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Security Agents Public Perception in Nigeria: A Study on the Police and the Vigilante (Neighborhood Watch).

Byline: Aluko Opeyemi Idowu


States are saddled with the responsibility of protecting the citizenry from internal insurrection and external aggression. Formal policing sector is perceived as the most appropriate security forces to mitigate civil crises within the community. In the recent times the use of the police is been joggled with the vigilante in most developing democracies. The vigilantes are seen as more effective in curbing immediate crime and deterring future crimes than the conventional police. The objective of this paper is to determine the extent of public trust for the security (police and vigilante) agents in Nigeria. The theoretical framework of Chaos theory and Tyre burning model are adopted to analyze crime while the data from Afrobarometer database and researchers' fieldwork are analyzed to see the perception of Nigerians on security and safety of their community. Policy recommendations of co-security options with basic legislation to reduce the unprofessional-ism of the security sectors are proffer.

Key words: Chaos Theory, Crime, Police, Security, Tyre Burning Model, Vigilante


Every society is facing one form crime with different magnitude. The responsibilities lie on the leaders of the state to create ways to curb this ugly menace. The citizens in most cases depends on the state security mechanism so as to survive without abridge to their fundamental human rights. The state is therefore saddled with the responsibility of protecting the citizenry from internal insurrection and external aggressions. The formal policing sectors are seen as the most appropriate security forces to mitigate civil crises within the community while the military are mostly used for more sophisticated and urbane civil cases and in most external aggressions. In the recent times the use of the police is been joggled with the neo civilian-police in most developing democracies of the world and few developed ones. The informal police-vigilantes are seen as more effective in curbing immediate crime and deterring future crimes than the conventional formal state police sector.

The growing concern about the cases of crime and related menaces which usually involve the use of weapons by these the criminal syndicates who are performing the criminal activities in various communities in Nigeria makes the war against crime difficult to overcome. It is of importance to note that these criminal indulged personalities are either immediate member of the community of their targets or an informant is within which gives the map of his own community or neighbourhood to his fellow compatriots-thieves without. The law enforcement agencies most especially the police, the State Secret Service personnel among others have tried different efforts to curb and checkmate these menaces in their respective neighbourhoods. Such measures include patrolling, investigation, random and specific arrests of lurking or spurious looking person or the group of persons.

However, little success had been recorded with these strategies because these criminal elements keep changing strategies and or collaborating with the bad eggs among the police force. In the year 2010, however, ninety five percent (95%) of Nigerians held the view that some members of the Nigeria Police Force are involved in corruption. Out of this figure, sixty six percent (66%) saw all police personnel as involved in corruption (Afrobarometer, 2010). Also, ninety two percent (92%) of the people perceived some corruption among judges and magistrates (Afrobarometer, 2010). Fifty eight percent (58%) of the people expressed no trust at all for the police.

Nevertheless about fifty eight percent (58.3%) of Nigerians reported feeling safer in 2000 than they did five years prior, while roughly forty percent (40%) of people knew someone who had been a victim of crime within the previous two years (IFES, 2007). The records are relatively constant for the year 2015 as well. (Afrobarometer, 2015)

This study opined that the public acceptability of the police and other state specialized security agents in Nigeria had reduced drastically therefore most communities had resulted in the alternative to state security which is the informal policing also known as vigilante. These groups as noted by Etannibi and Chukwuma (2000) is that they work in a variety of ways sometimes they work hand-in-hand with the official police and sometimes they work as a separate entity to confront local crime and insecurity problems. However, there still remains inadequate evidence on these issues and still less evidence about whether the community still trust the police force or not? The informal police-vigilantes are seen as more effective in curbing immediate crime and deterring future crimes than the conventional police.

The vigilante notwithstanding had been accused of some excesses extra judicial actions against the community in some cases. The objective of this paper is to determine the public trust and support for the security (police and vigilante) personnel in Nigeria. The research question is what extent do the people support and trust the security personnel operating in their neighbourhoods? Other questions asked include to what extent do the people fear crime? To what extent do the people perceive police as corrupt or satisfied with the vigilante security groups? Also from most indications, it is noticed that any community where vigilantes secures do witness a reduced or zero crime rate but at the withdrawal of the same due to any reason what so ever, criminal elements do resurface almost immediately and in most cases, the withdrawn vigilante groups are usually the chief culprits or suspects.

