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Combatting Nigeria’s Contemporary Internal Security Quagmire and The Advocacy for State Police


The internal security in Nigeria is undoubtedly in an appalling state. There exists a myriad of challenges that have made the process of truly securing Nigerians a daunting task, particularly in most recent  times. Hence,  it is against this backdrop that some concerned patriots, analysts, security stakeholders, experts have recently reawakened the long time debate on embracing state police as a measure for further wrestling the nation’s security quagmire. Hence, the essential foci of this study is the analysis of the numerous contemporary bedeviling security challenges in Nigeria and appraising the debate regarding the call for State Police in Nigeria, a measure believed and advocated by some as the most appropriate at this point. With the aid of secondary data diligently gotten from credible sources, such as journals, archives, books, publications, peer reviewed articles and so on, this study established the different salient viewpoints of the advocators and critics of the state police measure. This research, among other things  recommends the constitutional review of the present 1999 constitution which will provide the legal framework for states to fully be in charge of their security architecture. Thus, giving room for interested states  to effectively adopt  the state police option as a panacea to Nigeria’s internal security predicaments. It is also recommended that state police co-exists and  works in synergy with the extant internal security agencies. In the same vein,  this study recommends that  state governments  take cues from the administrative challenges undermining the Nigeria Police Force and ensure the adequate provision of all vital facilities, including in depth orientation is done. This will go a long way in protecting the State police structure against degenerating into another counter-productive security strategy.


Title Page





Table of Contents 


1.1 Background to the Study

1.2 Statement of the Problem

1.3 Clarification of Concepts

1.4 Research Questions

1.5 Research Objectives

1.6 Significance of the Study

1.7 Methodology

1.8 Scope

1.9 Chapter Outline


2.1 Introduction

2.2 Contemporary Internal Security Quagmire in Nigeria

2.3 Institution of the State Police: A Brief Comparative Study

2.4 The Growing Advocacy For State Police: Arguments for and Against

2.4.1 Arguments in Favour

2.4.2 Arguments Against

2.5 Theoretical Framework

2.5.1 The Relative Deprivation Theory

2.5.2 The Social Conflict Perspective

2.5.3 The Social Contract Theory


3.1 Introduction

3.2 History, Development and Inadequacies of the Centralized Police Force

3.2.1 The Nigeria Police Force: Present Shortcomings

3.3 Structure of the Nigeria Police Force

3.4 Overview of Some Selected Contemporary Internal Security Crises

3.4.1 The Niger Delta Crises

3.4.2 Kidnapping in the South East Zone of Nigeria

3.4.3 Jos Crises

3.4.4 Boko Haram Crises

3.4.5 Farmers and Fulani Herdsmen Clashes

3.5 The Basis of the Clamour for State Police in Nigeria


4.1 Introduction

4.2 State Police Structure in Nigeria: An analysis of the Country’s Readiness

4.3 State Police in Nigeria: A workable Measure?

4.4 Adopting State Policing in Nigeria: Attendant Challenges and Limitations


5.1 Summary

5.2 Conclusion

5.3 Recommendations


                                                          CHAPTER ONE


It  is  generally an unassailable fact  that  the  paramount  responsibility of  the government  of any state is to ensure the provision and maintenance of its citizens’ safety cum  security.   No doubt,  security  is  the  ultimate  for  all  times,  climes,  peoples  and  nations  and  except one’s security within a particular atmosphere is ascertained, everything other thing might be meaningless ( Al Mashat, 1985). More so, without  security,  the  state  is  bound  to  experience  great  difficulty  in  harnessing  its  human  and  material resources  towards  meaningful  development  and  the  promotion  of  the  general  well-being  of  the  people.  Internal or  domestic  security  is  very  crucial  for  the  attraction  of  foreign  investments,  nation-building  and  national development  ( Nwogwugwu and  Kupoluyi, 2015).  This sufficiently provides the rationale behind a fundamental provision of the present 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which explicitly   states  that  “The  security  and  welfare  of  the people  shall  be  the  primary  purpose  of  government”.

