Security Challenges as an Impediment to National Development: A Contextual Reassessment of Efforts of the Nigerian Police Force (1999 – 2004)

London Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Sciences
Volume | Issue | Compilation
Classification: NA
Keywords: Security Challenge, Nation-building, Nigeria, Policing and Police.
Language: English

The Nigerian police force is a security system of the Nigerian nation primarily established to combat crimes at all level as well as to ensure the security of lives and property of the citizenry. Despite their flaws and weaknesses, they, however, had reasonable impacts on the development and growth of the Nation' s domestic interest. This, however, is the focus of this paperwork which aims at examining the role of the Nigerian Police in the nation-building of Nigeria during the four years of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime. The research which derives its data from the majorly secondary source makes use of descriptive and analytic methods in analyzing the data of the study.


Security Challenges as an Impediment to National Development: A Contextual Reassessment of Efforts of the Nigeria                    Police Force (1999 – 2004)

Lateef Oluwafemi BUHARI, (PhD.)



The Nigeria police force is a security system of the Nigerian nation primarily established to combat crimes at all level as well as to ensure the security of lives and property of the citizenry. Despite their flaws and weaknesses, they, however, had reasonable impacts on the development and growth of the Nation' s domestic interest. This, however, is the focus of this paperwork which aims at examining the role of the Nigerian Police in the nation-building of Nigeria during the four years of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime. The research which derives its data from the majorly secondary source makes use of descriptive and analytic methods in analyzing the data of the study.

Keyword: security challenge, nation-building, nigeria, policing and police.

Author: Department of History and International Studies, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.


The Nigeria Police Force is a body built up by law with the duty of securing the natives and guarantee serenity and dependability inside the Nigerian country. Thus, quite a few years after its creation or development, the objective of accomplishing peace and security through the power has not been figured out. A few components might be accountable for this disappointment of the Nigeria police in battling wrongdoing and guaranteeing peace and security. A part of which are: inadequate financial support, compensation, dishonesty, and lack of equipment. This research work examines critically not only the various obstructions or impediments that all in all or freely influence the excellent execution of the Nigeria Police Force, but also the multiple roles in which they have played in maintaining a united Nigeria and as well as enhancing the development of the country as a whole.


An examination of police and policing in Nigeria can only be carried out by a delineation of the two concepts: Police and Policing. (Buhari, 2017) Police alludes to a socio-political and semi lawful establishment accused of the obligation of implementing the criminal law and the support of peace. (Alemika, 2003) At that point, policing is the measures and moves taken by an assortment of organizations and gatherings (both formal and non-formal) within the general public to manage social relations and way of life to secure lives and properties of members of the community furthermore as conformity to the norms and values of society (Soetan and Osadola, 2018). It's, therefore, a set of management processes that involve the creation of a system of police work as well as the threat of sanction for discovered deviance. (Reiner, 2000) To adequately assess the police, policing and peace and security, the economics approach are utilized within the examination. the leading well-liked strand of political economy which can be used for this work is the Marxist Model. (Marx and Engel, 1998) Karl Marx summarizes the main arguments of this theory that in the social creation of their reality, men unavoidably go into positive relations, which are free of their will. These relations could be relations of creation fitting to a given stage in the improvement of real powers of generation. The totality of these relations comprises the financial structure of society. (Marx and Engel, 1998) Marx additionally contended unequivocally that, the economic fabric of society decides the character of the superstructure which incorporates the political, legitimate, social and religious relations and organizations of the society. Applying this paradigm to police and policing in Nigeria, the hypothesis recommend that the issues of the request, law, and wilderness, and additional security, can be comprehended as an impression of the financial framework we have, particularly the overwhelming interests that drive it. (Balogun, 2002) However, social orders are established into classes and gatherings with shifting degrees of intensity or impact over political and monetary choices. Classifications and conventions with predominant money related influence control essential political leadership, including the institution of criminal law by the assembly, its authorization, and elucidation by the police and legal separation. (Buhari, 2017).