There are various theories that are applicable for this work such as Chaos Theory, Tyre Burning Model, Broken Windows Theory, Weak State Hypothesis and System Theory, among others. But for the purpose of this paper, the Chaos Theory, Tyre Burning Model will be used because it explains in a much better way how and why crime ensue in the community and the impending dangers inherent in it. This paper adopt qualitative research methods which analyses data from Afrobarometer database from round one to six (1999-2015) and the year 2014 researchers' fieldwork updated in 2016 to see the perception of Nigerians on extent of trust the community have on the security (police and vigilante) personnel operating in their community. The objective of this paper is to determine the public trust and support for the security (police and vigilante) personnel in Nigeria.

The research question is what extent do the people support and trust the security personnel operating in their neighbourhoods? This paper focuses on Nigeria as a basic snowball to other developing economies and democracies across the world. Therefore this paper concludes by proffering policy recommendations of co-security options with basic legislations of constant training and retraining so as to reduce the unprofessionalism of the vigilantes. Also proffer to governments at various levels is the recommendation that there should be a continuous upgrading of the community police to the changing challenges and dimensions of crimes in the various communities.

Conceptual Clarification

The concepts to be clarified in this paper are the concept of Crime, formal policing, informal policing - vigilante. Crime in most literature simply portrays itself as amorphous, fluidic and amoeboid in most social science perspectives. However, there are different angles to it; legally, crimes usually are defined as acts or omissions forbidden by law that can be punished by imprisonment and or fine. Murder, robbery, burglary, rape, drunken driving, child neglect, and failure to pay your taxes all are common examples. (Widom C. 1992)

The behavioural definition of crime focuses on criminality, which is a certain personality profile that causes the most alarming sorts of crimes in the world. All criminal behaviours involve the use of force, fraud, or stealth to obtain material or symbolic resources. As Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) noted, criminality is a style of strategic behaviour characterized by self centeredness, indifference to the suffering and needs of others, and low self-control.

However, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) as other several criminologists recently have noted, the key to understanding crime is to focus on fundamental attributes of all criminal behaviours rather than on specific criminal acts. Instead of trying to separately understand crimes such as homicide, robbery, rape, burglary, embezzlement, and heroin use, we need to identify what it is they all have in common. This implies that what might be refers to as crime in some sense is not an actual crime in another sense. In this paper, crime is conceived as those actions and or behaviours that negate the laws of the land and infringe on the fundamental human rights of other people.

In other to bring orderliness tot the polity, it is expedient to remark on the importance of security to the world which is captured in the words of Kofi A. (2005);

...we will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights. Unless all these causes are advanced, none will succeed.

Kofi Annan (2005) United Nations Secretary General

Therefore formal policing as the name implies is perceived by Etannibi, Alemika, and Innocent (2009) and Inyang and Ubong (2013) as government-owned or statutorily approved agencies in charge of security. By this provision, no other security agency is allowed to be established by the Federation or any of the component parts. This inevitably imposes the statutorily responsibility of detection and prevention of crime, apprehending and prosecution of offenders, protection of lives and property of citizens, enforcement and maintenance of laws and order solely on the formal police force.

In the same vein, formal policing are solely empowered by the state that is for the maintenance of order and stability, the prevention and response to criminal activity, and the use of coercion to achieve their missions. This view of sole empowerment is a notion of constitutionally oriented where the formal police derived their authority. To sum up what formal police is conceived to be from the forgoing analysis, is the security sector of the community that are vested with state power to enforce civil obedience in the community and to punish disobedient community member.

Informal policing in few cases are interchanged or replaced with community policing in some literatures. In this work also, both mean the same thing but exist in different forms. Informal policing is seen as emerging philosophy of multi agency and community collaboration with the formal police force for effective crime control. In the words of the Inspector General of Police Onovo O. (2010);

Faced with this more sophisticated and enterprising criminal threat, our emerging policing philosophy 'Community Policing' recognizes that the police alone do not have the necessary proactive or reactive capability and capacity to meet the challenge. Thus multi-agency and community collaboration through partnerships become imperative. In particular, countering serious crimes requires collaboration for those functions where there is an operational and business imperative for joint decisions."

