Criminology Project Topics

Police Brutality and Democratic Governance A Case Study of Lagos State (2015-2020)

Police Brutality and Democratic Governance A Case Study of Lagos State (2015-2020)

Police Brutality and Democratic Governance A Case Study of Lagos State (2015-2020)

Chapter One


The objectives or specific objectives of this study which are derived from the broad or main objective include:

  1. To critically examine the impact of Police brutality on democratic governance in Lagos state Nigeria.
  2. To investigate the factors responsible for Police brutality in Lagos state Nigeria.
  3. To identify the extent to which Police brutality has been addressed by comparing and examining past solutions to the problem since 2015 to 2020 in Lagos state Nigeria.
  4. To prescribe possible solutions to Police brutality in Lagos state Nigeria.

 Chapter two


Emergence and creation of the Nigeria police

The emergence of the police can be traced back to the era of the mutual pledge system. Mutual pledge system was a fore runner to the institution of Police force in Britain. Under the mutual pledge system, villagers were responsible for their safety as well as protection of their settlements from thieves and marauders. It was a sort of collective responsibility for everybody. Ten families were grouped into collectives, called a tithing, and entrusted with the task of protecting their settlements from thieves and marauders. The tithing was rearranged into a hundred, supervised by one amongst them though appointed by the local noble. The appointee who is considered the first real police officer deals with more serious breaches of the law. With the passage of time, there was a reorganization of the mutual pledge system in such a way that hundreds of families formed shires, an equivalent of local government area of today. Similarly, the head of the shire, known as sheriff was appointed by a king or queen to supervise a certain territory and ensured that law and order was kept. In this arrangement, the sheriff soon began to pursue and apprehend law violators hence the creation of the Office of Justice of Peace in about 1326. In due course, the Justices of peace took on judicial functions in addition to their primary duty as peace keepers. A formal system of security watch developed in which the local constable became the operational assistant to the Justice of the Peace supervising the night watch, investigating offences, serving summons, executing warrants, and securing prisoners. Gradually, the mutual pledge system died-out for the following reasons:

  1. What was everybody’s duty being nobody’s duty
  2. People no longer had respect for the constables because some of them were illiterates
  3. There was some reliance on paid night watchmen.

Thereafter, there emerged the industrial revolution which lured thousands from countryside to work in the larger towns. The low wages earned by the swelling population could hardly sustain them and as result, there was increase in crime which heightened the need for formal protection. The development of organic solidarity which replaced mechanical solidarity brought a change in communal social life and a decline in community sense of belonging. In response from established citizens, the government passed statutes creating new protection agency in England. The agency employed three Justices of Peace who employed six able and healthy persons as staffers (constables). Thereafter, law began to be more centralized and professional. In furtherance to this, a protection agency was created through the acts of parliament. With time, the protection agency was re-branded as the first organised Police force in London with members being cloaked in a distinctive uniform and led by two magistrates, who were later given the title of Commissioner. However, it is instructive to note that in as much as the people wanted the establishment of a protection agency; the institutionalization of a professional, uniformed protection agency was resisted by many people for the simple reason that they feared that an armed protection agency in the hands of the Central Government might threaten their freedom. Besides, the people were aware that the professional uniformed protection agency was principally established to protect the rulers rather than them. Despite the resistance of the idea of armed, military-style police on the British soil; it was introduced into Nigeria not necessarily to undermine human rights which were the bane of its rejection, but to protect the colonial masters as well as the interest of the metropolitan (British) economy in whatever form deemed necessary. Sequel to the stated, the police became a tool to harass, intimidate and employ violence against opponents, and in most situations lynch them. Expounding this assertion, Nwabueze (1992) declares that during the era of regionalism in Nigeria, each region had its own local police. However, he contended that the local police forces in the Northern Nigeria … were turned into the local arms of the parties in power. As a result, criminal charges against anyone in government were disregarded. The injustice inherent in the regional policing ignited the call for a single police force for the country. However, since the unification, one wonders if a change has occurred between what Nwabueze (1992) queried about and what is occurring in contemporary times where only members of the opposition are being hunted. The subversion of the rule of law and professionalism would have been off the media. But the disruption of campaigns by armed thugs as witnessed in the concluded gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States (Nigeria), where amongst other claims people were beheaded in one of the states in order to snatched election materials, but the burning to death of a woman leader of one of the political parties in inside her private residence will ever remain a horrible commentary in the annals of the elections in Nigeria. While the inactivity of the police remains condemnable, the purported body language or declarations of her allegiance to the federal government is difficult to comprehend. Agreed this is against Article 26 of the ICCPR that provides that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination equal protection before the law. But what do we make of the Police Act that kicks against any undue arrangement with any government or political party in Nigeria? Frustratingly, the body language of the police hierarchy seems to suggest that “failure to support the government is tantamount to rebellion, and therefore, a punishable offense” (Amnesty International, 2002). Disappointing as it may seem, all these aberrations and consequences on human rights are self-evident of the forceful imposition of policing on the Nigerian people by the imperialists. Undoubtedly, section 194 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria, 1999) that created the Nigeria Police Force as the National Police with exclusive jurisdiction throughout the country was silent on profiling the character of recruits; there was no background check on who and who must be recruited. Obviously, that seems to be the herculean task as all kinds of individuals have been enrolled into the force. Unfortunately, no one seems to view it as a handicap. Surprisingly however, the colonial masters accentuated on refined character as bedrock for recruitment in their land. But in Nigeria, the hypocritical stance of the colonial policing is vexatious. As a result, the police have been epitomizing darkness, brutality, deceit, recklessness and remain the sole proponent of uncompleted investigations. For example, the assassination of Chief Dikibo, a chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State and Chief Bola Ige, the Minister for Justice and Attorney General are still being investigated after about sixteen years as no person yet has been convicted for these high profile murders, even when there are possible clues (Coker and George-Geny, 2014). More worrisome, according to Coker and George-Geny (2014), is the allegation that many of the suspects have been rewarded with electoral and executive appointments. From the foregoing one could easily assert that there is a positive correlation between Nwabueze’s earlier assertions that criminal charges levied against persons in corridors of power are unseen (Nwabueze, 1992) and the prevailing circumstances nowadays. Of all follies, we have often argued that, there is none greater than reforming the Nigeria police force because her history since inception has been not only of exploitation and brutality, but also protecting the bourgeoisie as it is nowadays. Accordingly, the exploitation and brutality of the Nigeria police remains the reason many a person in government still prefer to keep the force as it is, to preserve the status quo, and thus, see reformers as idealists who have lost touch with reality. While it is lamentable that officers genuflect to perpetual adoration of wealth, murals of dictators, quack-pastors and occultists (who they now body-guard), political thugs, narcotics smugglers, murderers, and religious bigots, can the Nigeria Police still attain greatness and position of respectability? The pains, humiliations, frustrations and disappointments that have tried many souls whose loved ones have continuously been brutally murdered through “accidental charges” by police because they obstructed justice are troubling.





