A Survey on the Factors Limiting the Performance of Police in Nigeria




1.1       Background of the study

Security is pivotal in the conduct of human affairs from time immemorial. According to Agekome (2000), Security is a familiar cliché that has currency over the years. When a society is secure and peaceful, it enjoys rapid economic and social development. But a restive and insecure society is a breeding ground for chaos, lawlessness and anarchy, hence, the need for a vibrant, efficient and effective Police Force that can maintain law and order in society, and ensure peaceful coexistence among citizens in a secure and safe environment.

            The Police, a body of officers representing the civil authority of government, are typically responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities (Kelling, Brodeur, Whetson, Walsh and Banton, 2020). The Police are said to be: a. Community leaders in public safety b. Possess broad discretion c. Solve sociological and Technological Problem d. Occasionally serve in a hostile or dangerous environment (Haley, 1992). The Police are mainly responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law, and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities (Kelling, Brodeur, Whetson, Walsh and Banton, 2020).

The Police Force therefore, is a most important law enforcement agency in Nigeria with the motto: “Police is your friend.” Unfortunately, many Nigerians do not believe in this because of the unpalatable experiences and stories about their encounters with the Police, while carrying out their duties. In any case, the Police have been empowered by the law to perform specific functions and they are expected to work within the confines of the law and Constitution of the land. By section 214 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, the Nigerian Police Force shall have such powers and duties as may be conferred upon them by law. The law that provides for such powers and duties is the Police Act (Cap 355 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria).

            Unfortunately, the Nigerian society is facing serious problems such as, insecurity, armed robberies, kidnappings, murders, political assassinations among others; while the Police are involved in various vices especially bribery and other corrupt practices. They thereby undermine efficient and effective policing for the maintenance of law and order. The criticism of the Police in recent times has reached such a dangerous crescendo, that one time Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Musiliu Smith and some other top-notch in the force gathered together to look fora way out of this quagmire. More so, Nigerians have poor and negative perception about the Nigeria police. The reasons include lack of trust, corruption, human rights violations, and perversion of justice among others. Notwithstanding efforts made to change this ugly perception, an average Nigerian sees a policeman as an enemy rather than a friend. One therefore wonders if the Police Force in Nigeria has attained the expected standard or met the expectations of the citizens, in an egalitarian and developing society such as ours. Therefore, the questions that may arise are; Do members of the Nigeria Police Force render quality service in our country or, do they operate at an acceptable optimum level and standard no matter the challenges they face? Are there issues that affect and frustrate their efficiency and effectiveness in the Nigerian environment?To answer these questions necessitated the study on factors limiting the performance of police in Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of the problem

The prevalence of crime and other social vices in Nigeria today is a cause for serious concern by the public, and calls to question the role of security agencies in the performance of their duties. Many reasons contribute to these security services’ poor performance, and residents perceive them as a collection of crooked, ill-equipped, and ineffective individuals who only joined because they were unemployed. According to Uhunmwuangho and Aluforo (2011), the Nigerian police are perceived as corrupt uniformed men and women that contribute to and participate in the infiltration of crime, extrajudicial executions, and the intimidation of the innocent populace that they are supposed to protect (Ukwayi,Okpa,Adewoyin,Angioha, &Udom, 2017).

According to Adegoke (2014), who cited the Nigerian Police Force report (2008), a number of factors contribute to the poor performance of the Nigerian police force, including a lack of resources, poor government support, poor service conditions, a lack of appropriate and adequate training, and an under-equipped workforce. According to Osayande (2001), the police in Nigeria have been mistreated, assaulted, and mutilated. The police force has become so dirty that it requires a full surgical surgery as well as dialysis. Due to a lack of staff, mobility in the execution of their responsibilities, and communication facilities, the police are unable to carry out their jobs adequately. What’s more concerning, according to Oluyinini (2005), is that the presence of police officers often conjures up a sad picture of dread and mistrust in the population, rather than inspiring confidence and optimism. All of these issues, as well as a slew of others, substantially jeopardize the efficacy and efficiency with which police personnel carry out their responsibilities. Other factors that may impede the NPF’s performance include a lack of productive and social infrastructure in society, inappropriate policing strategies, political interference, inadequacy of intelligence gathering, analysis, and utilization skills and facilities, inadequacy of officers in terms of quality and training at various ranks; poor conditions of service; lack of public co-operation; grossly inadequate policing strategies; grossly inadequate policing strategies; grossly inadequate policing strategies; grossly inadequate polic The problem is that an ineffectual police force can’t ensure people’ safety and, as a result, can’t demand public respect ( Ogaga, 2014). It is upon this  premise that this study seeks to explore a survey on the factors limiting the performance of police in Nigeria.

1.3       Objective of the study

The broad objective of this study is to ascertain the factors limiting the performance of police in Nigeria. Specifically the study seek to:

  1. To examine the role of Nigeria Police Force.
  2. Investigate the if there are negative perception associated to Nigeria Police Force.
  3. Explore the  perception of citizens toward Nigeria Police Performance.
  4. Analyze factors impeding efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria Police force.

1.4       Research Questions

The research is guided by the following question:

  1. What is  the role of Nigeria Police Force?
  2. Are there  negative perception associated to Nigeria Police Force?
  3. What is the perception of citizens toward Nigeria Police Performance?
  4. What are the factors impeding efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria Police force?

1.5       Significance of the study

Findings from the study will be relevant to government and Nigeria police Force including the general public. The study will give government information on the need to come up with policies that will reform the police force. And also ensure that Police can be improved by putting in place all requirements for modern Policing, promoting and working relationship, provision of other incentives like welfare, insurance scheme, housing scheme and so on to motivate the Police to perform better in their duties. Finally, the study would contribute empirically to the body of existing literature and it would serve as a reference source to students or other researchers who might want to carry out their research on the similar topic.

1.6       Scope of the study

The scope of the borders on  factors limiting the performance of police in Nigeria. The study will also examine the role of Nigeria Police Force. It will investigate the if there are negative perception associated to Nigeria Police Force. It will also explore the  perception of citizens toward Nigeria Police Performance. It will analyze factors impeding efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria Police force.

1.7 Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited  as few respondent were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other security agencies. However, despite the constraint  encountered during the  research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.




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Adegoke, N. (2014).The Nigeria Police and the Challenges of Security in Nigeria, Review of Public Administration and Management. 3, (6),

Adegoke; N. (2014) The Nigeria Police and the challenges of security in Nigeria. Review of public administration and management. Volume 3 No 6.pp 21-36

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Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary (2021). Police.  Merriam-Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/police

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Osayande, P.B.O., (2017). Factors inhibiting police performance in Nigeria. A paper presented at the occasion of the retreat with the theme: Understanding the mandate and operations of the Police Service

Uhunmwuangho, S.O. &Aluforo, E. (2011) Challenges and Solutions to Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Nigeria: Case Study of the Jos Crises, Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, Volume 13, No.5, 109-124.

Ukwayi,J.K., Okpa,J.T., Adewoyin,S.A., Angioha, P.U. &Udom, H.T. (2017). Security Equipment and Policing in Central Senatorial District of Cross River State, Nigeria, IOSR Journal Of Humanities and Social Science, 22 (2), 6 – 14.



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