As a citizen of Nigeria, it is important to know the powers, functions and duties of the Nigerian Police Force. The reason is because, the police is an executive organ of the government. This simply means that they are more closer to the citizens than any other organ of government. Now, since the executive is more closer to the citizens, there is every likelihood that, in performing their legal duties, they will breach the rights of citizens. Coupled with this, it is apparent that the executive is the strongest organ of government in Nigeria.
In light of the above, it is evident that knowing the functions and duties of a police officer in the Nigerian Police Force is not only important. It is in fact, a prerequisite to avoid any breach of fundamental human rights from that particular arm of government. As one of the biggest legal and education blogger in Nigeria, I have been able to list and explain some of the duties of the Nigerian Police Force.
If you have been searching the internet to know the legal powers, functions or duties of the Nigerian Police Force, this is the best article for you. Trust me; this article contains all the legal duties of a police officer according to the police Act. Without wasting much time, lets quickly look at a brief history of the Nigerian Police Force before discussing the duties of the Nigerian Police.
Brief history of the Nigerian Police Force
The police force in Nigeria dates back to colonial era. On the conquest of Lagos by the British Empire, Lagos became a colony of Britain and as such the colonial official in London granted permission to the British consul in charge of Lagos colony to establish a Consular Guard comprising the thirty (30) men in 1861. The formation was under the control of an English inspector of police. Recruits were mainly natives of Hausa land. They were called "Hausa Guard" and "Hausa Constabulary" at different times.
The reason why 1861 Lagos Consular Guard was entirely made up of Hausa natives is not obvious but it seems their usual willingness to serve as professional security guards could account for that.
The Lagos Police Force was commissioned on 1st January, 1896, for the whole of Lagos and suburb. Members of the 1896 police force were kitted like the "Hausa Constabulary". It was commanded by a resident English Commissioner of police who also carried out the duties of a sheriff, Inspector of Weight and Measures and functioned at the same time as the office-in-charge of prisons.
In 1891, the Delta Area declared as the Oil River Protectorate with headquarters in Calabar had an armed Constabulary which was later renamed "Coastal Constabulary". The force in 1896 features prominently in the British expeditions to Benin. They operated only for six (6) years.
In 1886, the Royal Niger Company was granted Royal Charter to operate in the Northern Nigeria, where it set up the Royal Constabulary in 1888 with headquarters in Lokoja to protect its installations along the banks of the River Niger. This unit of the Constabulary played an important role in the British invasion against Bida and Ilorin.
In the south, in 1906, the Lagos Police force and a part of the Niger Coastal Constabulary unit became known as the southern Nigeria Police Force while the other bulk of the Niger Coastal Constabulary unit formed the southern Nigeria Regiment.
Despite the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Nigeria in 1914, both police forces continued to operate separately unit 1st April, 1930, when they were merged to form the Nigerian Police Force with Headquarters in Lagos and Commanded by Commissioner of Police which was the same as the present Inspector General of Police.
Duties of the Nigerian Police Force
Below are the powers and duties of the Nigerian Police:
1. Conduct prosecution;
2. Maintenance of law and order;
3. Make an arrest;
4. Conduct search;
5. Power to grant bail;
6. Power to take finger prints;
There you have a list of the various duties and powers of the Nigerian Police Force. It is pertinent to note that each of the duties mentioned above has been legally recognized in the Police act. As we continue, i will give you a detailed explanation of the duties of the Nigerian Police with relevant case laws and other laws of Nigeria.
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