Nigeria Security Agencies And Human Right Enforcement

Nigeria Security Agencies And Human Right Enforcement: An Assessment Of The Nigerian Police Delta State, Police Command, Asaba. 



  • Background to the Study

The security services of any nation is an integral part of the society that cannot be dispensed with and their responsibilities with regards to securing lives and properties cannot be overemphasized. This is why it is tropical that the ones who are supposed to safe-guard and protest the rights of the citizens turn around to trample upon and violate the rights of the citizenry.




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Some of the functions of these security agencies as provided by law include among others the preservation of law and order, a detection of any crime within Nigeria, maintenance of internal security. The protection and preservation of all non military classified matters concerned with the internal security of Nigeria.

The issue of human right law and its abuses, by the police has been a complicated and contention problem. The Nigerian police has a long history of engaging in professional, corruptional criminal conduct using excessive and often brutal forms of torture, rape and sexual violence and intimidation of victims and the destruction f evidence, unlawful detention, unfair trail and possible death in the hands of the police who are supposed to be the ones to protect the lives and rights of the citizens.

The abstract believe is that police is the friend of the people. In fact, the motto of the police is “The police if your friend” want, whose friend? One doubt the authenticity and reliability of this motto with the way and manner the Nigerian police performs its duties. The nation of an average Nigerian or almost all Nigerians is that police is the greatest enemy of the Nigeria citizens. They have caused more evil than good to the good people of Nigeria. If one is to study corruption in Nigeria, the Nigerian police will not be omitted on the infringement of fundamental human right the Nigeria police is always on they top of the list.

The Nigerian made has great influence on what the public perceives as police corruption or human right abuse. It is a common occurrence for most Nigerian newspapers and magazines to have their headlines on the activities of the Nigeria police in relation to human right violation while, attempting to carry out their constitutional duties of maintaining law and order (Ademu, 2011). Human right abuse by the police is a phenomenon that is disturbing and worrisome to Nigerians. This has left many citizens to be injured physically, mentally or psychologically as they go through these experiences in the hand of those whose responsibility it to protect them. There exist frightening experiences in which the citizens hardly have any complement for the police detest interaction with police personnel as they see it as a prelude to arrest. This has been traced to the committal human rights abuses by the police against members of the society.

This work is examine the nature of human right abuse perpetuated by the police factors responsible for the abuse, public assessment of police human right record, effect of human right abuse on the citizenry and to suggest way to reduce the abuse to a barest minimum

  • Statement of the Problems

Human right is a necessary consequence of one’s citizenship which is based on the reciprocity between right and duties. Rights are not right that have been donated to the Nigerian people through an act of benevolence by it’s leader the right bind the people to the rest of humanity in a collective endeavour of civilized conduct and cherished values of human existence.

One will but agreed with the learned author Folashed B. Okeshola when he started that Nigeria is one of the worst victims of human right, visitation by the police in Africa consequently, many Nigerians today live in fear and terror, torture, unlawful detention, unfair trait and possible death. The Nigerian police frequently use torture while interrogating suspects despite section 34 of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission and Center for Law Enforcement (CEEN) stated that “almost 80% of in mates in Nigeria prisons claim to have been beaten by the police and threatened with weapons.

NPF personnel enjoy a stunning degree of impunity. The government routinely fails to exercise due diligence in investigating or ensuring accountability for police abuses. In Enugu State the head of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the state police command boasted in December 2008 to a research from the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRN) that he ordered the extrajudicial execution of only those people whom he knew to be guilty. He took offense at being asked to explain how without investigation or trail he could determine the quite or innocence of such persons before putting them to death.

Ademu (2011) noted that the Nigerian police participate in mass killings, burying suspects in shallow graves. The police were empowered by the constitution to make arrest without warrants, if they believed that there was a reason to suspect that a person had committed offence they often abuse this power. During criminal investigation, there is always abuse of respect for human right as the police report to torture the suspects to extract confession. The methods or instrument of torture used by the police include beating with sticks, irons, bars, wires and cables, sticking pins or sharp object into the private parts of suspects etc.

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There have been so many reported case of rape and violating female inmate in the police custody, collecting of bribe and unlawful detection, extrajudicial execution engaged in by police personnel and many other acts which have turned the police to a blood sucking monster in the eye of the citizenry. In view of this many citizens see police personnel as an everlasting enemy and relate to them as such. These human right abuses have led to the maiming, physically and psychological trauma of many citizens. Many citizens have died and continue to die in police detention centers.

Another dimension to this is that human rights abuse is mostly committed against some sections of the society as the poor, uneducated citizens who are defenseless and unable to enforce their right because they are neither seen or heard.

