Africa Security Brief No. 31

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Governance, Accountability, and Security in Nigeria

By Oluwakemi Okenyodo

June 20, 2016

A Nigerian police officer collects N20 from a driver

Photo: nigeriamasterweb.com.

As in much of Africa, the vast majority of security threats facing Nigeria are internal, often involving irregular forces such as insurgents, criminal gangs, and violent religious extremists. Effectively combating such threats requires cooperation from local communities—cooperation limited by low levels of trust in security forces who often have reputations for corruption, heavy-handedness, and politicization. Tackling modern security threats, then, is directly tied with improving the governance and oversight of the security sector, especially the police. Key paths forward include clarifying the structure of command and oversight, strengthening merit-based hiring and promotion processes, and better regulating private and voluntary security providers.

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