Nigeria Police Force

The police force in Nigeria is a national body which falls under the command of the Inspector General of Police. Police officers are deployed in all thirty-six states, each of which is under the control of the Commissioner of Police for that specific state.

The Nigeria Police Force is mandated to:

  • Protect peoples’ lives and property;
  • Prevent, detect and investigate crime; and
  • Prosecute offenders.

The police force is structured into separate departments: investigations, training, works and logistics, operations, administration and finance, as well as planning, research and statistics.

Oversight Mechanisms

The Constitution provides two critical mechanisms of police oversight: the Police Council and the Police Service Commission. The Police Council is composed of the President, Governor of each state, Char of the Police Service Commission, and the Inspector General of Police, and is mandated to provide general supervision of the police, to oversee its organisation and administration, and to advise the President on the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police. The Police Service Commission is composed of a Chairperson and seven to nine members of the community, including a retired judge, senior police officer and representatives from the chamber of industry and commerce, media, women and human rights organisations, and is mandated to exercise disciplinary control over the police, which includes the power to dismiss police officials.

In addition to the Police Council and Police Service Commission, Nigeria has a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which is empowered to investigate allegations of human rights violations. The powers of the NHRC are limited, however, in that its findings are only advisory and that it does not have any prosecutorial or quasi-judicial powers.

Finally, there are several non-governmental organisations in Nigeria that play a critical role in conducting external oversight of the police, including the CLEEN Foundation, Constitutional Rights Project and the Human Rights Monitor.

  1. African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (2012) Policing and Human Rights: Assessing southern African countries’ compliance with the SARPCCO Code of Conduct for Police Officers, p104.
  2. Constitution of Nigeria, section 215.
Country Category Year Title URL
Nigeria General 2016 Interpol: Country Profile Nigeria Source
Nigeria Human Rights Report 2015/2016 Amnesty International Country Report for Nigeria 2015/2016 Source
Nigeria General 2013 Nigeria: No Justice for the Dead Source
Nigeria General 2013 Nigeria Police is operated with Wrong Strategies Source
Nigeria Research Publication 2013 Police Station Visitors’ Week Nigeria Report 2012 Source (PDF)