  • Research Questions

In the bid to achieve the purposes of this study the following questions were raised;

  1. To what extent do the Nigerian police abuse the rights of Nigerian citizens?
  2. What are the effect(s) of human right abuses by the police on the citizens?
  3. To what extent can the abuse of Human Right by Nigerian Police be reduced?
    • Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to examine the Nigerian police force and human right abuse with particular reference to Asaba Delta State, other specific purposes includes;

  1. To ascertain the causes of human right abuses on the citizens by the police personnel.
  2. To find out the effects of human right abuses by the police personnel on the citizens.
  3. To recommend ways to reduce human right abuses on the citizens by the police to the barest minimum.
    • Significance of the Study

This study is significant to the researcher since it is required as a partial fulfillment for the award of National Diploma (ND) certificate in the department of Public Administration and also to enhance the researcher knowledge in the issue of human right.

Secondly, this study is so relevant to the general public (citizens) because it serves as an eye opener for the citizens as to some of the right and privileges. They are meant to enjoy which may have been deprived of them in ignorance a lack of people sensitization to know some ways to obtain redress on the infringement of their rights by the police.

Thirdly, it may help the NPOF to effect changes on their modus operand after going through the research work by adopting the recommendation there in.

Finally, this work will be very relevant to the government and policy makers for the restructuring of the Nigeria police force as recommended by the researcher and other writers.

  • Scope of the Study

The scope of this study covers the nature of Nigerian Security Agencies and Human Right Enforcement: an assessment of the Nigeria police, Asaba Delta State from 2011 to 2015.

  • Limitations of the Study

The researcher encountered some difficulties in the course of this work, they include finance: The researcher being a student found it difficult funding the work as there were no major source of income for the researcher and this was a major concern for the researcher because of traveling to Asaba (the case study) to gather informations regarding to the work.

The researcher also found it difficult to get some vital information from police personnel because of fear of victimization and also to avoid some of the police activities to escalate for public knowledge.

The retrieval of the questionnaires was a problem because some of the respondents were not on sit during retrieval of questionnaires.

In a bid to achieve the aim of the study, the researcher restored to the used of internet materials to make up some of these limitations.

  • Definition of Terms

The essence of definition of terms or operationalization is to give or present the contextual meaning of some ambiguous words that may pose a threat for proper assimilation of the work.

  1. Abuse: This is the improper usage or treatment of an entity often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can some in form of physical or verbal maltreatment injury, assault, violation, rape, unjust practices etc.
  2. Judicial: Also known as the judicial system or court system, is the system of courts that interprets and applares the law in the name of the state.
  3. Extrajudicial Execution: This is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceedings or legal process.
  4. Legally: Relating to law and the administration of law. acceptable of allowable under official rules.
  5. Execution: This mean the act of putting a person to death in a judicial, sentence of death. The act of killing someone especially as legal punishment for a crime.
    • Organization of the Study
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The study will be contained in five (5) chapters. Chapter one will be to the introductory part of the work which will also contain statement of the research problem, research questions, and purposes, the study scope, the limitations encountered in the course of the work, chapter two (2) will review related literature in the study context, this will enable the research to know what and what that has been done by other writers as regards to the study, this chapter will also present the theoretical framework and historical background of the case study, chapter three (3) will contain the methodology for the work, survey design will be adopted so as to enable the researcher to generalize the result of the findings, yaro Yamane sampling technique will e adopted for selecting the sample size from the population while structured questionnaires will be used as instrument for data collection. Chapter four (4) will contain the presentation and analysis of the data collected with the questionnaires. Finally, chapter five (5), will contain the conclusion, summary and some programmatic recommendation made by the researcher.



2.1          Literature Review

The essence of literature review or review of related literature is to expose the research as to what has been done by other authors or writers, the study context.

Brief History of the Nigeria Police

                The Nigeria police is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria, with a staff strength of about 371800. It is a very large organization consisting of 36 commands groused into 12 zones and 7 administrative organs. It was first established in 1820 and it began with officers from Imo State. The Nigeria polices performed convectional police functions and was responsible for internal security generally for supporting the prison, immigration and customs services and for performing military duties within or outside Nigerian as directed.

In 1879, a 1,200 member’s armed paramilitary Hausa constabulary was formed. In 1896 the Lagos police was formed, a similar force, the Niger under the newly proclaimed Niger Coast protectorate. In the North, the Royal Niger Company setup the Royal Niger Company Constabulary in 1888. When the protectorate of Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed in the early 1900’s part of the Royal Niger Company constabulary became the Northern Nigeria police and part of the Niger coast constabulary became the Southern Nigeria Police during the colonial period, most police were associated with local governments (native authorities). In the 1960’s under the first republic, there forges were first regionalized and then nationalized.

The NPE maintains a three tier administrative structure of departments, zonal and state command

Meaning of Human Rights               

                Madunagu (1994) writes “the heart of every natural constitution is and should be the body of rights which the citizens should enjoy”.

