Nigeria Police Force

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The Nigeria Police
Abbreviation NPF
Nigeria Police logo
Motto The police are your friends
Agency overview
Formed 1930
Preceding agencies
  • Northern Nigeria Police (NNP)
  • Southern Nigeria Police (SNP)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency Nigeria
Nigeria sm02.gif
Size 923,768 km2
Population 174.2 million[1]
Governing body Nigeria Police Council
Constituting instruments
  • Section 194 of the 1979 constitution
  • Nigeria Police Acts
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Louis Edet House, Abuja
Sworn members 371,800 officers [2]
Agency executive IGP Solomon Arase (Substantive), Inspector-General of Police
The Nigeria Police is the primary police serving Nigeria.

The Nigeria Police (NPF) is the principal law enforcement agency in Nigeria [3] with a staff strength of about 371,800. There are currently plans to increase the force to 650,000, adding 280,000 new recruits to the existing 370,000. The NPF is a very large organization consisting of 36 commands grouped into 12 zones and 7 administrative organs.[4] The agency is currently headed by IGP Solomon Arase in acting capacity.[5]


Nigeria's police began with a thirty-member consular guard formed in Lagos Colony in 1861. In 1879 a 1,200-member armed paramilitary Hausa Constabulary was formed. In 1896 the Lagos Police was established. A similar force, the Niger Coast Constabulary, was formed in Calabar in 1894 under the newly proclaimed Niger Coast Protectorate. In the north, the Royal Niger Company set up the Royal Niger Company Constabulary in 1888 with headquarters at Lokoja. When the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were proclaimed in the early 1900s, part of the Royal Niger Company Constabulary became the Northern Nigeria Police, and part of the Niger Coast Constabulary became the Southern Nigeria Police. Northern and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated in 1914, but their police forces were not merged until 1930, forming the NPF, headquartered in Lagos. During the colonial period, most police were associated with local governments (native authorities). In the 1960s, under the First Republic, these forces were first regionalised and then nationalised.

The NPF performed conventional police functions and was responsible for internal security generally; for supporting the prison, immigration, and customs services; and for performing military duties within or outside Nigeria as directed. Plans were announced in mid-1980 to expand the force to 200,000. By 1983, according to the federal budget, the strength of the NPF was almost 152,000, but other sources estimated it to be between 20,000 and 80,000. Reportedly, there were more than 1,300 police stations nationwide. Police officers were not usually armed but were issued weapons when required for specific missions or circumstances. They were often deployed throughout the country, but in 1989 Babangida announced that a larger number of officers would be posted to their native areas to facilitate police- community relations.


The Nigeria Police (NPF) is designated by Section 194 of the 1979 constitution as the national police of Nigeria with exclusive jurisdiction throughout the country. Constitutional provision also exists, however, for the establishment of separate NPF branches "forming part of the armed forces of the Federation or for their protection of harbours, waterways, railways and airfields." One such branch, the Port Security Police, was reported by different sources to have a strength in 1990 of between 1,500 and 12,000.


The NPF maintains a three-tier administrative structure of departments, zonal and state commands.


Title Departments Responsibilities
Department of Finance and Administration Finance and Administration General administration and Finance
Department of Operations Operations Crime prevention, Public Order, Public Safety
Department of Logistics and Supply Logistics and Supply Works and Police Estate Management
Department of Criminal Investigation Force Criminal Investigation Department (FORCID) Investigation
Department of Training and Development Training Human resources
Department of Research and Planning Planning, Research and Development Statistics and Data
Department of Information Technology Information and communication technology Communication management

The NPF was under the general operational and administrative control of an Inspector General (IGP) appointed by the president and responsible for the maintenance of law and order. He was supported at headquarters in Lagos by a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and in each state by police commissioners. The 1979 constitution provided for a Police Service Commission that was responsible for NPF policy, organization, administration, and finance (except for pensions), In February 1989, Babangida abolished the Police Service Commission and established the Nigeria Police Council in its stead, under direct presidential control. The new council was chaired by the president; the chief of General Staff, the minister of internal affairs, and the police inspector general were members. As part of the government reorganization in September 1990, Alhajji Sumaila Gwarzo, formerly SSS director, was named to the new post of minister of state, police affairs.