Inspector General of Police Ogbanna Onovo (2010)

Vigilantes was the name given to self-appointed law enforcement groups which appeared occasionally in older communities where law officers and courts were non-existent, inefficient or corrupt, where municipal institutions were disorganized, or where established authorities seemed unable to cope with lawlessness and disorder. The word "vigilante" which is a form of informal policing for instance is of different origins. For instance in Western Nigeria, it is called 'wole-wole' - 'house-watchman'. In spain origin it means "watchman" or "guard", but its Latin root is vigil, which means, "awake" or "observant". When it is said that someone is taking the law into their own hands, this means that they are engaging in vigilante activity, or vigilantism. (

However, scholars have noted three main characteristics which regarded as important in the conceptualization and understanding of informal policing (vigilantism) which include:

The act of severe violence including serious assault and murder of alleged criminals, the Punishment that often exceeds the crime allegedly committed and is meted out in the absence of any form of evidence and engaging in illegal acts such as kidnappings, 'crimen injuria', jambokking, and malicious damage to property, theft, robbery and sabotage. (Rodgers D. 2007, Etannibi et al., 2009)

Yet, non-state policing, type of informal security provision, is a valuable asset for advancing safety and security among the poor, especially since poor communities tend to be excluded from formal security provision. In fact when it comes to security, African citizens have a range of alternatives and actors (state and non-state, legal and illegal) that they must navigate in order to secure their everyday protection.

It is expedient to mention that the Human Rights Watch (2009) noted that besides classical vigilante group, there exist other actors who are involved in vigilantism militias, drug gangs and death squads. However, the boundary drawn between these categories is often blurred, as most non-state groups transform from one type to another and or fulfill criteria of different ideal types at the same time. While drug gangs are often involved in vigilante activities, militias and death squads tend to enforce their rule through lethal violence and get entangled in drug trafficking and in other illegal businesses themselves.

To juxtapose the various notions of informal policing, community policing, vigilantes, private armies, private policing whichever name it wants to take means a special watch which is personal and informal, not in the law of the country as oppose to the formal police force but in vogue for obvious reasons of high crime and insecurity rate in the state coupled with negligence of duties or incompetence in terms of training, equipments and welfare of the formal police force.

Theoretical Framework

Chaos theory and Tyre Burning Model

Chaos theory goes back at least as far as the late nineteenth century. Meteorologist Edward Lorenz, in an effort to increase the level of predictability of complex weather phenomena, initially described chaos as an inherent property of systems. Lorenz (1963) found that a very minor modification in weather models led to unanticipated, wildly fluctuating, and seemingly contradictory outcomes. More recently, chaos theory (CT), along with related work in the complexity sciences, catastrophe theory, and non-linear dynamic system theory, is applied broadly to the social sciences, including psychology, economics, sociology, decision-making, political science, medicine, criticism, urban development, organizational studies, and crisis communication and management.

The term chaos introduces jarring connotations into a public relations context, implying crisis, disunity, loss of control. Despite these negative connotations, however, the relatively new field of chaos theory may help to establish some coherence within public relations situations whose salient feature is the unmanageability of public perceptions. A complex brew including physics, topology, and systems theory, chaos theory developed in the natural sciences during the 1970s, and the social sciences during the 1980s. Recent applications include epidemiology, ecology, geography, economics, and social organization (Richard Lucking 1991). In fact, chaos theory appears relevant to such a broad array of disciplines that some view it as a scientific version of postmodern-ism; a scientific metaphor for late-20thcentury cultural values of relativism, plurality, and chance (Steven Best 1991; Katherine Hayles 1990).

A good thing about a chaotic society is that a chaotic system can gyrate from order to chaos and back again. When the system becomes increasingly unstable, an attractor draws the stress and the system splits and returns to order. This process is called bifurcation. Bifurcation results in new possibilities that keep the system alive and random. A basic principle that adequately describes chaos theory is the Butterfly Effect. The Butterfly Effect was vaguely understood centuries ago and is still satisfactorily portrayed in folklore: For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost; For want of a rider, the battle was lost; for want of a battle, the kingdom was lost. Small variations in initial conditions result in huge, dynamic transformations in concluding events. That is to say that there was no nail and, therefore, the kingdom was lost.

