1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Nigeria Police is one of the most fundamental government bodies endowed with the rights and responsibilities of protecting the people and maintaining peace and order. The rights and responsibilities of the police are the duties aligned with the state’s primary responsibilities of guaranteeing peace, safety, and security of the people in the society. Reiner (1993) states that police are special carriers of state’s bedrock power, and are the agents with authority for legitimate use of force for maintaining public and private goods and services. In this regard, the police defend the character of the state as a capable political organization, protecting and preserving the interests of the entire society. When police abandon their legitimate endowment, the society is vulnerable to insecurity, crimes, brutality and various vices.
The long neglect suffered by the Nigeria Police from both military and civilian governments has led them to seek other illegitimate means of meeting societal institutionalized goals. When opportunities are closed to reach the societal approved goals, actors may likely seek other alternative means no matter how illegitimate. This structural defect with the frustrating ignoble treatment by successive regimes has constantly led to smearing and denigration of the police in Nigeria. The Nigeria police have performed creditably well on missions outside the shores of Nigeria, but their performance at home has been unexciting and excruciatingly unethical, probably because of the unfriendly and unwholesome environment in which they work. This has invariably led to being seen as corrupt, inept and unproductive by the public. The apparent public normative hatred against the police is deeply rooted in colonialism. They were used mainly to contain or suppress the „natives‟ who were against colonial exploitation, hence the hostility between the public and the police has been endemic. The absence of harmony and the deep rooted mistrust between the two continued even till date. The public has never seen the police as friends but as enemies that should be avoided or destroyed as occasion warrants. In fact so many people learnt very early to hate the police and see them as enemy.
Undoubtedly, Nigeria is currently bedeviled by myriads of worrisome challenges. The most recurring of these are bribery and corruption, unemployment, poverty and insecurity. Since independence in 1960, Nigeria has not experienced the nature and magnitude of insecurity she is enmeshed in, since her return to democratic form of governance in 1999. The return of democracy has witnessed an upsurge in violent crimes because of the withdrawal of the military personnel from security duties within the states (Ihekire 2014). Obviously, the level of violent crimes, such as militancy, armed-robbery, ritual killings, child and women trafficking, rape, politically motivated killings, ethno-religious rivalry, on one hand, and non-violent crimes, such as prostitution, bribery and corruption, public disorder, gambling and so on, on the other hand, appear to have defiled all known criminal justice system solution. The Boko Haram terrorism has further aggravated already the tensed security situation in Nigeria.
The need for assessment is particularly crucial in a developing country like Nigeria where we have new but simultaneously burgeoning social problems whose nature, patterns, and management demand new strategies; where instrumentalities and personnel concerned with these problems are relatively new and inexperienced; where a myriad of needs competes for very scarce resources with myriad of problems and where there is no long standing concern for research and professional competence to guide policy(Igbinovia, 1982; Karimu, 1999).