It is however highly unfortunate that  the Nigerian state over the recent years   has  been  perpetually bedeviled by the endemic surge and scourge  of insecurity  challenges leading  to  hundreds   of  deaths of  innocent civilians, foreigners,   elected  officials  and  many government  workers,  even some  members  of the  nation’s security  personnel aren’t spared.  These  insecurity  challenges  continually  assume seemingly insurmountable  dimensions on a daily basis.  The number  of  violent  crimes  such  as kidnappings, ritual killings, carjackings, suicide  bombings,  religious  killings, politically-motivated  killing  and  violence, ethnic  clashes, armed  banditry  and  others  has  increasingly  become    the regular  signature  that characterises  life  in  Nigeria since 2009  (Imhonopi  &  Urim,  2012). Similarly, the security situation between 2007 and 2011 in Nigeria obviously took different dimensions. This period, however, witnessed a consistent pressure on the government by Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), increasing spate of kidnapping in the South – East geo – political zone, incessant bombings in the northern parts of Nigeria by Boko Haram group, Mehem by the Islamic assailants in Jos crisis, politically  motivated killings by unscrupulous groups, among others (Ameh, 2008:9).   In more recent times,  the country keeps going through this quagmire in a plethora number of ways ; ranging from the Herdsmen disturbances in the North and Central, Ritual killings, to kidnapping  which continuously thrives in the South West and East coupled with other political and economic disturbances.

Not only  has  the  continued  state  of  insecurity threatened  the  very  fabric  of  national  integration  in  the country  and  created  the  ecology  of  fear,  disquiet  and anxiety,  it has  also  meted  a deadly  blow  or  what Imhonopi  &  Urim  (2012)  call  “spectral  bite”  to  industrial development.  The  destruction  of  the badly  needed infrastructure  has  taken  the  country  many  years backwards.

Though,  the Nigerian government seemingly tries to  trudge  on in  the  face  of  this  daring  challenge  and adopt some strategies to contain or douse this  conflagration. These range from the “force-for-force”  to  carrot-and-stick approach to diplomacy  but  the  problem keeps  surging with  greater monstrosity  like  the  proverbial  phoenix. Worse still, the extant Nigeria Police Force and other internal Security Agencies have not been   impressively forthcoming in combatting this very issue.  Going by the studies and peruse of the Police Force in particular , it has always been adjuged to be largely fraught with lots of ills that inhibit it from substantially winning the war against Insecurity in the country.  According to Tunde-Awe (2005), the Nigeria  Police  Force  which  is  centrally  controlled,  has  over  the  years  metamorphosed  to  a  state where  it  is  allegedly  characterized  by  various  social  vices  such  as  graft, corruption,  robbery  and  indiscipline.

Scholars,  security  experts  and  consultants have  also not rested  in  making  diverse  recommendations  and probable  solutions  to  address  this national blight. Hence, this has led quite a number of these entities from various quarters into the advocacy for the embrace of State Police structure in containing  the insecurity menace that continually militate against  the internal peace of the Nigerian state and the welfare of its citizenry as a whole.



This largely stems from what has been briefly discussed in the above background of this study. Just as earlier mentioned, the Nigerian state keeps wallowing and going through the unending surge of insecurity challenges. The security conundrum in the nation has attained a very critical point. This is despite  the extant security measures put in place particularly in form of the federal police system and the numerous reforms that has been churned out by even previous governments. They  have apparently contributed just little in actually surmounting this disheartening quagmire.

Thus, the advocacy or re-awakened need for the State police structure has been birthed by many. However, this advocacy has not been without the confrontations and differing opinions of critics. Certain germane and highly fundamental questions have been and are being raised in the  course of this advocacy which has as well elicited a topical debate among researchers, security experts, public analysts to mention just a few.   Prominent among such raised questions and concerns  are;

To what extent can the adoption of  State Police in  Nigeria truly be an antidote to the myriad security challenges, what attendant challenges is its adoption going  to encounter,  How can it be really ascertained that the State Police structure will not be plagued with the very same problems that hinder the present Federal Police Force from performing up to expectations. Also, another vital concern that comes to mind is how feasible is the actual adoption of State Policing in the  present day Nigeria.