A butterfly flapping its wings in Beijing could cause heavy rainfall, instead of sunshine, in New York. Two paper boats placed exactly next to each other on a river could follow two completely different routes and end up in two completely different places.

This expresses the unpredictability of little crime neglected in the society which become a great crime in the community. Also the crime that was successfully curbed in a community might be a great menace in another community. Therefore the tyre burning model expresses the state of crime in the community that leaves the marks of vandalism, theft, robbery, murder and tyre burning in the community. Violence and crime is a day to day affair which transcends human reasoning at times. The beginning of violence is always known which is usually simple and most times it is peaceful-protests against an object of aggression, peaceful-chaos, hypertensive-happiness, and peaceful unrest. The process of its metamorphosis is usually complicated and rapid in outlook. Usually unseen cold hands trigger some enunciations which change the psychology of the peaceful demonstrators to a chaotic scenario.

The tyre burning model further eulogise crime-violence incident as a scenario where the commuters got invoked by perceived negligence of the government and law enforcement agencies. They get themselves together and move in cluster chanting offensively and agitating peacefully at the initial stage but suddenly get infuriated by either law enforcement interception, psychological over-stimulation and or a planned work of the protesters. Suddenly the ply cards and banners turn to sticks and stones and the hallmark of the protest and violence is burning and destruction of properties such as cars, shops, motorcycles, houses and even human life. The final signature to be left on the major roads and pedestrian pathway after the end of the violence is carbons of incombustible tyres which are the remains of the burnt tyres. Tyre burning is the hallmark of violent protest in a community which simply indicates a breach in law and order that the state security agencies could not nip to the bud before it onslaught.

Tale of Vigilante Groups in Nigeria

There are several accounts of vigilantes across the communities in Nigeria. Some accounts of vigilantism have accordingly suggested that vigilante groups are informed by indigenous notions of security and justice which are popularly legitimate but not recognized by the state. Baker (2008) and HRW/CLEEN (2002) for instance, claimed that vigilante groups are based upon ndi nche that is self-defence organizations - designed for community protection in decentralized Igbo societies - which operated in every Igbo society of Nigeria for centuries.

There are two groups that stand out in extreme activities of all the vigilante groups that operate in Nigeria. These are Odua'a Peoples' Congress (OPC), which dominate the south western part of Nigeria and the Bakassi Boys, active in the eastern part of the country others include; Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Arewa People's Congress (APC), and a flurry of shadowy groups in the Niger Delta such as Niger Delta Peoples Volunteers Force (NDPVF), the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) among others.

The OPC had a different route to vigilantism. Kayode Ogundamisi, the OPC National Secretary, remarked that the OPC came into existence as a platform to champion Yoruba interests, promote Yoruba cultural values, Yoruba heritage and to champion the campaign for an emergence of either an autonomous south western region in a friendly Nigeria or an independent Oduduwa republic out of an unfriendly Nigeria. The emergence of the OPC became a necessity considering first the many years of deprivation and outright restriction of political power to regions outside the South western part of Nigeria. Second, the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election alleged to have been won by chief MKO Abiola was another factor that gave impetus to the formulation of the OPC.

The OPC therefore came into existence on the 24th August, 1994 with an immediate agenda of sending the military out of political power by all means necessary and the convocation of a sovereign national conference that would lead to the restructuring of Nigeria.

On why the OPC ventured into crime fighting, Ogundamisi attributed it to the failure of the police to discharge their duties. He further supposed that:

The Nigerian police can be described as a corrupt, ineffective and weak organisation. This is born out of the fact that over the years the police have failed to perform its constitutional and legitimate role of protecting the lives, property of citizens, prevent crimes and prosecute offenders. It is also significant to say that the police force in Nigeria lack adequate manpower, fire power, motivation and will to confront the menace of increasing crime rate in a society with an astronomical increase in unemployment and poverty (LER, 2000: 22-23).

The Bakassi boys on the other hand straddle four states in eastern part of Nigeria like a colossus; trace their history to Aba, a commercial city in the region, which witnessed an explosion of violent crime from 1997-1999. According to eye witness accounts, robbery and extortion by armed gangs were a daily routine and began to affect more than just the population of Aba, as traders from all over the country, who used to go to Aba to transact business in, began to stay away out of fear of crime.

