Policing and the Law in Post Colonial Africa

Jonathan C. Odo, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Policing in pre-colonial Africa was traditionally based. The culture dictates modes of behavior and social control modalities. Beginning in the 19th century, the traditional method of policing gave way to the colonial style of policing to facilitate the extortionist agenda. The colonial style of policing was inevitable because of commerce interests in Africa. In order to control the natives, the colonial style of policing was instituted and to date has greatly impacted law enforcement practices in Africa. To what extent is this practice maintained or do we still practice traditionally based style of policing? This study will focus on Nigerian policing, particularly illustrating police practices and the law. It will provide an insight explicating to what extent is the law an instrument of enforcement or is the pre-colonial cultural dictates still a force to be reckoned with in Nigerian law enforcement today.

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Updated 05/20/2006