Hence, although the advocates have tried to illuminate the prospects of State Police, such advocacy isn’t without its fair share of criticisms from lots of critics and skeptics.

Thus this research will be saddled with the objective analysis of the divergent views and schools of thoughts  on  how the Nigeria’s internal security problems can be better dealt with particularly with regards to the creation of State Police, is it to be or not to be? .



For the sole purpose of clarification, it is quite needful to define the main terms in the stated research topic. These terms are mainly contemporary,  internal security, Quagmire and state policing.

Thus, the Cambridge Dictionary offers a very terse definition of the word ‘contemporary’, this simply connotes a phenomenon that is ‘existing or happening now’. Llikewise, the term is simply defined by the Merriam Webster’s dictionary as something that is ‘relatively recent’.  Hence, for the primary purpose of this research study, the scope of the contemporary internal security problems to be well examined are those endemic in the country from the year 2011 till date.

The concept of internal security particularly for the purpose of this research has been defined  as the act of keeping peace within the borders of a sovereign state or other self-governing territories generally by upholding the national law and defending against internal security threats. Also, according to McGrew (1988), the  security  of  a nation  is  predicated  on  two central  pillars  viz;  the  maintenance  and  protection  of  the socio-economic  order in  the face  of internal  and external  threat on one hand  and the promotion  of  a  preferred international order, which  minimises  the threat to core  values  and interests, as  well as  to the  domestic  order on  the other  hand. The main responsibility for internal security may range from police to paramilitary forces, and in exceptional circumstances, the military itself.  Quagmire, as another pertinent concept of interest is simply defined by the Collins Dictionary is a difficult, complicated, or unpleasant situation which is not easy to or escape from.

The concept, “State Police” is another germane one to be conceptually clarified. However, before this is done, it is quite imperative to firstly briefly clarify what the term  ‘Police’ means. Hence, The  word  “police”  is  related  to  the  Greek  word,  “politeuein”,  which  means  to  be  a  citizen  or  engage  in political  activity,  and  polis,  which  means  a  city  or  state  (Roberg,  Crank  and  Kuykendall,  2000).  Police  in  this sense  carry  out  the  functions  of  law  enforcement,  maintenance  of  order  and  gathering  of  information.  Thus,  the police  are  the  major  representatives  of  the  legal  system  in  their  transactions  with  citizens.  They  are  also  the major  emergency  arm  of  the  community  in  times  of  personal  and  public  crisis.  In  carrying  out  their  mandate,  the police  possess  a  vital  monopoly  on  the  legitimate  use  of  force.  It is imperative to as well tersely explicate the term ‘Policing’ which according  to  Alemika  (1995), involves  coercive  and/or  ideological regimentation  of  social  life  through  the  activities  of  police  and  sundry  state  intelligence  and security  forces,  and  through  other  measures  aimed  at  deducting  and  suppressing behaviours,  actions,  and  orientations  that  threatens  the  prevailing  social  order.

Having stated the above, according to  the  Committee  of  the  American  Institute  of  Criminal  Law  and  Criminology,  State  Police is regarded as  a  “specially  organized  and  highly  trained  body,  acting  under  state  rather  than  local or federal   authority,  and  constantly employed  in  the  prevention  of  crime,  the  apprehension  of  criminals,  and  the  protection  of  life  and  property generally  throughout  the  state  and  especially  in  the  rural  and  sparsely  settled  districts”  (Corcoran,  1924:544). In addition, this concept  is as well aptly defined as a type of sub-national territorial police force found in nations organized as federating. These forces typically have jurisdiciton over the relevant sub-national jurisdiction and may cooperate in law enforcement activities with municipal or national police where either exist. Aremu  (2014:33)  further describes  state  policing  as  “territorial  policing”. It  is  a  subnational  form  of  policing  in  which  there  is  devolution  of  security  operations  in  the  hands  of  the  federating  states of  regions.  State  policing  operationally  is  when  policing  and  all  its  operations  and  logistics  are  controlled  by other  governments  other  than  the  national  or  federal  government”.