The Bakassi was said to have routed the suspected criminals and gangs that held the city to ransom through unorthodox methods, including amputation, lynching, roasting and torturing them. Their successes and mythical invincibility soon spread to other cities in the region, such as Umuahia, Owerri and Onitsha. It did not take long for the residents of these cities to invite them. Presently, three states in eastern Nigeria have enacted legislation backing the activities of Bakassi Boys. These are the Imo, Anambra and Ebonyi states. The Anambra Vigilance Services Act of 2000 shows the kind of brazen powers of intrusion into people's privacy and restraint on liberty that are given to the group in the region.

Vigilante groups' method of operation in Nigeria often violates international treatises of fundamental human rights that has been ratified by Nigeria and encrypt in its constitution. The Head of Democracy and Governance Project Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Lagos, Chima Ubani, noted that the vigilantes at first, were popularly seen as civil intervention to check criminal activities in the community but over time, these outfits degenerated and they began to commit so many atrocities against the populace who they should primarily secure, embarking on wholesale and summary execution of people suspected of one crime or another, in essence usurping the functions of not only the police, but also the judiciary in one breath, returning the country to a state of jungle justice or mob justice which were also some of the things we campaigned against during military rule.

A new trend of vigilante in Nigeria is the emergence of civilian vigilante they are also known as the civilian Joint Task Force (Civilian JTF). Since June 2013, operations in Maiduguri have been supported by civilian vigilantes, youths from city neighbourhoods who initially organised themselves into groups to patrol streets in search of Boko Haram. They stormed homes of known, and suspected, members, hacking them to death or manhandling and then handing them over to the military. Armed with machetes, axes, bows and arrows, clubs, swords and daggers, this "Civilian JTF" (CJTF) became instrumental in the anti-insurgent campaign (Crisis Group 2013)

The vigilantes are organised into neighbourhood "sectors" under the super vision of Joint Task force (JTF) sector commands. Their success in helping to drive many insurgents out of Maiduguri and largely stopping Boko Haram killings and bombings in the city, residents said, was accompanied by human rights abuses. In July 2013, Crisis Group interviews in Maiduguri revealed that the JTF spokesman said the military was "guiding and monitoring the activities of these youth groups". As part of this, it gave them ID cards and organised them into units in designated areas (Crisis Group interviews 2013).

Although the vigilantes are volunteers, they have received praise from many quarters of Nigeria. The President Jonathan for instance on 17th July 2013 called the CJTF "new national heroes". The Maiduguri state government pays a stipend to them and the JTF pays for treatment of injuries sustained in encounters with Boko Haram and gives financial assistance to the families of those killed in action. With their assistance, the security situation around Maiduguri has improved significantly. The military the JTF spokesman in Mai-dugur Lt. Colonel Sagir Musa remarked that "We support, we commend, and we appreciate the efforts of the Youth Vigilante Groups called Civilian JTF in Borno state". (Crisis Group interviews 2013).

Research Methodology

This research adopt quantitative data analysis which make use of data both from the Afrobarometer database and the administration of two hundred (200) questionnaire using the technique tool of purposive random sampling with the state capital of Kwara State (Ilorin). Ilorin was selected because of it proxy to both the western, eastern and northern part of Nigeria. The questionnaires were administered and collect for analysis. The sample size of Afrobarometer was 2400 to complement the perception received from the questionnaire administered by self. The Afrobarometer data analysed is from round one to six which is from 1999 to 2014.

The objective of this paper is to determine the public trust and support for the security (police and vigilante) personnel in Nigeria. The research question is what extent do the people support and trust the security personnel operating in their neighbourhoods? In other to give a clearer perspective to this research questions and objective in this paper, the following questions were considered; who is responsible for the security function in the neighbourhood? What is the extent of trust in the security personnel? How difficult is it to obtain help from the police? Are the police corrupt? What is the level of satisfaction with security personnel duties? The use of descriptive statistics is employed as the tool used to present the data obtained in the paper.

Analysis of Data

This section of the paper presents data and analyse it so as to know the perception of the people on the security (police and vigilante) personnel operating in their community. Each question raised analyses the research question and objective of the paper.

