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Extra-Judicial Killings in Nigeria: The Case of Afikpo Town

NCJ Number
O. Oko Elechi Ph.D.
Date Published
18 pages
This document examines the social and political problem of extra-judicial killing in Nigeria.
The Nigerian police traditionally have a monopoly over societal control and the instrument of violence in Afikpo, Nigeria. This document explains that extra-judicial killings run counter to both the proclamation of the Nigerian constitution and the international law that states that suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Following a discussion of the ways in which vigilante groups in Afikpo operate outside the traditional Afikpo indigenous justice system in retaliation against police domination, the article explains that the rise of such vigilante forces in Nigeria illustrates the failure of both the Nigerian Police and the Government in protecting citizens’ rights and property. After describing the vastness of corruption within the Nigerian Police Department, the article describes Afikpo town as the headquarters of the Afikpo North local Government area. Although there are many institutions in place to handle conflict resolutions in Afikpo, vigilante groups have been allowed to rise and persist, operating independently of indigenous institutions. Following a discussion of the prevalence and problems of armed robbery in Afikpo, indicates that the rise of vigilante justice in Afikpo in response to police ineffectiveness and economic turmoil has led to more and more people arming themselves in order to protect themselves and their community. Controlling police corruption in Afikpo is a necessary first step to address Nigeria’s social and political problems, including extra-judicial vigilante groups.