated by the police. No wonder, Nigerians have expressed fears in the ability of the police to protect lives and property. This has prompted Osori to write as follows: “It is laughable that the Police Act says (sic) the police are employed for the protection of life and property. The sad thing is that … Nigeria provides evidence that this issue of “uniformed brutality” has been going on for a long time”.[37]A clear illustration is seen in the case of Oyakhere v. State[38] in which the court revealed that the appellant and the two other convicts, all policemen turned their guns on defenceless proletariat, a people they were to protect. The attack was ferocious and indiscriminate, absolutely appalling and undesirable, clearly a wicked and despicable act. This is attributable to the fact that the modern Nigeria Police Force is an inheritance from the colonialist, who needed a regular police force to advance their expansionist missions and subjugate the natives in the colonized territories.[39]

The greatest challenge confronting the Nigerian security apparatus presently is the deadly acts of the Boko Haram sect. Boko Haram is a religious Islamic sect that came into the limelight in 2002 when the presence of the radical Islamic sect was first reported in Kanama[40]  and also in Gwoza.[41] “Boko Haram,” which in the local Hausa language means “Western education is forbidden,” officially calls itself Jama‟atulAlhulSunnahLiddawatiwal Jihad.[42] Beyond religious explanations, Boko Haram could be arguably described as a home-grown terrorist group that work in synergy with some desperate politicians in the North. It appears that the sect enjoys effective support from some well-to-do individuals, religious leaders, allies, admirers of their ideology and highly placed politicians in the North who claim to be Nigerians but are clandestinely working against the State. For instance, Adagbaet al observe that it is no longer a sect of Islamic fanatics but has the support of disgruntled politicians and their paid thugs.[43] Revelations and security investigations into the activities of the sect tend to affirm that the group is


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