In this article, Nigerian Guide takes a look at the history of the Nigeria Police Force, its history, ranks and every other information that might be of interest to the general public. The Nigeria Police Force is the primary law enforcement and security agency in Nigeria. It is tasked with maintaining law and order in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and it is under the direct control of the Inspector General of Police.
HISTORY AND ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
The Nigeria Police Force was first birthed in the year 1820 under British colonial rule. In 1879, a Hausa armed paramilitary Constabulary consisting of 1200 members was formed in the Northern part of the country. Thereafter, in the year 1896, the Lagos Police was also formed and a similar Force known then as the Niger Coast Constabulary was established in Calabar in the year 1894 under the newly proclaimed Niger Coast Protectorate of the British Empire.
The Royal Niger Company set up the Royal Niger Company Constabulary in the north in 1888 and when the protectorate of Northern and Southern Nigeria were declared 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. During the colonial period, most police were associated with local governments (native authorities).
In the 1960s, under the First Republic, the various established forces which were known as the police in their various localities were regionalized, after which they became nationalized, effectively bringing all of them together as one for the course of maintaining law and order in the country. In 1914, Great Britain, under the leadership of their representative, Lord Frederick Lugard, who was Governor-General at that time, merged Lagos colony and the southern and northern protectorates and named the new colony Nigeria. The northern and southern regional police forces were later merged, in 1930, to form the colony’s first national police known today as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
Section 214 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution empowers the Nigeria Police Force as the principal law enforcement agency in the country and it states that:
There shall be a Police Force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provision of this section no other Police Force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof.
DUTIES OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
The duties of the Nigeria Police Force include the following:
POWER TO ARREST OFFENDERS
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria empowers the Nigeria Police Force to arrest any offender. Those who break the law are liable to be arrested and brough to book by the NPF. The Nigeria Police Force also works with other related security agencies in the country to carry out this function.
POWER TO PREVENT CRIME OCCURRENCE
The Nigeria Police Force has been empowered to prevent crimes from being committed and they can do this if there are rumors that a crime is about to happen. They can also follow leads in order to prevent any suspected crime from happening. They can carry out this task with the help of military personnel if necessary.
PROTECTION OF LIVES AND PROPERTY
One of the primary duties of the Nigeria Police Force is to protect the lives and properties of the citizens of the country. They are trained in this regard and given the necessary weapons that are used to safeguard the citizens of the country in case of any life threatening issue. They can be seen patrolling an area during the day and night just to make sure that the society is peaceful and is a safe place to live in, with one eye on trying to curb social vices when the need arises. The Nigeria Police Force are also involved crime detection. The is Criminal Investigation Department (CID), is the department in charge of detecting and investigating criminal activities in any part of the country.
POWER TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER
This is the principal function of the Nigeria Police Force. They are the main security outfit in the country responsible for maintaining law and order, and every other duty that they carry out revolves around this particular function of the Nigeria Police Force. They make sure that the citizens of the country obey the rules and regulations s mandated by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
POWER TO INVESTIGATE MATTERS
Another duty of the Nigeria Police Force is the power to investigate matter deemed suspicious. After investigation has been concluded, they are empowered to charge anyone who is found wanting to the court of law. It should be known however that The Nigeria Police Force has no right to prosecute any case.
RANKS OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
The following are the ranks in the Nigeria Police Force stated in their order of hierarchy from the highest rank to the lowest rank in the force. The ranks outlined are:
- Inspector General of Police
- Deputy Inspector General of Police
- Assistant Inspector General of Police
- Commissioner of Police
- Deputy Commissioner of Police
- Assistant Commissioner of Police
- Chief Superintendent of Police
- Superintendent of Police
- Deputy Superintendent of Police
- Assistant Superintendent of Police
- Inspector of Police
- Sergeant Major
ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
There are seven departments which ensure that the Nigeria Police Force is run and overseen effectively and efficiently and these departments include the following:
- A Department – Finance and Administration
- B Department – Operations
- C Department – Logistics and Supply
- D Department – Criminal Investigation
- E Department – Training
- F Department – Research and Planning
- G Department – Information and Communication Technology
ENTRY LEVELS INTO THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE
The following are the various ways by which one can enter into the Nigeria Police Force as a bonafide member. They are:
- Cadet Inspector
- Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police
- Nigeria Police Academy degree programme.