There are likewise primary grounds on police and policing between the political economy scholar and social clashes scholars. These gatherings contend that society is isolated into groups and classes with common interests in a few regions and clashing interests in numerous territories including the association, activation, and appropriation of monetary and socio-political assets. In any case, for the most part, they contend that the police were not made to serve "society" or the "general population" but rather to serve a few sections of society and a few people to the detriment of others. (Buhari, 2017) The duty of Police, therefore, differs across societies with various political and economic structures. Similarly, Bowden contends that the job of the Nigeria police compel incorporates the suppression of poor people and the feeble to ensure the enthusiasm of the rulers. (Balogun, 2002) The police, in this way, remain as supports among world-class and masses. A comprehensive perspective of the police, accordingly, is that police constrain subdues and in the meantime serves the general population. The need connected to suppression and administration changes crosswise over social orders and even administrations inside a broad public. (Utz, 2005) Thus, police jobs and execution in guaranteeing security must be viewed as the result of a broad public. (Utz, 2005) Thus, police jobs and execution in guaranteeing security must be viewed as the result of associations among political, monetary, legitimate, institutional and identity factors. What’s more, by and large, police administrations are composed to distinguish, explore, deal with, sifter, capture, keep, indict, and irritate those viewed as dangerous for the safeguarding of the norm (Utz, 2005).

Countries, as indicated by Anderson, are envisioned as sovereign, constrained and as a network. They are sovereign on the grounds that "the idea was conceived during a time in which Enlightenment and Revolution were obliterating the authenticity of the supernaturally appointed, various levelled dynastic domain", they are constrained on the grounds that "even the biggest of them has limited, if versatile, limits, past which lie different countries", and it is envisioned as a network, for the fact that "paying little respect to the genuine imbalance and misuse that may win in each, the country is constantly considered as a profound, flat comradeship.” (Anderson, 1991: 7). The most imperative of these is the creation and spread of book printing. This "print-free enterprise," as Anderson calls it, made it workable for a regularly expanding number of individuals "to consider themselves, and to identify with others, in significantly new ways." (Anderson, 1991: 36) The need or plausibility to consider crew, power and time recently emerged only after the decay of three significant social originations which Anderson distinguishes as the cross-country religious networks with their holy content dialects, the dynastic domain, and fleetingness. (Anderson, 1991: 6) They were altogether tested by the emotional changes in the manner in which humankind imagined itself which occurred more than a few centuries, starting in the late Middle Ages and – seemingly – finishing off with the late eighteenth century. (Delany and Mahony, 2005: 4)

Nations are an essential portion of present-day society. If we return into history, we see that the world used to be isolated into domains and kingdoms. In the recent age, however, nations or nation-states have replaced empires as the basic unit of human political organization. Nation-building is a regulating idea that implies unique things to various individuals. The most recent conceptualization is essential that nation-building programs are those in which dysfunctional or unstable or "failed states" or economies are assisted in the development of administrative infrastructure, civil society, dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as economic assistance, to increase stability (Carolyn, 2005).

The implication of the preceding is that nation-building generally assumes that someone is doing the building intentionally and consciously. The construction must be planned and defined adequately if the structure were to reflect the choice of the builders. The concept of nation-building has been seen as “the use of armed forces in the aftermath of a conflict to underpin an ending transition to democracy.” Alesina, (2012), described nation-building as a process that leads to the formation of countries in which people feel common interests, goals, and preferences in which they do not want to separate from one another. In the words of Karl and William, (1966) nation-building, nation-building can be seen as a process of constructing or structuring a national personality utilizing the state control which goes for the unification of the general population inside the state with the goal that it remains politically steady and feasible over the long haul. In any case, it is necessary to underline the way that countries don't occur by recorded mischance; instead, they are worked by people with vision and resolve. Nation-building is, along these lines, the result of conscious statecraft, not a chance. Nation-building is dependably a work-in-advance; an unusual procedure in constant need of sustaining and re-innovation. National development never stops, and genuine country manufacturer never rests since all countries are persistently looking up to new difficulties (Rotimi, 2001).

