RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON NETWORK AND POLICE REFORMS IN NIGERIA
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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Before 1999, Nigeria has most of her political years being controlled by the military (total absent of democracy). Between 1960 and 1999, the military has rule the country for about twenty-nine years. The birth of the present democracy was costly hence it cannot be toiled with by those who are supposed to protect it. If
democracy does not move towards securing freedom and rule of law, the citizens will eventually lose their faith in democracy, and turn to authoritarian alternatives. The fate of democracy in Nigeria will be determined not by its expansion but rather by the performance of those institutions that are supposed to protect the democracy itself.
Democracy is built on the existence of statutory institutions where different opinion and interest are harmonized. Democracy as the government of the people (majority) has a duty of equal protection of her citizens, their possession and their right. People under democratic society have their welfare and security taken care of by the government. There is equal right to political participation, freedom from undue interference, equal opportunity to pursue their career and freedom of speech and religion. All over the world, the central element to the achievement of sustainable democracy is “A Police Force” that is: subject to the rule of law rather than to the wish of the powerful leaders, group of people or any political party; can intervene in the life of the citizens only under limited and careful controlled circumstances; and is publicly accountable. Traditionally, the police force stand between the total chaos and social order. The importance of a police force in a democratic society increases with the increase in the heterogeneity of the society.
In previous years, a defining characteristic of the Nigeria police force is their mandate to legally use force and to deprive citizens of their right. A character that is bound to generate opposition from those who are subject to it; and this was a great threat to Nigeria democracy. However, the recent transition of administration of the Nigeria Police Force –to the present regime of Suleiman Abba – has brought positive hope to the role of the Police Force in Nigeria Democracy and this was clearly demonstrated in all the Governorship Elections held during the regime of the above IGPs (the 2012 Ondo Governorship election, 2014 Ekiti and Osun
Governorship election) were the Nigeria Police were applauded for their good performance.
Democracy is built on the existence of institutions whereby different opinions and interest are harmonized (Abdulraseed, 2013). Such institutions include; the police, the judiciary, political parties, electoral commission etc. The modern democracy is expressed in a representative model in which decision making is restricted to the elected.
Abdulsalaam (2004), posits that “Democracy is a sought-after value. It is not a perfect system of governance, even theoretically. But as Aristotle argued, it is the least evil of all possible governments. The strength of democracy is drawn from the fact that it is supposed to be the product of the will of the majority of the people. Government is held in trust for the people. The citizens feel a sense of ownership of the state for they can identify with it as vital stakeholders whose will gave existence and legitimacy to the state and the government. As shareholders of the common-wealth, the citizens will not only avoid such behaviors that hurt and sabotage the system, but join forces to resist any such attack on the collective interest. That in-fact is the real basis for the development of grand tactic, the mobilization of the entire ational asset for the protection of the nation, which I believe can work best in a democracy” For those who elected the decision makers to benefit from the dividend of democracy, the security network must be above average and impartial. Bohm and Haley (1997), posits that “an orderly and safe environment is the foundation for all else that happen in an environment or institution to an extent that the security within the society affect even the inmates in the prison” It is believed that where an environment is not safe, everything that goes on there is secondary. Security therefore is the primary and necessary condition for the smooth running of a democratic process in any social system. The police force is a major institution that protects and curtails the excesses of the citizens. Democracy allows the freedom while the police policies the freedom.
Critical to democratic governance is the concept of the rule of law, and fundamental human right as enshrined in Section 33 – 42 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011. As important and in-alienable these rights are, in practice, it cannot be enjoyed in a society where lives and properties are not adequately secured. The electoral process, through which a democratic government is given birth to, must be protected and policed according to the law of the land. The political parties as both lubricant and conduit in a democratization process must be effectively policed and controlled in line with the law without bias for adequate harmonization of different interest and opinion among the people.
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has right from its inception faced daunting challenges in its bid to fulfil its objective of providing adequate security to Nigerians. This development has led to series of reforms for the NPF which has seemed not to be actualised at the end of the day. Needless to say at this moment that the drive towards reform by successive administrations is geared towards the maintenance of stable internal security where socio- economic activities are expected to thrive in which development is the ultimate objective. However, with the rot which has eaten deep into the fabrics of the NPF which is saddled with the responsibility of achieving this all important objective, successive administrations had in times past embarked upon police reforms. If this has been so, then why has the current Police reforms seem not to tackle the issues/problems of security challenges in the country? Of utmost importance is the fact that this study argues that British colonial policy of forming a police force in itself without taking into consideration the nomenclature of the Nigerian society could be responsible for the challenges bedevilling the force.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The police are the agent of state charged with the enforcement of law and maintenance of order. However the security agency is facing myriad of challenges that impede its efficient operation. These challenges as identified by E.O. Alemika (2007) include the influence of the autocratic philosophy left by colonial administration with tendencies of incivility, brutality, emphasis on order rather than security and safety of citizens; Inclement Political Environment and Poor Economic Management and Performance.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The aim of the study is to examine police performance and democratic ethos in Delta State of Nigeria while the specific objective of the study is to:
- To examine the reasons for the reform of Nigerian Police Force (NDF)
- To examine the traditional roles and duties of Nigerian Police Force (NDF) in the protection and control of crime
- To examine the extent to which the Nigerian police have been able to exercise their statuary function to protect lives and properties.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the reasons for the reform of Nigerian Police Force (NDF)
- What is the traditional roles and duties of Nigerian Police Force (NDF) in the protection and control of crime?
- What is the extent to which the Nigerian police have been able to exercise their statuary function to protect lives and properties?
- There is no significant effect of the reasons for the reform of Nigerian Police Force (NDF)
- There is no significant effect of traditional roles and duties of Nigerian Police Force (NDF) in the protection and control of crime
- There is no significant effect of Nigerian police have been able to exercise their statuary function to protect lives and properties.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
- The significance of the study include the following
The study become important as it intends to research into the statutory roles and functions of the Nigerian police and enlighten the citizens on it.
In addition, the significance of this study is noted in the context of examining the factors militating against the proper discharge of roles and functions by Nigerian police. This will enhance government in putting in place effective policies in improving the security agency.
This study will contribute to the academic enterprise on the ways to study security in Nigeria with focus in Nigerian police.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study was delimited to police performance and democratic ethos in Delta State of Nigeria. The methodology that would be employed in this study is social survey. Data for this study would be sourced though the use of questionnaire. This source of data collection is considered more reliable for study at hand as magnitude of information would be gathered from the direct source.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In every research work, it is likely that the researcher may encounter some limitations. The researcher encountered some challenges during the period of carrying out this research. Some of these challenges include the dearth of materials for a proper and effective research work constituted a major limitation. Again, how to get the true and required information from the officers through questionnaire also constituted a constraint in the study.
Finally, there was the problem of convincing the police officers on the primary objectives of the questionnaire so as to give the true and required information. However, the intervention of the police PRO who took time to clear the air and convince his officers helped the investigator to administer the instrument successfully.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Police: Alemika (2007) are critical agent of state charge with the enforcement of law and maintenance of order.
Brutality: It is the trait of extreme cruelty
Crime: Is an action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by laws.
Security: According to Free Encyclopedia it is the degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm, it applies to any vulnerable and valuable asset, such as a person, dwelling, community, nation or organization.
Sovereign state: According to Free Encyclopedia sovereign state is a juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area.
Peace: Peace is when people are able to resolve their conflicts without violence and can work together to improve the quality of their lives. Peace is also when everyone lives in safety without fear or treat of violence, and no form of violence is tolerated in law or in practice.