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The internal security of lives and property in Nigeria is the paramount duty of designated security agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force. Policing can therefore be viewed as the provision of security and the maintenance of peace. To secure a large Federation of Nigeria with about 170 million population and 36 States and Federal Capital Territory of Abuja obviously will not be an easy task. The security agencies are therefore encumbered with enormous threats to national security and other factors which affect effective and efficient performance of maintaining the peace and securing lives and property. There have been clamour recently for state policing in order for the police force to be more efficient. This is without its own flaws. The pertinent question to ask at this stage will be: What is the concept and scope of state policing in Nigeria? What is the constitutional and statutory structure and functions of the Nigeria Police Force? What are the challenges of national security faced by the Nigerian state? What are the factors that militate against policing in the maintenance of national security? What are the laws and policies governing state policing? How will policing of the federating states help in solving the problems faced by the Nigeria Police Force? A critical review of the extant law and policies on policing the Federation of Nigeria by this researcher looked at the adequacy or otherwise of the law and policies in place and the extent it has helped the security agencies to carry out the mandate of securing the federation. The study also looked at the call from some quarters for state police, its relevance and implications, its advantages and disadvantages. Based on the critical review, the researcher pointed out areas of law and policies that require improvement and recommended the way forward for better policing of the Federation of Nigeria.









It is hard to underscore much about the very early history of the police.Policing, maintaining order and dealing with lawbreakers had alwaysbeen a private matter. Citizens were responsible for protectingthemselves and maintaining an orderly society. Uniformed andorganised police departments as we think of them today were rare. Infact, modern style police department beganin the 19th century in England, and subsequently extended to Nigeria. The pre-colonial societies share a number of features in their socialorganisation regardless of whether they are politically centralised ordecentralised although they share certain common attitudes and valuesin their social relations regardless of societal type. The societies sharecertain core beliefs and cosmological practices. The observable unities within diversities and vast linguistic and ethnic pluralismhave been articulated into an African culture, African religion, Africanphilosophy, negritude, African socialism, African personality, etc.The pre-colonial societies also relied on a number of other secular andsupernatural agencies that monitor social behaviour and imposesanctions against deviation. The following groups were characteristicallyused in the detection, resolution, and punishment of offences: Youth, Umuada, the Masquerade, etc.


  • Background Of Study

Policing has always been a necessity in all societies for the preservation of order, safety, and social relations. There are several accounts of the evolution of the Police Force in Nigeria. From a classical point of view, it can however be observed that in medieval period, prevention, protection and control of crimes and other social vices was the primary responsibility of every adult male in the prevalent community. Nigeria’s police history can be attributed to the need by the British colonial power to facilitate colonial rule in the Northern and Southern protectorates. A security structure was built in order to aid the enforcement of laws and maintenance of order in the protectorates and the Colony of Lagos. The emergence of the Nigerian State as an entity with vast powers and authorities basically for the protection and peaceful co- existence amongst her heterogeneous groups led to the creation of security departments and agencies. The security personnel were put in place to control the use of violence by other groups and have monopoly over the means of legitimate violence in the society.

In Nigeria, the Constitution[1] established the Nigeria Police Force with powers and duties as may be conferred on them by law.[2] The government at the centre has exclusive control of the Police Force as they form part of the executive arm of government subject to laws made by the legislative arm to delimit their powers and provide for their duties. The police therefore has a vital role to play in a democratic state like Nigeria.

There are however several activities by activist groups and insurgents which tend to undermine national security and the role of the police in all of this. On the other hand, the Police Force is faced with diverse maintenance factors which inhibit the due performance of its duty as the protector of the people especially with recent uprisings around the country which threaten national security.

The clamour for state police is also without its limitations. Laws are yet to be put in place and policies formulated to meet the demand for adequate security in the federating states to curb acts of insurgents and extremists which are viewed as threat to national security.