Nation-building has several primary edges. Immediately, it is tied in with building a political component which identifies with a given area, in light of some all-around recognized fundamentals, models, and guidelines, and regular citizenship. Also, it is in like manner about building establishments which symbolize the political component – foundations, for instance, an organization, an economy, the legitimate, universities, a joint organization, and regular society affiliations. Despite whatever else, regardless, the nation-building is tied in with building a mutual feeling of direction, a sense of shared fate, an aggregate creative ability to have a place. Nation-building is accordingly about making the generous and slippery strings that hold a political component together and gives it a sentiment of reason. Without a doubt, even in these days of globalization and snappy all-inclusive floods of people and contemplations, having an appropriate nation remains synonymous with achieving advancement. It is tied in with building the establishments and characteristics which bolster the total system in these propelled events.

In Nigeria, in any case, a few people speak to our national significance by considering us the ' Monster of Africa.'  Nigeria is viewed as a mammoth not indeed on account of the nature of her national establishments and qualities, yet just by the vast populace and oil riches. However, as a general rule, the enormity of a country must be earned and isn't resolved only by the measure of its kind or the bounty of its natural assets. China and India have the biggest populaces on the planet; however, they are just presently ascending as essential worldwide players. Then again, Japan has a couple of common assets yet has since quite a while ago figured out how to transform itself into a global monetary powerhouse (Eigege, 2006).

In this day and age, aptitudes, enterprising nature, profitability, and aggressiveness are the determinant variables of national significance. (Soetan and Osadola, 2018) The responsibility for mass devastation isn't adequate to make a nation mind-boggling without reference to the advancement and creative energy of its locals. Since the period of Adam Smith, each authentic nationalist and government official has come to understand that the bounty of a nation did not rely upon the wealth and excess of its rulers, anyway on the effectiveness and venturesome nature of its citizenry. (Gambari, 2008)


Like some other structure or organization, the Nigerian Police Force has a history. Its history in Nigeria primarily goes back to 1861 amid the pilgrim time, when the delegate of the Lagos state set up a consular protection of thirty individuals to watch over the frontier properties. This watch developed in size and was later known as the Hausa constabulary. This was because Northerners ruled it. In 1896 the Lagos police were set up. (Tinubu, 1993) A practically identical power was by then formed in Calabar in 1894 known as the Niger Coast Constabulary.

Additionally, in the North too, the Royal Niger Company set up Royal Niger Company Constabulary in 1888. In the mid-1900s the time when the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were communicated, some bit of the Royal Niger Company Constabulary transformed into the Northern Nigeria Police, and part of Nigeria Coast Constabulary transformed into the Southern Nigerian-Police. Although the North and the South were amalgamated in 1914, their police powers were not joined until in 1930, with the focal station in Lagos. It is fundamental additionally to take note of that amid the pioneer time frame, most police were related to neighbourhood government (Native specialists). Be that as it may, by the 1960s under the central Republic, these powers were regionalized and afterwards nationalized. By this Nationalization of the Nigeria Police Force, the Inspector General of Police was in charge of the general action and organizational commitments. He was reinforced at the headquarters by a Deputy Inspector General and in each state by Police Commissioners. The 1999 constitution also obliged a Police Service Commission that is today accountable for Policy, affiliation, association, and finance of the Nigerian police propel (Balogun, 2002).

The primary function of the police is policing which means securing compliance with existing laws and conformity with the precepts of social order, (Alemika & Chukwuma, 2003). In all societies of the world, Policing has always been required for the secrecy of order, social relations and safety. The police are agents of the state established for the maintenance of order and the enforcement of the law. For Amadi (2004), policing in Nigeria, like what obtains in other countries of the world, is a strenuous and risky task. Moreover, it is the sole responsibility of the Nigeria police to carry out conventional police functions and was responsible for internal security as a whole, it plays a supporting role to the prison services, immigration and Nigerian custom services; and to perform military duties within or outside Nigeria as ordered (World Police Encyclopaedia, 2004). The Nigerian Police performs the role of protecting and safeguarding the security of life and properties within the internal territorial boundaries of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is to ensure peace and stability in the society, and of course, for efficient policing (Jike, 2003).