In late 1986, the NPF was reorganized nationwide into seven area commands, which superseded a command structure corresponding to each of the States of Nigeria. Each command was under a commissioner of police and was further divided into police provinces and divisions under local officers. NPF headquarters, which was also an area command, supervised and coordinated the other area commands. Later these Area Commands were grouped under Zone Commands as follows:

Zone 1, Headquartered Kano, with Kano, Kastina, and Jigaw Commands

Zone 2, Headquartered Lagos, with Lagos, and Ogun Commands

Zone 3, Headquartered Yola, with Adamawa, and Gombe Commands

The 1986 NPF reorganization was occasioned by a public eruption of tensions between the police and the army. A superintendent was suspended for a time for grumbling that the army had usurped police functions and kept police pay low, and there were fights between police and army officers over border patrol jurisdiction. The armed forces chief of staff announced a thorough reorganization of the NPF into the seven new area commands and five directorates (criminal investigations, logistics, supplies, training, and operations) under deputy inspectors general. About 2,000 constables and 400 senior police officers were dismissed by mid-1987, leaving senior police officers disgruntled.

In mid-1989 another NPF reorganization was announced after the AFRC's acceptance of a report by Rear Admiral Murtala Nyako. In 1989 the NPF also created a Quick Intervention Force in each state, separate from the mobile police units, specifically to monitor political events and to quell unrest during the transition to civil rule. Each state unit of between 160 and 400 police was commanded by an assistant superintendent and equipped with vehicles, communications gear, weapons, and crowd control equipment, including cane shields, batons, and tear gas.

A Federal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau (FIIB) was to be set up as the successor to the Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation; three directorates were established for operations, administration, and logistics, each headed by a deputy inspector general.

The Directorate of Operations was subdivided into four units under a deputy director—operations, training, communications, and the Mobile Police.

The Directorate of Administration was composed of an administration unit headed by an assistant inspector general (AIG), and of budget and personnel units under commissioners.

The Directorate of Logistics had four units—procurement, workshop/transport, supply, and work/maintenance—under AIGs. The zonal arrangements were retained. However, AIGs were authorized to transfer officers up to the rank of chief superintendent, to set up provost units, to deploy mobile units, and to promote officers between the ranks of sergeant and inspector.

The above three Directorates were renamed Departments

Department of Criminal Investigation

D Department[6] The Department Criminal Investigation (DCI) is the highest criminal investigation arm of the Nigeria Police NPF. The Department is headed by a Deputy Inspector-General (DIG), currently DIG Solomon Arase. Its primary functions include investigation and prosecution of serious and complex criminal cases within and outside the Country. The Department also coordinates crime investigations throughout the NPF. The DCI is divided into sections, with most of them headed by Commissioners of Police (CPs). The Sections are:

  • i. Administration
  • ii. Anti-Fraud Section
  • iii. The Central Criminal Registry (CCR)
  • iv. Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)
  • v. X-Squad
  • vi. General Investigation
  • vii. Special Fraud Unit (SFU)
  • viii. Legal Section
  • ix. Forensic Science Laboratory
  • x. Interpol Liaison
  • xi. Homicide
  • xii. Anti-Human Trafficking Unit
  • xiii. Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB)
  • xiv. DCI Kaduna Annex

Police Mobile Force

The Police Mobile Force was established as a strike or Anti-riot unit under the control of the Inspector-General of Police to counter incidents of civil disturbance. It is designated to take over operations of major crisis where conventional police units cannot cope.

There are presently 12 MOPOL Commands, MOPOLs 1 thru 12, controlling 52 Police Mobile Squadrons which are spread amongst the 36 State Commands and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Supervision of the Nigeria Police

Three major Governmental Agencies oversee the control and supervision of the Nigerian Police; The Police Service Commission and The Ministry of Police Affairs.

  • The Police Service Commission (PSC)

The PSC is the civilian oversight body on the police. It is responsible for appointment, promotion, and discipline of all police officers except the Inspector General of Police. It shall collaborate, cooperate and work with all the stake holders, namely the police council with the President of Nigeria as Chairman, all the governors of the Federating states of Nigeria, the Minister of Interior, the Chairman, Police Service commission and the Inspector-General of Police as members to turn the police around and enable it to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

  • The Nigeria Police Council (NPC)
  • The Police Service Commission (PSC)