  • Statement Of Problem

As a member of the armed services, the Nigerian Police Force is concerned with the prevention and detection of crime, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property inter alia, but it is no gainsay that the people who they are supposed to protect has lost faith in their ability to perform their statutory and moral duties. Successive governments have tried several police reforms which have not actually abated the situations on grounds. Scholars and jurists have carried out researches and recommendations were made in order to enhance better performance of the Nigeria Police Force, yet, these problems persist. This lays credence to the clamour for state policing and adequate funding of security agencies. The suggestion for state policing is however, without its advantages and disadvantages. There is also the challenge of whether it is attainable in Nigeria, if it is, how can it be achieved? Fortunately, this researcher is examining the laws and policies governing policing in the federating states of Nigeria in order to identify the relevance, implications and possibilities of states’ Police in Nigeria and recommend it as a panacea out of these shortfalls of the Nigeria Police Force.

  • Research Questions

Some of the research questions, which will be asked in this research, are:

  1. What is the concept and scope of state policing in Nigeria?
  2. What is the constitutional and statutory structure and functions of the Nigeria Police Force?
  • What are the challenges of national security faced by the Nigerian state?
  1. What are the factors that militate against policing in the maintenance of national security?
  2. What are the laws and policies governing state policing?
  3. How will policing of the federating states help in solving the problems faced by the Nigeria Police Force?
    • Aims And Objectives

The aim of this research is to have an analytical overview of policing in Nigeria with the intent of examining the benefits of state policing.

The objectives of this research will include:

  1. To have a succinct knowledge on the concept and scope of state policing in Nigeria.
  2. To understand the constitutional and statutory structure and functions of the Nigeria Police Force.
  • To identify the challenges of national security faced by Nigeria.
  1. To examine the factors that militate against policing in the maintenance of national security.
  2. To be abreast with the laws and policies governing state policing.
  3. To critically analyse how policing of the federating states will help in solving the problems faced by the Nigeria Police Force.
    • Research Methods

The doctrinal research method will be used mostly in this research. The researcher would briefly apply the comparative method in other to evaluate Nigeria’s framework with that of some civilized nations.

  • Significance Of The Study

This research would be beneficial to different categories of persons. The data gathered from this research will be useful to the Nigerian judicial system in order to highlight challenges of National security and factors militating against effective performance by the Nigeria Police Force and give judgements having these flaws in mind.

The results of this research will also be useful to the legislative arm in order to enlighten them further on the need for state policing and to the executive arm of government too for prompt implementation of recommended police reforms from this research in order to enhance the performance of the Nigeria Police Force.

Furthermore, this research will be a guide to the teaching of the public on the need for state police as a panacea to solve the problems in the Nigeria Police Force and also serve as a resource base for further studies.

  • Limitations And Scope Of Study

The scope of this research will cover the entire basic subject matters on State policing and the Nigerian Police Force. It will also cover the solutions that can be used to solve the problems emanating from encumbrances on the Nigerian Police Force.

The researcher is faced with some limitations and these are:

Time Constraint: There is insufficient time as the researcher is combining this project with academic works, which sometimes overlap.

Accessibility of Research Materials: Since this area of law is novel in the Nigerian legal system, it is very difficult to source for materials and statutory provisions and therefore, the researcher is left with primarily, works downloaded from the internet and few works from learned scholars and jurists on state police.

  • Definition Of Terms

1.8.1 Policing

Policing means process of  maintaining order and enforcing of law. The police is one of the security agencies in charge of performing this duty. The Nigeria Police Force is one of the various agencies in charge of these duties.

1.8.2 State Police

State police is form of decentralised policing in which the maintenance of order and enforcing laws are under the control and supervision of the Governor of that state. It is widely practices in developed countries with the Central government having jurisdiction in external affairs and supervisory jurisdiction.

1.8.3 National Security

National security is a concept that a government, along with its parliaments, should protect the state and its citizens against all kind of “national” crises through a variety of power projections, such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might, and so on.


[1] CFRN, 1999 (as amended)

[2] Ibid, Section 214


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