In essence, Nigeria Police are mandated to perform a range of tasks: prevention and detection of crime; the preservation of law and order; protection of life and property; due enforcement of laws and regulations with which they are directly charged, and military duties (Section 4, Police Act).


The Nigerian government has perceived the issues militating against the convincing execution of the Nigeria Police Force as estimated beforehand. In contemporary events, along these lines, it appears there are creating tries in ensuring the capability and sufficiency of the Police Force towards the help of harmony and security in Nigeria. For example, from the late 1990s to date, the Nigeria Police Force has set out on a couple of extents of doing combating lousy behaviour some of which joins: Operation Sweep, Operation Flush, Operation Fire for Fire, Anti-bad behaviour Patrol, Operation Dzenda to indicate a few has been introduced. (Balogun, 2002) All these are attempts to ensure harmony. In any case, it will, in general, have fought that these measures could not achieve the desired focuses and goals. This requires a central examination of the employment of the Nigeria Police Force to assess its profitability, sufficiency, and organization transport towards harmony and demand in the overall population. The fact of the matter is to appreciate what duties all of these measures were done towards guaranteeing peace and security. A portion of these measures is talked about underneath (Buhari, 2017).

The following instances are efforts and policies put in place by the Nigeria Police force within the scope of this research at building the nation Nigeria.

4.1  Operation Fire for Fire Crime Control Program 

Action Fire for Fire showed up when the security condition in Nigeria had acknowledged a hazardous estimation as the usage of current weapons by outfitted hoodlums ended up being high has appeared in political passing. In the midst of this time, the Former Attorney General of the Federation manager Bola Ige was killed on December 2001, Barrister Mrs. Igwe in September 2002, Chief Harry Marshall, Alhaji Isiaku Mohammed among others were likewise destroyed. (Balogun, 2002) All these no vulnerability came about in light of the augmentation of arms and ammunition.

Against this establishment, the then Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, on doubt of commitment got an 8-point bad behaviour control framework called "Assignment Fire for Fire" as a proactive extent of engaging bad behaviour and ensuring harmony and security in Nigeria. This strategy couldn't yield the most outrageous impact because the control of criminal responsibility for by individuals (convicts and hoodlums et cetera) was not set up. Regardless, the program could achieve in particular zones. For instance, Operation fire for fire caught the notorious Benin Republic furnished plunderer Tijani Hamani. By this action, the Police Force was similarly prepared to check trans-periphery bad behaviours. Additionally, this program planned to counter and unstuck local ethnic army that comprised themselves into sidelong powers, and whose exercises had turned into an extreme danger to the harmony, security, and solidarity of the nation.  Be that as it may, sufficiently entertaining ethnic local army like development for the completion of the sovereign territory of Biafra (MASSOB) Oodua People Congress (OPC) and so on, have kept on endeavouring (Rotimi, 1984).

4.2 Serve and Protect with Integrity Program 

The sack of Tafa Balogun as Inspector General of Police signified the end of "Activity Fire for Fire" and in its place, another thought of engaging bad behaviour control called "serve and to ensure with uprightness" was displayed (Akuul, 2011). This program was proposed to fight bad behaviour and in addition to recovering the battered image of the Police Force. It was formally moved as the Nigeria Police Force Action Program that should shape an overseeing standard of the Police Force in discharging their commitments. As communicated by the 10-point program of movement in 2005, the program had a course of action or activity that tends to all of the niches and corner of Nigerian security from sorts of social issue to the formation of police staff down to the social relations with the all-inclusive community. It was a way to constrain bad behaviour control through knowledge drove policing, battle expectation and objectives, organize guarding and police affiliation, zero obstruction for police degradation and indiscipline among others.

