HISTORY OF NIGERIA POLICE
The Nigeria Police Force is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria with a staff strength of about 423,100. There are currently plans to increase the force to 650,000, adding 280,000 new recruits to the existing 370,000. The NPF is a very large organization consisting of 36 State commands grouped into 12 zones and 7 administrative organs. The agency is currently headed by IGP Ibrahim Kpotun Idris.
Nigeria Police Force was first recognized in 1820. The first person to have the highest rank in all the police is commissioner general colonel KK. In 1879 a 1,200-member armed paramilitary Hausa Constabulary was formed. In 1896 the Lagos Police was established. A similar force, the Niger Coast Constabulary, was created in Calabar in 1894 under the newly proclaimed Niger Coast Protectorate. In the north, the Royal Niger Company set up the Royal Niger Company Constabulary in 1888 with headquarters. When the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed in the early 1900s, 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 joined with local governments (native authorities). In the 1960s, under the First Republic, these forces were first regionalized and then nationalized.
The NPF performed conventional police functions and was responsible for in-house security generally; for supporting the prison, immigration, and customs services; and for performing military duties within or outside Nigeria as directed. Plans were announced in mid-1980 to expand the force to 200,000. By 1983, according to the federal budget, the strength of the NPF was almost 152,000, but other sources estimated it to be between 20,000 and 80,000. Reportedly, there were more than 1,300 police stations nationwide. Police officers were not usually armed but were issued weapons when required for specific missions or circumstances. They were often deployed throughout the country, but in 1989 former President of Nigeria in person of Babangida announced that a larger number of officers would be posted to their native areas to facilitate police- community relations.
The Nigerian Police (NP) is designated by the 1999 constitution as the national police of Nigeria with exclusive jurisdiction throughout the country. Constitutional provision also exists, however, for the establishment of separate NPF branches “forming part of the armed forces of the Federation or for their protection of harbors, waterways, railways and airfields.” One such branch, the Port Security Police, was reported by different sources to have vitality in 1990 of between 1,500 and 12,000.
The role of security men in election has become an issue. Ordinarily in advanced democracies, security men are rarely seen within the precincts of the voting area and certainly do not enforce a lockdown of the town as would be expected across the country. However, the role of security men became an issue after the elections in Nigeria for many years now.
Different Nigeria political parties have alleged that security men were used to reining in their officials . while at the same time giving leeway to their rivals during the election day. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has, however, restated the need for security men to provide cover for its officials and also to provide the enabling environment for the process from voting to collation.
WHY IS NIGERIAN’S POLICE NOT VOTING IN THE GENERAL ELECTION
However, at the polling station, even if the governor is there, INEC would recognize the presiding officer of the station as the chief security officer. All security men deployed to the polling unit would be answerable to him or her. The security agents would:
- Escort the presiding officer, returning officer or collation officer during the electoral activities or in the discharge of their duties.
- Provide accurate security at the polling station to ensure that accreditation, counting and collation of results are done smoothly.
- Make sure the maintenance of peace in the polling area. Protect electoral officers at all levels of the voting process.
- Arrest at the instruction of the presiding officer any one accused of obstructing the peaceable conduct of the election or who the presiding officer reports as breaching the electoral laws.