In the bid to adequately address and analyze the stated research topic, the following questions have been designed:

  1. What factors have necessitated the recent debates and advocacy for state policing in Nigeria?
  2. Is Nigeria as a country truly ready for the effective implementation of State Police?

iii.        To what extent can State Police curtail the ever increasing rate of security problems in the country?

  1. What will be possible challenges of state police starting from the legislative process of its enactment and when eventually implemented.


The following aims and objectives of this research is to sufficiently address and answer the aforementioned research questions:

  1. To bring to fore the detailed factors that have necessitated

the recent debates and advocacy for state police in Nigeria.

  1. To interrogate the actual readiness of the country to

effectively put state police system in place.

iii.       To evaluate the efficacy  of state police as the concrete

solution to the nation’s host of security challenges.

  1. To predict attendant challenges and flaws of the system

should it gets implemented.



This particular research topic does not address outrightly new issues. However, while lots of studies have mainly been conducted on the examination of the numerous aspects of Nigeria’s insecurity problems as well recommending new reforms to strengthen the present Federal Police System.  Some other similar studies have been based on the introduction of state policing as a means to bolster the Nigerian federalism.

This particular research is utilizing a rather quite new perspective such that, the  advocacy for state policing is to be analysed. Also, to deeply critique facts and data in order to substantially ascertain whether State Police truly has the capacity of being the so much needed solution to our internal security problems. More  importantly, to find out if Nigeria as a country is truly ready to effectively implement the State Police  measure particularly  in the face of present state of things and realities in the nation.


In order to substantially meet the research objectives as well as provide valid and reliable answers to the selected research questions, a qualitative research method has been deemed suitable. However, due to availability of limited resources and time, relevant data and information needed for this study will be derived from secondary data sources. This will essentially involve the use of germane information, educated opinions of stakeholders, concerned individuals and entities expressed via credible journals, archives, books, publications, peer reviewed articles, seminar papers, conferences and so on. The study also relies on document and content analysis as the method of data analysis.


Just as the concept of ‘contemporary’ connotes, something that is relatively recent, the basic periodic scope of the insecurity quagmire in the country as stated in this research spans from year 2014 to the present year. This period have been chosen for the purpose specificity and relevance as the country has experienced two different led administrations. More so, the call for State Police in Nigeria was best brought to the fore at the 2014 National Conference organized by the Jonathan led administration. Since then, there has been an increasing rate in which this measure been advocated for by those who believe in its efficacy as  internal security problems keep being on the increase on daily basis. Also, the topic is rightly focusing on these problems on a national scale. Hence, various security challenges to be appraised in this research work is that which affect several parts of the country. Mores so, the advocacy to enforce state policing in all states of the federation is regarded as the panacea to these problems in some  quarters in the country.


Chapter one essentially focuses on the introduction of the study, statement of the problem, clarification of concepts, research questions, objectives, significance, methodology, scope of the study and summary on the outline  chapters.

Chapter two entails the  review  of  related  literatures  available  on various aspects of the study as well theoretical framework  which  makes the study more scientific and further substantiates the topic. Relevant theories analysed were the Relative Deprivation Theory, Social Conflict and Social Contract Theory.

Chapter three presents the historical basis of the advocacy of state policing. It also covers the history, development, structure and inadequacies of the centralized Nigeria Police Force.

Chapter four centres on the content analysis of secondary data gathered. Essentially, it encapsulates the assessment of the workability of state police in Nigeria and the country’s readiness to adopt it, particularly at this point.

Chapter five wraps up the study by providing the brief summary of the entire research, conclusions made and recommendations given to all stakeholders.


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