The program nevertheless inspired the working state of the Police Force as their salary was expanded and paid instantly as well. Enrolment and advancement of the workforce were not any more lumbering and disappointing as it used to be and the general population (both open and cops) began valuing the organization when contrasted with what used to be. Regardless of these accomplishments, the program couldn't oversee wrongdoing and weakness in the nation instead this period saw the most abnormal amount of pollution and flimsiness. Furnished theft turned into a predominant bearer, and People enjoyed advance charge extortion (419). (Etannibi et al., 2006) Cult activities also continually increased because the police force no longer confronts them anymore. In Ekiti State for instance, following the recurring killings and retaliation of cult groups in Ado Ekiti, the Nigeria Police Force, Ekiti State Command created a police unit which is tasked with the duty of checking the activities of cult groups in the state as well as arresting anyone indicted (Alemika, 1999).

And yet, a few government officials are utilizing them to battle restriction especially those in official positions. Likewise, instead of the regular watch infringe and country territories, they tend to mount barriers on streets coercing cash from the general population especially on market days. This demonstration has influenced their execution significantly and to some extent the aim of the programme itself (Alemika and Chukwuma, 2003).

Passing by this irregularity of the Nigeria Police Force in battling wrongdoing and guaranteeing the safety of the people and their properties, one is left with only questions concerning what will occur next in the fog of ethno-religious emergency, unlawful ownership of guns, neediness, and joblessness and political thuggery. For sure, the security of lives and properties of Nigerians is up till now helpless before God.


From the starting point, the Nigeria Police was formed in an undesirable foundation based on the manner in which the British established a predatory police administration for Nigeria. In 1861, the British arranged a Consular Guard of 30 able-bodied men in Lagos. From that point onward, what remained as the Nigeria police were in principle purpose and strategy of promoting, sustaining, and ensuring the socio-political and economic empire of the British colony in Nigeria. The colonial police were purposively established to crush any restiveness, or protest, from the natives. Unfortunately, at independence, there was a structural transfer of the Nigeria Police from the British to us without functional reform. This was a situation whereby slave masters transferring slave from one master to another. The Nigerian leaders inherited a colonized Nigeria police. This sacred organization was seriously misused for the oppression and intimidation of political partners and opponents. It was the tool of the ruling political party or the government Police. The Nigeria Police was consequently perceived as corrupt and agent of oppression. More so, in Nigeria, there was absence and non-observance of the rule of law and fundamental rights. The military interregnum from 1966 compounded the enigma. (Osayande, 2008) Democratic institutions - such as the National Assembly, the Police Council, and the Police Service Commission was suspended. It was observed that the Military regime deliberately under-funded the Nigeria Police in order to monopolize power. Also, they weakened and reduced the Police as a security outfit, only fit as a military in furtherance of their political empire. In addition, a weak Police Force is in the interest of the military portraying them as the political messiahs of Nigeria. In sum, the historical affliction of the Nigeria Police started from British colonial abuse and misuse. This was followed by the indigenous affliction by the Nigerian leadership. The military then came in for the kill (Osayande, 2008).

Again, one of the factors militating against the effectiveness of the Nigeria Police is inadequate funding and utilization of funds. No organization can achieve its set goals without the provision of sufficient funds to meet its objectives. A critical look at the various reports on reforms of the Nigeria Police Force depict that Police low performance has been blamed on lack of finance for training of personnel, and the provision of the necessary logistics for all significant aspects of Policing functions, these include investigations, arms and ammunition, office and barracks or accommodation, communication gadgets, as well as transportation systems, etc. The consequences of these for Policing have been the downward direction on the standards or non-performance of the expected duties. It is apt to state that, inadequate funding of the NPF had a great effect on the growth of the police organization that was considered by the military as its supplanters. No matter how the situation, the Police management of the scarce resources made available to it has not been devoid of negligent of professional role (Osayande, 2008).

