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Police Effectiveness, Accountability and Violence in Nigeria

Nigeria is currently witnessing unprecedented level of ethno-religious violence; violent crimes, and terrorist attacks by insurgent groups since its existence. The civil war (1967-1970) did not generate as much discontent among diverse groups in the country. The capacity of the country to contain the growing violence is weak. The deployment of the military for civil policing has exposed the ineffectiveness of the Nigeria Police Force and led to the militarisation of civil life, which is inimical to the consolidation of the country's democratic transition.

The common forms of collective and inter-personal violence frequently experienced in the country are violent inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts; intra-and inter-communal violence; armed robbery, kidnapping, assassination (motivated by political and economic competition, and ransom money); gender-related violence; ritual killing and mutilation; ethno-religious militia and terrorist violence, extra-judicial killing and brutality by security personnel, and violent attack against security officials. The Nigeria Police Force has generally been ineffective in preventing and controlling these forms of violence due to lack of capacity in the core policing functions of intelligence, investigation, apprehension and prosecution of suspects. In this presentation, we examine the factors that undermine the effectiveness and accountability of the Nigeria Police Force and offer recommendations for the reform of the Force.