AN OVERVIEW OF POLICING IN DEMOCRACY AND OBSERVANCE OF HUMAN RIGHSTS BY THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE

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ABSTRACT

This thesis entitled: “An Appraisal of the Legal Framework of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria” is aimed at examining the constitutive legal instruments guiding the National Emergency Management Agency in the protection and assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria, through the study of other constitutive International instruments and standards on this subject matter. The justification for this research is the concern for the plight of the displaced persons in the last five years which has been criticized by research experts and international bodies on various grounds such as; the unwillingness of Government to take bold significant measures to address the problems of internal displacement till date, lack of long term strategic planning, implementation and evaluation framework by key Institution and, the prevalence of corruption which to a large extent disrupts humanitarian efforts, among others. However, in the course of this research, the findings of the researcher (among others) revealed that there is no specific National Legal Framework on the Protection and Assistance of displaced persons in Nigeria apart from the general provisions of fundamental human rights provided in the Nigerian Constitution which is a legal right of every citizen. On this note, the objective of this research is to principally address the gaps and inadequacies in our national laws under which the National Emergency Management Agency operates. Thus in the final analysis, the researcher concluded by recommending that apart from the general legal provisions which directly or indirectly touches on the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons,, there should be specific provisions guiding the protection and assistance of the affected population as a legal basis for which the Government and the relevant institution and stakeholders can be held directly accountable for where they do not meet the required standard. There should also be an expansion of the National Emergency Management Agency Act to equip the Agency to go beyond conducting comprehensive disaster management around the country to providing durable solutions for internally displaced persons.

CHAPTER ONE
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
2.0 Introduction
In most countries, it has been accepted that democracy is the only system of government that seeks to protect individual liberty and guarantee the fundamental rights of all. The pursuit of these rights is however not absolute as there exist state institutions like the police whose mandate is to maintain law and order and curtail the citizenry‟s excesses within constitutional means hence:
Police power is the exercise of the sovereign right of government to promote order, safety, health, morals, general welfare within constitutional limits and it is an essential attribute of government.‟
Indeed, the police are the outward civil authority of the power and might of a civilized country. The generality of the public is potentially affected one way or another by their action or inaction What this presupposes is that while democracy allows or guarantees freedom, the police
as an institution policed that freedom and in carrying out this function, they are expected to
operate within existing democratic norms, else the essence of democracy becomes defeated. This
is because the role of police and the existence of these norms remain the standard benchmark in
ascertaining an acceptable democratic system. As a result, most of the policing applications that
are classified as democratic policing practices in an ideal society are designed to ordinarily
promote democratic principles and human rights. In Nigeria however, many dilemma arose
concerning the way and manner the police carry out its statutory responsibilities.
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striking balance of this is the need to respect the inalienable rights of citizens while carrying out
their legitimate duties. These duties ought to be performed within the context of existing rules

duly fashioned and recognized. It is however regrettable that despite more than a decade of
democratic governance, Nigerians are still faced with lots of human rights abuses in the hand of
the police. Contrary to what democracy represents, the police is still largely authoritarian in
nature2. McCulley3 opines that the state of human rights violations by police officials is
becoming a culture of impunity and this includes arbitrary arrest, extra-judicial killings, illegal
detention and destruction of property by security forces etc. The question therefore is how
democratic is the Nigeria Police Force and how well have they imbibe democratic policing
principles? What is their response level with regards to the observance of human rights since
1999? It has been correctly pointed out that the police have not performed well in this regard.

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