                Rights has been defined as the standard of permitted action within ascertain sphere. Patron identifies four elements in every legal right tourist.

  1. The holder of the right
  2. The act of for balance to which the right relates.
  • The reconcerned (the object of the right)
  1. The person bound by the duty.

Rights and duties are however bed follows, because where there is existence of fundamental rights, these is a duty on persons or authorities to leave the rights sacrosanct and invisible.

Many constitutions including those of the United States of America and Republic of South Africa have them as the “Bill of Rights”. The Nigerian constitution regards them as fundamental rights. Human Rights simply put maybe defined as those rights which all human being enjoy simply by virtue of their humanity the deprivation of which would constitute a grave affront on one’s natural sense of justices.

Origin of the Concept of Fundamental Human Rights

                The development of human right has been influenced by two approaches: classical and modern university of Jos Law Journal. The classical approach to human rights is derivable from the natural law conception. The naturalists have a religion base and to them, law is reason and not the mere arbitrary which of the ruler. This approach suggests a system of right that are common to mankind irrespective of nationality, cried or sex. Thus, chapter 39 of Magna Carta, declares: No free man may betalson, imprisonal dispensed, out law, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will proceed against or prosecute him, except by lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land”.

                This was the first major step in the direction towards realizing that there are some inalienable right God bequeathed on man and should be head in the highest esteem, even thought, according to Osita Ogbu, the right that there were concession which Ising John made to his barrons that is, the insights and other hand owners. He concluded that the Magna Carta did not begin the process of granting certain rights by the Ising to his subject.


                The colonial era was that of diminished or extinguished human right activity. This was shown in derail of frantic civil and political right to Nigerians. Starting chronologically, 1954 constitution left hollow entrenchment of fundamental rights into the various and successive constitutions.

                The 1960 constitution made provisions for enshrinement o fundamental right into it. Both the 1963 republic can constitution and the 1979 constitution equally provided for fundamental right. The 1999 constitution which has its prototype in the 1979 constitution incorporates and reaffirms the principles of human rights espoused by the framers of magna Carter. The American constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Right and all other. It should be noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Right was basically civil and political right. But in 1966 these right expanded embrace economic, social and cultural rights which then engendered the adoption of two but complementary covenants i.e. international covenant on civil and political rights and the interactional covenant on economic, social and cultural rights.

Before imperialism in Nigeria each region of Nigeria has her well established and fortified administrative system. The Igbo was regarded as egalitarian and republic can in Nigeria, the Hausa kingdom had a high centralized government while the Yoruba system was not highly centralized but rather had power devolution to some other authorities. These system however had its notions of human right basically based on communalism as opposed to individualism

Fundamental Human Rights in Nigeria

Fundamental Human Rights are those species of right which have been recognized and incorporated into the constitution of any nation. However, in view of the constitutional incorporation, Nigeria jurists have drawn a line of difference between human rights and fundamental human rights (Uzochukwu and Ors V Ezeonu II and Ors). The court of Appeal said due to the development of constitutional law in this field distinct difference has emerged between Fundamental Rights and Human Rights.

It may be recalled that human rights were derived from and out of the wider concept of every civilized society must accept as belonging to each person as a human being. These were termed human rights.

Fundamental human right provision is enshrined in chapter IV of the constitution from section 33 to 46.

  • Right to Life: The constitution in section 33(1), a person has a right to life. This right is life should not be deprived unless after due process of law and in the execution of the sentence of a court for a criminal offence of which the person has been found guilty in Nigeria.
  • Right to Dignity of Human Person: Every individual under section 34(1) (2) is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person. Accordingly no person should be subjected to any form of torture, in humanity any degrading treatment, slavery of forced labour, etc. But compulsory labour does not include any labour as a result of sentence of court order, or from armed forces or compulsory national service as required from any law etc.
  • Right to Personal Liberty: Every person in Nigeria is assured of his personal liberty under section 35(1-7), and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in certain cases permitted by law. Personal liberty in this context means right to freedom, from wrongful or false imprisonment, arrest, or any physical restraint without legal justification. A persons personal liberty is not infringed upon according to the constitution in such circumstances like:
  • Imprisonment resulting from a court sentence.
  • Lawful arrest
  • Failure of one to comply with a court order.
  • For the purpose of education or welfare of a young person under the age of 18.
  • For the purpose of treating one with a contagious disease, unsound mind, during addicts etc.
  • To prevent one from entering Nigeria unlawfully.
  • Right to Fair Hearing: In a bid to determine the civil right and obligations, a person according to section 36(1-12), a person shall be entitled to fair hearing within reasonable time by a court or tribunal established by law which is at same time independent and impartial.

Nigeria Security Agencies And Human Right Enforcement: An Assessment Of The Nigerian Police Delta State, Police Command, Asaba. 


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