Research is the process of arriving at a dependable solution to problems through planned and systematic collection, analyzing and interpretation of data (Osuala, 1993).

Green and Full (1975) defines research methodology as the specification of procedures for collecting and analyzing the data necessary to solve the problem at hand such that the differences between the cost of obtaining various levels of accuracy and the expected value of the information associated with each level of accuracy is optimized.

Thus, in this chapter the method and techniques of data collection and analysis for this study are discussed in details, research design, population of study, sample and sampling technique, sources of data collection, research instrument, validity of the instrument, reliability of the instrument, procedure for administration of research instrument, as well as the limitation of the research methodology. This will be important to Police brutality and democratic governance: a case study of Lagos state (2015-2020).

Research Design

The research design adopted in this research work is the survey research design which involves the usage of self-designed questionnaire in the collection of data. Under the survey research design, primary data of this study will be collected from selected inmates from different police stations in Lagos state in order to determine Police brutality and democratic governance: a case study of Lagos state (2015-2020). The design was chosen because it enables the researcher to collect data without manipulation of any variables of interest in the study. The design also provides opportunity for equal chance of participation in the study for respondents.

Population of Study

The population of study is the census of all items or a subject that possess the characteristics or that have the knowledge of the phenomenon that is being studied (Asiaka, 1991). It also means the aggregate people from which the sample is to be drawn.

Population is sometimes referred to as the universe. The population of this research study will be Seventy-five (75) inmates from different police stations in Lagos state



This chapter is about the analysis and presentation of data collected from the field through questionnaire. The analysis of the data with particular question immediately followed by the presentation of findings.

As mentioned in chapter three, 50 questionnaires were administered and 50 were retrieved and necessary analysis was carried out on them and presented as follows:




It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain police brutality and democratic governance: a case study of Lagos state since 2015-2020. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of Police brutality and democratic governance


This study was on Police brutality and democratic governance: a case study of Lagos state (2015-2020). Four objectives were raised which included: To critically examine the impact of Police brutality on democratic governance in Lagos state Nigeria, to investigate the factors responsible for Police brutality in Lagos state Nigeria, to identify the extent to which Police brutality has been addressed by comparing and examining past solutions to the problem since 2015 to 2020 in Lagos state Nigeria and to prescribe possible solutions to Police brutality in Lagos state Nigeria. The total population for the study is 75 staffs of selected police stations in Lagos state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies


In conclusion, the systematic brutality of the police affects virtually every Nigerian, though at different levels, as the impact weighs down more on the poor. The operations of the Nigeria Police Force bear almost no resemblance of the requirements of the Nigerian law. The activities of the NPF are at marked variance with protecting human life, safety, and security, as it rather endangers the people they ought to protect. It is evident that lack of capacity to conduct proper criminal investigation is responsible for the reliance of the Police on torture-induced confessions. As a result of the multitude of police stations in the country and the manner of development of the authority and responsibility of these police stations and divisions, there has been little supervision and control of this problem.


Nigerian Government under democratic dispensation should provide enough modern and functional working tools to the Nigerian Police Force in order to prevent and control criminal activities in Nigeria.

Fighting Corruption in police force through reforms in the police curriculum by teaching Men and Officers the dangers of corruption in services that devalue the image of the force from public sector, as well as re-orienting serving men and officers on the importance of fighting corruption in the service so the police force to restore public confidence and offer effective service to the public, Also must be a sanction to any police officer going unlawfully to citizens.



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