Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anecdotes about police corruption

The problem is not new. The problem is not unknown. The problem is not insignificant. Human Rights Watch offers some anecdotes to fill in the details behind the long-term, well known big deal.

Bribes fuel corruption in Nigeria police
Nigeria's federal police officers use illegal arrests and torture to demand bribes from the innocent…

The report by Human Rights Watch highlights how the oil-rich nation's police force shakes down crime victims for money…

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said Tuesday's report contains "largely embellished innuendoes" and had reached a preconceived conclusion…

Those interviewed by the rights group spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. They described how officers seize merchandise from roadside hawkers, holding it until receiving a bribe. Others complained about being "arrested" without cause while at restaurants and bars. Officers take those detained to police stations, where the innocent must pay around $40 to be released, the rights group said…

Bribery also remains endemic within the ranks of the police, first created in 1861 by British colonialists and known even then as "The 40 Thieves." In the modern force, recruits bribe their way into uniform and must meet bribe quotas set by superiors to reach and hold on to lucrative posts, the report claims. Otherwise, officers get banished to desk duty and are forced to survive on a meager salary…

The report suggests that money from the corrupt police practices ultimately line the pockets of the force's top administrators, while Nigerian citizens pay with their lives.

That could be seen last Sunday, a truck plowed into cars stopped along a Lagos expressway, starting fires that left at least 20 dead. Local newspapers quoted witnesses saying a police roadblock caused the traffic jam, as officers attempted to extort money from passing motorists.

See also: A Nigerian Youth Corper’s Experience with the Nigerian Police: Are we all guilty?

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