1. Who is currently responsible for security function in your neighbourhood?

Table I: Source: researcher's field work 2014

Security###Police###Vigilante###Don't Know###Total



and Security





The table I above as illustrated in the figure I analyses the state of security operatives responsible for each community. It is observed that the police security personnel are the most significant security sector in charge of patrolling and security, arresting criminals and punishing criminals with about fifty one percent (50.9%), fifty nine percent (59.3%) and sixty percent (60.2%) respectively. The vigilante security sector has a fairly significant impact in the community security services for patrolling and security, arresting criminals and punishing criminals with about forty three percent (43.4%), thirty four percent (34%) and thirty six percent (36%) respectively.

2. What is the extent of trust in the security personnel?

Table II: Source: Afrobarometer Data Time Series Round1-6 (2015) Round1-6 (2015)



Not at all###52###58###59###43###53###46

Just a little###18###30###23###29###31###31


A lot###9###1###4###8###4###6

Don't know###0###2###1###3###0###1

From the table II and its graphical illustration in figure II above, it is observed that the trust in the police security operatives in the community is very low. From 1999 to 2006 community members do not trust the police at all with significant percentage of fifty two percent (52%), fifty eight percent (58%) and fifty nine percent (59%) respectively. From 2008 to 2014 the trust fluctuate but still large and significant percent of people forty three percent (43%), fifty three percent (53%) and forty six percent (46%) respectively says they do not trust the police. An explanation to this is a reflection of the period concern. The periods are either on a general election year (1999, 2003 and 2011) or the penultimate year (2006, 2008 and 2014) which shows that more pressures will be exerted on the polity by active politicking going on all around the country.

It is observed that <thirty five percent of Nigerians have just a little trust for the police sector in the polity while <eighteen percent of Nigerian have somewhat trust for the police in the polity. This indicates that the level of trust Nigerians have for the police who are the main security operators in their community is not significant.

3. How difficult is it to obtain help from the police?

Table III - Source: Afrobarometer Data Time Series Round1-6 (2015)


to obtain###2002/2003###2005/2006###2011/2012###2013/2014

help from

the police





Very Easy###2###3###3###6

Never Try###34###29###14###57

From the table III and the figure III above, it is observed that a significant percent says that it is quite difficult (a combination of very difficult and difficult) to obtain help from the police. These include forty seven percent (47%), fifty one percent (51%), fifty nine percent (59%) and twenty three percent for 2002/2003, 2005/2006, 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 years respectively. The percent that have a quite easy help (a combination of easy and very easy) from the police is not significant. These include seventeen percent (17%), eighteen percent (18%), twenty six percent (26%) and twenty percent (20%) for 2002/2003, 2005/2006, 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 years respectively.

However, it is important to note that the percent that had never seeks for help from the police security sector are quite significant. These include thirty four percent (34%), twenty nine percent (29%), fourteen percent (14%) and fifty seven (57%) respectively. The percent increase in 2013/2014 year is quite alarming. This is due to the accumulated poor trust in the police security services in the community and their corresponding response to crime in the neighbourhood.

4. Are the police corrupt?

Table IV: Source: Afrobarometer Data Time Series Round1-6 (2015)




Some of them###24###21###22###20###23

Most of them###34###36###37###47###39

All of them###36###39###34###30###34

Don't know###2###2###4###1###2

The table IV and figure IV above gives answer to the reason why the people have little or no trust for the police. The average of twenty four percent (24%) of the respondent from 2002 to 2014 says that some of the police are corrupt while about seventy percent (70%), seventy five (75%), seventy one percent (71%), seventy seven percent (77%) and seventy three percent (73%) for 2002/2003, 2005/2006, 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 years respectively which are highly significant percent confide that all the police are corrupt (a combination most of them and all of them). A negligible percents of two percent (2%), two percent (2%), four percent (4%), one percent (1%) and two percent (2%) for 2002/2003, 2005/2006, 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 years respectively confide that none of the police is corrupt.

