New Poll Reveals Nigerians’ Perspective On Curbing Illegal Activities By The Nigeria Police Force
Abuja, Nigeria. May 22ND, 2019 – A public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week commencing May, 6th, 2019 has revealed a high prevalence of illegal police activities as indicated by majority (78 percent) of Nigerians interviewed. This perception may have been influenced by daily interface between the police and the general public across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. 57 percent of the respondents disclosed that they are aware of some police illegal activities in their locality and residents from the South-South zone (68 percent) accounted for the larger proportion of Nigerians in this category.
Interestingly, 83 percent of those who are aware of some police illegal activities mentioned that collection of bribes is one of the most common illegal activity of the Nigerian police personnel. Other police illegal activities cited in the poll include arresting innocent Nigerians (42 percent), intimidating innocent Nigerians (41 percent) and killing of unarmed Nigerians (12 percent) amongst other mentions. This finding is in line with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report which revealed that among public officials, police officers are the ones to whom bribes are most commonly paid in Nigeria.
Opinions on how to curb some of these illegal activities by some Nigerian police personnel were suggested and 31 percent recommended that the government should improve police welfare while, 19 percent advocated for proper recruitment and training processes in the Nigeria Police Force. Also, 18 percent advised that the Nigeria Police Force should be reformed and this is in line with Police Reform Bill passed by the Nigerian Senate in April 2019 which is currently awaiting presidential assent. One of the remarkable aspects of the bill is that it provides internal disciplinary mechanism for any police officer that maltreats or kills an innocent citizen and which corresponds with the position of some Nigerians (18 percent) who recommended prosecution or dismissal of any police personnel found guilty of any misconduct. Considering the daily interaction of the Nigerian police personnel with the general public, it is important that the Nigeria Police Force use the same opportunity in working towards changing these negative perceptions of the public.
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria. Over the years, the Nigerian police has been saddled with the responsibility of securing lives and properties, maintaining law and order and preventing, detecting and investigating criminal activities. Regrettably, public trust and respect for the Nigeria Police Force is at an all-time low having been eroded by corruption, abuse of power and in some instances, a lack of capacity to actually prevent or solve crimes. The NPF rank and file is regularly found guilty of crimes ranging from extortion to rape, murder and now kidnapping.
Nigerians are increasingly losing hope and confidence in the Nigeria Police Force owing to the recent incidents of misconduct and killings by the operatives of the Force. These include battering, shooting of innocent Nigerians, bribery, arrest of innocent Nigerians and unethical behaviors amongst others. For instance, the Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit of the Nigeria Police Force stated that Lagos, Rivers, and the Federal Capital Territory police commands recorded the highest cases of police misconduct. The unit also acknowledged that it received 137 complaints against policemen in Lagos, 89 in Rivers and 82 in Abuja.3
There is need for urgent and far-reaching measures to curb the increasing loss of confidence in the Nigeria Police Force. The recent passage of the Police Reform Bill by the Senate is commendable as the importance of this reform cannot be over emphasized. It is against this background that NOIPolls conducted a poll to gauge the opinion of Nigerians regarding illegal activities by police and suggestions on ways to curb the menace.
The first question sought the opinions of Nigerians on the prevalence of police misconduct and the poll result showed that 78 percent of Nigerians disclosed that the issues of Nigerian police personnel carrying out illegal activities is prevalent. Analysis by geo-political zones showed that the South-South and South-West zones have the largest proportion of Nigerians (89 percent each) who attested to the high rate of illegal activities by the police.
The second question on awareness revealed that almost 6 in 10 Nigerians (57 percent) are aware of some illegal activities by Nigerian police personnel in their locality. This opinion is highest in the Southern region when compared to the Northern region. Also, there are more male (63 percent) than female (53 percent) respondents who are conscious of this misconduct.
Respondents who said they are aware of illegal activities by Nigerian police personnel in their locality were further asked to mention at least three illegal activities of the police that they know of and an overwhelming majority of the respondents (83 percent) mentioned the issue of collecting bribe. This is followed by a far lower proportion (42%) who said arresting innocent Nigerians, while 41 percent cited intimidation of innocent Nigerians. Other mentions include killing unarmed Nigerians (12), creating illegal checkpoints (7percent), demanding sex for bail (6 percent), arresting commercial sex workers (2 percent) and hiring out guns to criminals (2 percent).
Suggestions on how to curb illegal activities of some Nigerian police personnel were mentioned and most Nigerians advocated for the government to improve police welfare (31 percent), while 19 percent advised that stakeholders should ensure proper recruitment and training processes of police personnel. Some mentioned that the Nigerian Police Force should be reformed, others cited prosecution and dismissal of any guilty police personnel (18 percent each). This is in line with the nine police personnel who were dismissed and six others who were demoted as stated by the Nigeria Police Force through its spokesperson, Mr. Ani Ikechukwu on the 9th of April 2019, in Abuja.
In conclusion, findings from the poll is worrisome as it revealed that collection of bribes (83 percent), Arresting innocent Nigerians (42 percent), and intimidating innocent Nigerians (41 percent) are the top three misconducts amongst others as reported by Nigerians who were interviewed. It is important that the Nigeria Police Force aggressively tackle these issues as it will go a long way in restoring the trust and confidence of Nigerians in the Nigeria Police Force. The government should in collaboration with other stakeholder’s workout modalities to improve the welfare of police personnel as recommended by 31 percent of those interviewed. Finally, while the Nigeria Police Force ensure that proper recruitment and training processes are in line with world standards, the Police Service Commission should also ensure that internal discipline in the system is not at all compromised and actively enforced.
The poll was conducted in the week commencing May 6th, 2019. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 4.65%.
NOIPolls Limited, is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com or download our mobile app NOIPolls on your smartphone.
This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.
NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.