POLICE BRUTALITY AND NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY; AN APPRAISAL OF BUHARIS ADMINISTRATION

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POLICE BRUTALITY AND NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY; AN APPRAISAL OF BUHARIS ADMINISTRATION

ABSTRACT

In accordance with international standards and obligations, the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s constitution (as modified) has international policing measures to protect people’ rights. The Nigeria Police Force was also formed by the constitution with the statutory duty of upholding peace and order. This duty, however, must adhere to established best practises that reflect the principles of the rule of law and international policing. Given that the Nigerian police force has areas where it supports the common good of citizens, This research intends to expose some of their operations that jeopardise the attainment of peace and security  and investigate what may be done to reduce, if not totally eliminate, such bad behaviour. This is due to the fact that they are part of a social problem that has a negative impact on a large number of people and for which it is believed that collective social action can help. Aggression, animosity, and exploitation are all common characteristics of the police-citizen relationship. Nigerian police have abandoned their responsibilities to safeguard Nigerian citizens in favour of benefiting from them for decades. As a result, in order to benefit themselves, people will occasionally act against the larger good. As a result, the purpose of this research is to look into “The  Nigeria Police and Police Brutality ”

 

POLICE BRUTALITY AND NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY; AN APPRAISAL OF BUHARIS ADMINISTRATION

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. BACKGROUND TO STUDY

In most nations, democracy is widely acknowledged as the sole form of governance that aims to defend individual liberty and ensure that everyone’s fundamental rights are protected. Among the various types of governments or regimes, democratic countries uphold and respect human rights the most. As a result, democratic settings are conducive to the expression of human rights. Democracy and the preservation of human rights as a result of it are not what they should be in Nigeria (Akhaine et Al 2011).  The brazen violation of human rights by so many government institutions in democratic Nigeria raises questions about the country’s ability to implement true democracy. Democracy is enriched by respect for human rights, which makes it the best option among many alternatives. The authorities and their cronies are robbing Nigerian democracy of one of its most beautiful features: safeguarding human rights.

The pursuit of these rights, however, is not absolute because there are state institutions such as the police whose mandate is to maintain law and order and curtail citizenry excesses within constitutional means; thus, police power is the exercise of government’s sovereign right to promote order, safety, health, morals, and general welfare within constitutional limits, and it is an essential attribute of government. Indeed, the police are the external civil authority of a civilised country’s power and force. Their actions or inaction have the ability to effect the general population in some way.

This assumes that, while democracy enables or guarantees freedom, the police as an institution polices that freedom, and that in doing so, they are expected to act within established democratic norms, lest democracy’s core be undermined. This is because the role of the police and the existence of these norms remain the gold standard for determining whether a democratic system is acceptable. As a result, in an ideal society, the majority of policing applications classed as democratic policing practises are geared to promote democratic ideals and international policing. However, in Nigeria, many questions have arisen about how the police carry out their statutory tasks. The necessity to respect citizens’ fundamental rights while carrying out their lawful tasks is at the top of the striking balance (Chisom 2021). These responsibilities should be carried out in accordance with current rules that have been properly drafted and acknowledged.

However, despite more than a decade of democratic rule, Nigerians continue to be subjected to a slew of international policing abuses by the police. Despite everything democracy stands for, the police force is primarily authoritarian. The Nigerian police force is decrepit on multiple levels, not least because of our officers’ tunnel vision when it comes to investigations and the treatment of suspects and detainees (Alemika 1999). They are rooted in a mixed bag of torture practises that have nothing to do with the enforcement of the law or the advancement of justice, and are driven by overwhelming corrupt impulses. The Nigeria Police Force is one of Nigeria’s most despised institutions; it is distrusted by the very people whose lives and property it is supposed to protect, and this has led to a rise in self-help in various ways.

Following consistent  reports of  Police Brutality in Nigeria,  in October 2020, huge rallies took place across Nigeria’s major cities, seeking to end Police Brutality, backed by a barrage of loud anger on social media platforms against Police Brutality.  In many major cities throughout the world, Nigerians in the Diaspora and supporters held solidarity protests and demonstrations in what was later came to be known as the “End SARS Protest” (Chisom 2021). The protests are unique for being attended by an exclusively youthful Nigerian audience. Young Nigerians, mostly men, have been accused of being profiled by SARS personnel based on their fashion choices, tattoos, and hairstyles. They were also renowned for setting up illegal roadblocks, conducting unnecessary searches and searches, arresting and detaining people without a warrant or a trial, raping women, and extorting young Nigerian men for driving exotic cars and utilising laptops and cellphones (Ibid, 2021). Nigerians  shared personal accounts as well as video proof of SARS officers abusing Nigerian residents through kidnapping, murder, theft, rape, torture, unlawful arrests, humiliation, unlawful imprisonment, extrajudicial killings, and extortion. Young male Nigerians made up a big portion of the victims of SARS atrocities (ibid).

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The rule of law and international policing are basic foundations of policing in a democratic state. The rule of law emphasizes the importance of all people and institutions, especially law enforcement organizations (police), adhering to the principles of all democratic laws that are in line with international policing standards. These norms have gained widespread acceptance to the point where law enforcement officers are required to respect and obey the law at all times, to protect all people from illegal conduct, to preserve human dignity, and to maintain and uphold the international policing standard.

Unfortunately, the police in Nigeria left a lot to be desired in terms of overall performance. The force looks to be more equipped to deal with paramilitary operations, anti-democratic sentiments, and police power abuses. Arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, torture, inhumane and humiliating treatment, and extrajudicial executions are all too common. Apart from that, democratic policing characteristics such as the rule of law, accountability, responsive/representative policing, and respect for international policing are largely absent.

1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The research questions to be tackled in this study include:

  1. What are the functions of the Nigeria Police Force?
  2. To what extent is the level of Police Brutality in Nigeria
  3. What are the factors encouraging Police Brutality in Nigeria?
  4. How can the obstacles that limit the police force in carrying out its duties be overcome?

1.6 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

  1. To determine the functions of the Nigeria Police Force.
  2. To determine the extent of Police brutality in Nigeria.
  3. To examine the factors encouraging Police brutality in Nigeria.
  4. To appraise and proffer solutions to the obstacles that limit the police force in carrying out its duties be overcome.

1.7           SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

This research is of the opinion that citizens in a democratic country should not be denied the right to peacefully express their unhappiness or disapproval of government choices or acts through peaceful protests, which provide a platform for citizens to voice their views on current problems. The study will highlight where the police fall short in protecting the right of citizens and offer solutions. It can also be used as a point of reference for students and organizations conducting similar studies.     

1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

In order to complete the study, the researchers had to overcome a number of obstacles. The researchers had to combine studies with the dissertation and also go to the study locations for data gathering, which posed a cost and time constraint.

Another issue the study experienced was a lack of access to information for research writing, particularly relevant literature. Apathy among the responders, particularly among police officers, was also evident, with some refusing to complete the questionnaires.

1.9 SCOPE  OF THE STUDY.

The Scope of this research is streamlined towards exposing certain indiscipline and corruptive activities of Nigerian police force that ridicule the realization of common good of the people, which defines the role of police institution, and which underscores the fundamental end of a civil society.  It seems that this work sets to answer, to some extent, the question: who will guard the guardians for the realization of common good. Hence, the aim is to consider perhaps, some possible solutions to the problem.

POLICE BRUTALITY AND NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY; AN APPRAISAL OF BUHARIS ADMINISTRATION

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