THE NIGERIA POLICE AND CRIME MANAGEMENT A CASE STUDY OF LAGOS STATE POLICE COMMAND

CHAPTER ONE

                                     INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background to the Study

The crucial and essential roles peace and security play in all aspects of human development and existence, especially in our society incontrovertibly cannot either be swept under the carpet or dismissed with mere wave of hands. This is true because in any society, be it simple or complex, developed or developing and rural or urban, man in his state of nature is a wanting animal, and insatiable, who is always confronted with the problems of diverse interest and goals, at times insolvable, unless infringement upon other people’s right is employed.  According to citing Thomas Hobby’s history of an ordered social life, using the theory of selfishness of man, man in his state of nature anything goes and the world was jungle in which self-interest was the only thing which kept each man from slitting his neighbours throat, and stealing his possessions. During that primitive society crime was neither frowned at, given much clarification.

        It involved no official action, but was private matters. Individuals who were wronged would seek compensation from the wrong doer or the wrong doer’s family. This system got broken down when the family structures changed as the society became more complex. And as people became more and more mobile, the private vengeance became difficult, if not practically impossible to enforce. In order to put an end to the prevailing chaotic state of affairs, men agreed to up certain ground rules so as to survive. The only reason however, for the establishment of these rules was based purely on personal selfishness. If I am to live I have to let others live too, and if am to have any secured possession of property, I must let others have same security as well. Therefore, the concept of crime was developed but confined acts committed against the king who was eventually representing the state. And on the realization that the peace of the community was at stake, the king decreased that the act of offending a person should be reported to him for necessary action. Yet the private revenge still remained the only punishment of acts against private compensation as punishment for wrong doing replaced the family fending and other swaying forms of private revenge to enforce the King’s laws and decree, the agents of informal policing in which all members of a community were responsible for maintaining order was put in place. This system of informal policing went on uninterrupted over the years, until the society became much more complex, making these informal methods of policing grossly transparently ineffective.

        Finally, increased division of labour a more heterogeneous solidarity led eventually to the establishment of modern police. General, according to, there are basically four theories to explain the rationale behind the emergence of police. Firstly the disorder control development of police was necessitated by the need to control mob violence. This theory contends that since human being are by nature insatiable as against limited and scarce resources increase in crime rate is based on the belief that individuals violate the criminal law, they do so because they lack self-control and a sense of morality such individuals kill because they cannot their anger they steal because they do not have or because they are unwilling to wait they desire. This theory viewed human being the rational animals that deliberately and wilfully chose the course of action they follow which is principally based on hedonism or pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pains. Secondly, the crime-control theory, which suggested that the perceived needs for a new and formidable type of policing, was necessitated by unprecedented increase in criminal activities. Because as threats to social order such as high-way robbers and other violent crimes created a climate of fear, concern about the dialling thieves and property offences were spreading precipitating the establishment of modern police, from where Nigeria Police got its spring board.

        Thirdly, class-control theory was of the contention that the development of the police was based on economic exploitation. The advocates of this theory noted that urban and industrial growth coincided with the development of the new police outfit. The disrupting of social life arising from scarce opportunity prompted the middle and upper classes to develop means of controlling the people involved in the struggle and competition usually the poor immigrants. Those proponents of the theory were of the view that modern police were merely fools created by the industrial elite to suppress the labourers, who were being used as the ‘’fuel’’ for the engine of capitalism. Fourthly, urban dispensation theory considers police as an integral part of the government structure needed to provide a stabilizing influence in the community. These groups viewed human nature as selfish whose insatiability and desire need to be put into check, and to bring ending ones to order. Sequentially as corollary from the above, their view of the evolution of the Nigeria policy and now renames Nigeria police and its primary duties will either strengthen or debunk these theories. Based on the premises above, this study will attempt to investigate the Nigeria police and crime management by using Lagos State police command as a case study.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The apparent inefficiency of the Nigeria Police to combat crime in the society through effective management of criminal investigation is a serious setback in the criminal justice system. This is because “the police is the pivot on which the justice system stands” (Conklin, 1989). Hence the police inefficiency in controlling crime through effective criminal investigation has been so glaring that people now live in fear i.e. fear of being victims of criminal violence. The socio-psychological effect this fear has generated on the people is better imagined than said.