Inspector General of the Nigerian Police

Name Period of office
IGP Louis Edet 1964–1966
IGP Kam Salem 1966–1975
IGP Muhammadu Dikko Yusufu 1975–1979
IGP Adamu Suleiman 1979–1981
IGP Sunday Adewusi 1981–1983
IGP Etim Inyang 1985–1986
IGP Muhammadu Gambo-Jimeta 1986–1990
IGP Aliyu Atta 1990–1993
IGP Ibrahim Coomassie 1993–1999
IGP Musiliu Smith 1999–2002
IGP Mustafa Adebayo Balogun 2002–2005
IGP Sunday Ehindero 2005–2007
IGP Mike Mbama Okiro 2007–2009
IGP Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo 2009-2010
IGP Hafiz Ringim 2010 - Jan 2012
IGP Mohammed Dikko Abubakar 2012 - 2014
IGP Suleiman Abba 2014 - 2015
IGP Solomon Arase Inspector-General of Police


The NPF operating budget between 1984 and 1988 remained in the N360 million to N380 million range, and in 1988 increased to N521 million. More notable were large capital expenditure infusions of N206 million in 1986 and N260.3 million in 1988, representing 3.5 and 2.5 percent of total federal capital expenditures in those years. These increases were used to acquire new communications equipment, transport, and weapons to combat the rising crime wave, such as 100 British Leyland DAF Comet trucks delivered in 1990 Despite these purchases, an NPF study in late 1990 concluded that the force's budget must double to meet its needs.


Although generally considered an attractive career, the NPF experienced endemic problems with recruiting, training, inefficiency, and indiscipline, and it lacked expertise in specialized fields. Corruption and dishonesty were widespread, engendering a low level of public confidence, failure to report crimes, and tendencies to resort to self-help. Police were more adept at paramilitary operations and the exercise of force than at community service functions or crime prevention, detection, and investigation.

During the Obasanjo period, an attempt was made to expand the NPF by reducing the recruitment age from nineteen to seventeen and by enrolling demobilized soldiers, but it failed. In mid-1980 the then federal police minister acknowledged that the police had recovered only 14 percent of the US$900 million worth of property reported stolen in the preceding six months, and that only 20 percent of the 103,000 persons arrested had been found guilty, a performance record about the same as that reported in the 1960s. The use of excessive violence in quelling student disorders led the AFRC in June 1986 to direct the police to use only rubber bullets in containing student riots. Reports of police collusion with criminals were common, as were official appeals to police officers to change their attitude toward the public, to be fair and honest, and to avoid corrupt practices. In an effort to reduce bribery and to make identification of offenders easier, police officers on beats and at checkpoints were not allowed to carry more than N5 on their person.

In September 2005, Nigeria withdrew 120 police officers serving in the UN Congo mission because of accusations that they had engaged in sexual abuses.[7]

The NPF is alleged to follow a policy of "Fire for Fire" in which many captured suspects die in police custody or are "shot while attempting to escape". Decades of police and official corruption and continued failure to train police officers properly has led to a situation where extrajudicial killing is an accepted form of dealing with people the police believe to be criminals. The most recent victim of which is Yusuf Mohamed, the leader of the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria, was alive when captured by the army.[8][9]

Even before the violence surrounding the Boko Haram uprising in northern Nigeria, there were questions over the conduct of the security forces. The government is currently attempting to reform the police. They have produced a White Paper with 79 recommendations for improving the police force, which is due to be considered by the National Assembly and turned into a Police Reform Bill. Key reforms such as: Police officers are paid as little as $40 (£26) a month, this should be raised to $100 for police constables, Deal with the estimated 10,000 officers with criminal records hired between 2001 and 2004, Establish a reliable system for the public to complain about the police, better educated Recruits should attain a certain level of qualification before being considered, job applications should be transparently managed, policemen should not have to buy their own, the police are in dire need of an up-to-date communication network, and the police should be given better investigating tools and the training to use them[10]

2008 statistics

  • 4% decrease in reported crime
  • 36.8% decrease in offenses against Local Acts
  • 18.8% decrease in offenses against Lawful Authority
  • 3.6% decrease in offenses against property
  • 2,433 vehicles stolen, 1,646 recovered
  • 37% decrease in Road Traffic Offenses
  • 66,522,000 Naira (Nigerian Currency) recovered
  • Senior Police Officers: 20,613
  • Investigators: 28,175
  • Rank and File: 263,425

Comparative analysis of Offences for 2008 & 2009'

The data below show the crime statistics spread sheet on offences against Persons, offences against Property, offences against Lawful Authority and offences against Local Acts, 2009 in all the State Commands

Offences against Persons 2008- 35,109 2009- 38,955 (Increase); Offences against Property 2008- 47,626 2009-64, 286 (Increase)
Offences against Authority 2008- 5,938 2009- 7,878 (Increase); Offences against Local Acts 2008- 90,156 2009- 1,378 (Decrease)

An interactive website, the Nigeria Police Watch has made the reporting of crime and chronicling of police activities easier for the Nigerian public through various tools.