5. What is the level of satisfaction with security personnel duties?

(a) Level of satisfaction with the police performance

Table V: Source: Researcher's Field Work 2014

Security###Not At All###Not Very###Fairly###Very###Total






From the table V and figure V above, the level of satisfaction with the police performance in terms of patrol, arrest and punish offenders are seen as not at all satisfactory to their respective neighbourhood. The level of the significant of this opinion is at sixty six percent (66%), eight two percent (82%) and ninety two (92%) respectively. The level of fairly satisfied with the police performance is of little significance as forty five percent (45%), fifty three percent (53%), and forty nine (49%) confide as regarding to patrols, arrest and punish offenders within the community.

(b) Level of satisfaction with informal police (Vigilante) performance

Table VI: Source: Researcher's Field Work 2014

Security###Not at all###Not very###Fairly###Very###Total






From the table VI and figure VI above, the level of satisfaction with the informal police (vigilante) performance in terms of patrol, arrest and punish offenders are seen as fairly satisfactory to their respective neighbourhood. The level of the significant of this opinion is at sixty three percent (63%), thirty three percent (33%) and thirty three percent (33%) respectively. The level of not at all satisfied with the informal police (vigilante) performance is of little significance as eighteen percent (18%), sixteen percent (16%), and twenty eight (28%) confide as regarding to patrols, arrest and punish offenders within the community.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The security task of every community is primarily the function of the government. However, the community members also have a stake in the securing their environment. The police as state security providers have the legal backing of the state to act on behave of the state in enforcing law and order in the community. This sector have been analysed in this work so as to see the extent which the community members trust them and the extent to which they are satisfied with their performance in terms of patrolling the neighbourhood, securing the community and arrest and persecution of offenders.

The informal police (vigilante) were also examined in this paper to determine the extent of their acceptability in the community and the extent of satisfaction of the community with their inclusion in the neighbourhood security work. The vigilante are seen to have gone bad in some aspect of their security work largely due to low level of professionalism exhibited by some of the members. The informal policing is not in any place replacing the formal policing in the states but to a little extent they are supplementing their efforts in the cranny of the neighbourhoods so as to enforce sanity.

The chaos theory and the tyre burning model used in this paper further point to the state of neglect of details of security issues in the society. These neglects lead to the escalation of crime and insecurity. The extent of insecurity leads to internal insurrections in the state. The formal security sector-police and the informal security sector-vigilante therefore have more duty of paying attention to details of security matters in the community.

In line with the objective of this paper which is to determine the public trust and support for the security (police and vigilante) personnel in Nigeria and the research question which is to determine the extent to which people support and trust the security personnel operating in their neighbourhoods. The research findings and analysis of this paper revealed that Nigerians have little trust in the police security sector while the informal police have a slightly significant trust among the people. It was also revealed that an insignificant number of people seek the police for help within the community while the level of satisfaction derived from the police and the vigilante security sectors were low. All this are the indication of low level security institution development.

However, the following policy statements are recommended to the government and the community members. The government should bring up a legislation that will empower the police service commission to be able to reward deserving police offices and rehabilitate the police officers caught in gross mishap instead of outright dismissal. The reason is that at the incident of dismissal, the syndicate will further in their wrong practices within the community but at this instance without the police uniform. The government should consider the use of digitalized community monitoring devices which will make the work of the police to be easier and the crime monitoring and control will be efficient. This implies that the government will intensify the use of training and retraining of police officers so as to be able to cope with the trend of crime and development in the community.

The government should not give the vigilante groups the full fletch security rights in the community but to continue to maintain their informal role in securing the community. The government should consider monitoring, regulating and training the vigilante groups as an essential security measure. This can be done by creating a special training squad from the police sector or a specialized contracting firm from special intelligent units from the security departments in the formal security providers of the state (police and the army).

The community should see the police and the vigilante as agent of positive change to deter crime and criminal syndicates in the community. Each community association should familiarize themselves with the police division assign to patrol, secure and arresting of crimes in their neighbourhood. This will enable the community members to be able to give relevant security information to the security personnel and the security personnel will be able to give the latest security information back to the community. The community should not employ the vigilante groups that are not from the specially trained community vigilantes by the government. Also they should know the security vigilantes in detail so as to curtail any mishap in their practices.


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Author:Idowu, Aluko Opeyemi
Publication:Journal of Political Studies
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Dec 31, 2016
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