The general insecurity and fear of victimisation and seemingly inability of some State Governors to say the type of arms and ammunition at the disposal of the criminals and professionalism of the criminals are beyond the capabilities of the states” (Chidozie, 2010). This came at the heels of upsurge of armed robberies, kidnappings and other violence in the rampaging most States of Nigeria including Lagos. It is important to note that between 1996- 2003, a total of about 800,054 cases of property crimes were recorded by the Nigeria police (Dambazau, 2007 cited in Ugwoke, 2010). The magnitude of these crimes and the modus operandi of the criminals seem to put the police off-balance. The former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onovo told his officers and men in Owerri, Imo State at the peak of the kidnapping saga in the South East Zones of Nigeria that “you have done well in maintaining peace and order. But you have failed in preventing crimes” (Akasike & Abimbola, 2010). This was further emphasized by another past Inspector General of Police Mr. Hafiz Ringim who blamed the incessant armed robbery, kidnapping, and similar crimes on policemen’s corrupt practices (Akasike & Abimbola, 2010).

These raises a lot of questions on police efficiency and effectiveness in handling criminal investigation matters in Nigeria. It is pertinent to mention that the level at which crime is prevented in the society will very much depend on the level at which the police are able to investigate, prosecute and gain conviction of criminals. It is because of their importance and position in the criminal justice system that they have been chosen for this study. Moreover, Gibbons (1968) contends that “crime is a social phenomenon, as a social phenomenon, the methods or ways of investigating the commission of crime needs to be studied in our social settings”. It is against this background that this study seeks to investigate the Nigeria police and crime management by using Lagos State police command as a case study.

1.3   Research Objectives

The general objective or main objective of this study is to investigate the Nigeria police and crime management by using Lagos State police command as a case study. The specific objectives are:

i)             To investigate the strategies employed by the Nigeria Police in managing crime in Nigeria

ii)           To examine the challenges faced by the Nigeria Police in effectively and efficiently managing crime in Nigeria

iii)         To identify the prevalence of crime management by the Nigeria Police in Lagos State

1.4   Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

i)             What are the strategies employed by the Nigeria Police in managing crime in Nigeria?

ii)           What are the challenges faced by the Nigeria Police in effectively and efficiently managing crime in Nigeria?

iii)         What is the prevalence of crime management by the Nigeria Police in Lagos State?

1.5   Significance of the Study      

This study on the Nigeria police and crime management in Lagos State may be good starting point towards the role of the Nigeria police and crime management in Lagos State. This research is an original contribution towards the growth of literature on the Nigeria police and crime management in Lagos state. The study will be relevant to police officers, ministries of Internal Affair and the general public.

1.6   Scope of the Study

This research focuses on the Nigeria police and crime management by using Lagos State police command as a case study. This study will therefore be carried out at Lagos State police command where the researcher shall sample the opinions of policemen on the topic. Few respondents that are not police but live around the State command will be interviewed to give their assessment of the Nigeria Police in managing crime in the state.

1.7   Limitation of the Study

It will be difficult obtaining much information from the civil population utilized for this study because of the fear that whatever information provided could be used against them in the nearest future. This attitude could have been said to be due to the lack of adequate knowledge of the workings of the police organization. Coupled with this is the fact that most people dread the police and as a result will do anything to avoid even talking about them. To ensure that the participants fully participate in this study, they will be well informed of their rights and that their anonymity and confidentiality will be protected by ensuring that any information provided will be used only for the current study. The respondents will also be informed that no information obtained will have reference to their names.

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