D+Z, a magazine focused on development, reports that Freedom Radio, a three-year-old weekly radio programme, is also helping to curb corruption in Kano, Dutse, and Jigawa states by allowing citizens to voice complaints and experiences. It also has a representative from the police force there to address these complaints and talk about new undertakings and normal operations of the police force. Although the number of corruption and human rights violation reports has decreased, it is a good sign because it shows that the programme is effective.[11]


Police training was directed from headquarters by a deputy inspector general designated as commander. Recruits were trained at Police colleges in Oji River, Maiduguri, Kaduna, and Ikeja, which also offered training to other security personnel, such as armed immigration officers. The Police College at Ikeja trained cadet assistant superintendents and cadet subinspectors.

There were also in-service training schools, including the Police Mobile Force Training School at Guzuo, southwest of Abuja, the Police Detective College at Enugu, the Police Dogs Service Training Centre, and the Mounted Training Centre.

In August 1989, Babangida laid the foundation stone for a Nigeria Police Academy (NPA) in Kano State. The NPA was to be affiliated with Bayero University until adequate infrastructure was available for independent operation. Admission was to be regulated by merit, by the quota system, and by federal character. The commandant was to be at least an AIG and assisted by a provost who would oversee the academic program. Modeled after the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna, the NPA would offer a five-year academic and professional degree program for new cadets and an eighteen-month intensive course for college graduates aspiring to a police career. Babangida also disclosed plans to obtain technical assistance from Britain to establish a central planning and training program to modernize and upgrade police training.

2009 Nigeria religious violence

Religious violence resulted in at least 150 deaths in two days after a series of attacks on 26 July 2009 in several Nigerian cities.[12][13] Bauchi in Bauchi State, Maiduguri in Borno State, Potiskum in Yobe State and Wudil have all been attacked. Witnesses now claim over 250 people are dead.[14] Nigeria claims that most of the dead are militants.

The battles began on 26 July when Boko Haram, a militant Islamist organisation, attacked a police station in retaliation for the arrest of its leaders. Police responded with their own retaliation and a curfew fell on the area. The attacks spread and by the next day corpses were located at police stations, people were fleeing their homes and some were being pulled from their cars to be shot dead as police stations burned to the ground.

Nigerian troops then surrounded the home of Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri on 28 July after his followers barricaded themselves inside.

It is the worst sectarian violence the country has experienced since November 2008.[14] It has been suggested that politics, not religion, is the cause of the violence.[15]

See also


  1. (UN, 2008)
  2. June 2007
  3. Interpol
  4. NPF Website
  5. Vanguard Newspaper. "Jonathan sacks IGP Suleiman Abba, appoints DIG Solomon Arase". Retrieved 22 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Departments || Nigeria Police". Retrieved 2015-11-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Nigeria" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Sect leader 'alive when captured'". BBC News. 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2010-05-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Brutal reality of Nigeria killing". BBC News. 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2010-05-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Can Nigeria's police be reformed?". BBC News. 2009-07-30. Retrieved 2010-05-20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "D+C 2011/03 – Focus – Halima/Abubakar: Freedom Radio's police programme is putting pressure on law enforcers in Kano, Nigeria - Development and Cooperation - International Journal". Retrieved 2012-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Nigerian Islamist attacks spread". BBC. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Over 100 dead in Nigerian clashes". RTÉ. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-07-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Nigerian forces shell sect leader's home". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-07-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Politics Vs Religion in Nigeria Attacks". IslamOnline. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-07-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  1.  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.
  2. World Police Encyclopedia, ed. by Dilip K. Das & Michael Palmiotto published by Taylor & Francis. 2004,
  3. World Encyclopedia of Police Forces and Correctional Systems,second edition, Gale., 2006
  4. Sullivan, Larry E. Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2005.

External links

  1. "Directorate of Peacekeeping, Nigeria Police Force". Directorate of Peacekeeping, Nigeria Police Force. Retrieved 2015-11-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>