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Security challenges to the Nigeria police in the 21st century: imperative for reform of the police institution

Author Affiliations

  • 1Centre for Conflict and Gender Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
  • 2Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, Novena University, Ogume, Delta State, Nigeria

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 6, Issue (4), Pages 27-33, April,14 (2017)

Abstract

Police reforms in Nigeria were based on the backdrop of the force having a reputation of corruption, inefficiency, lack of accountability and transparency, and gross violations of human rights. These violations ranged from torture, unlawful detention and extrajudicial killing. The reforms were also intended to make the police more efficient containing the challenges of global terrorism and transnational crimes. These shortcomings against the police force necessitated the establishment of the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Ministry of Police Affairs (MoPA) with oversight functions over the police. However, despite the numerous panels, committees set up by the government to reform the police, the institution is still plagued by corruption, extortion, extra-judicial killing, torture and human rights abuses. Many of the government reforms have focused on improving welfare packages and procuring more equipment for the police rather than tackling the endemic problem of attitudinal change. Robert Merton Anomie together with Messner and Rosenfeld Institutional Anomie Theories are used to critically examine the structural causes of crime in Nigeria and why government reforms have failed to work. We recommend attitudinal and behavioural changes to enable the police institution cope with security challenges that confront Nigeria in the 21st century.

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