A budgetary system in Nigeria does not give adequate care of all the priorities of the Police. A close analysis of the funding of the Nigeria Police Force depicts that from 1984 to 2007, the highest the Police had was 7.7% of the total Federal budget. An analysis of the budget figures also reveals that the allocations attained the highest peaks of 7.6% and 8 7.7% of the total budget in 1999 and 2007 respectively during this period, the government expected much from the Police by way of maintenance of law and public order in a democratic society like Nigeria. It is significant to note that over 60% of the total Police budget is devoted to the payment of the emoluments of Police personnel, leaving less than a meagre 40% for overhead cost and capital expenditure. The consequence is that it has been a serious hindrance to the effectiveness of Policing in Nigeria (Osayande, 2008).

Considering the quantity of significant worth securities given by the Nigeria police to the entire people and the dimension of conviction and bolster it acknowledges from these people, one can’t yet induce that the Nigeria police execution is far underneath the longing various people put on them. A couple of entire issues add to the offensive implementation of the Nigeria police. This ranges from material to personal and external troubles. Far-reaching defilement among the individuals from the Nigeria police is disturbing. This has drastically dirtied the picture of the police. (Mill operator, 2004) Police debasement is a problematic issue since they are relied upon to be moral as a law implementation organization. The question of police defilement is an apparent certainty with a few shreds of proof of their association. (Amadi, 2004) These among various others are; police connivance with a couple of individuals to empower liable gatherings to out of police guardianship in the wake of procuring money from suspects, finish of case records, escorting vehicles stacked with goods stock and stolen things, taking from suspects or possibly setback tragic losses, taking from bad behaviour scenes, supply of police arms and ammunition with police formal attire to punks for monetary profit, et cetera. (Okarah, 2014) Degenerate and indiscipline money related condition among others is a bit of the reduced pay rates.

Additionally, Odekunle gave a couple of arrangements of obstacle that demolish the perfect execution of the Nigeria police, therefore; Poor police remuneration for the two officers and men of police bearing is another excellent part that has made a horrifying performance for police in playing out their sacred obligations. (Odekunle, 2004) The issue of police contamination as discussed above does not merely occur between the police and general society yet likewise with the strata of police structure. There have been cases whereby senior cops have denied distinctive officers especially junior once the benefit of expansion in remuneration for a long time. (Yecho, 2004) These people have been confirmed to have stacked the money in a settled store out which will yield some excitement for them before releasing its finances. Nigeria police have human issues that chafe its material insufficiencies and also of large antagonistic import on its general execution from consistently among them is crippling pay rates. It has been seen that the Nigeria police require agreeable equipment and ammunition that can help in helping them battling infringement in the overall population. The Nigeria police compel adequate correspondence devices, vehicles, PCs, and watch watercraft.  (Yecho, 2004)


The dynamics of Nigerian external relation and the image of the country in the international system have propelled a lot of domestic effort fashioned at enhancing the structure of the Nigeria Police Force. The essentiality of police as either facilitators or inhibitors of star poor change activity is for the most part reliant on the nature and character of the inalienable society or financial framework. The Nigeria Police Force is, in this way, an impression of the Nigerian state. This clarifies why measures in battling wrongdoing regularly come up short. Debasement has eaten so profoundly into the framework that people do not value their efforts and roles anymore. Hence, with the push of the current reform in the system, the Nigeria Police force has been able to curb crime tremendously, and also redeem its image to some extent.

The cost of insecurity in Nigeria is huge and it cuts across every sector of the economy. Economically, insecurity encourages capital flight as many foreign investors are reluctant to invest in Nigeria for fear of losing their money to terrorist attacks. Insecurity continues to take its toll on the economy. In many parts of the country, property worth Billion of naira have been destroyed and many businesses have come to a standstill. In addition, many foreign investors have been discouraged from doing business with the country while many have returned to their various countries. No investors at the national or international level that will be motivated to invest in an unsafe and insecure country. In the contemporary world, big investors are not only looking for high returns on their businesses but also searching for a safe haven for their investments. Thus, the alarming level of insecurity in Nigeria made the economy unattractive to investors and this has impacted negatively on political and socio-economic growth and development of the Nigerian state. There is no nation that can achieve socio-political and socio-economic growth and development of the Nigerian state. There is no nation that can achieve socioeconomic development in an environment of socio and physical insecurity, (Chandler, 2007).


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