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EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS BY THE NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE: AN EXAMINATION OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK
A unique priority of every state is the maintenance of law and order in order to protect the lives and properties of the citizens even when some citizens violate these laws and this is only achievable through an efficient Criminal Justice System. It is the responsibility of the police Force in every jurisdiction to prevent crimes, arrest offenders and ensure their protection while in custody or standing trial. In contrast to these facts, in the past years in Nigeria, there are accusations against the Nigerian police that its officers commit extra-judicially killings on Nigerians in the course of effecting law and order. In fact some officers of the Nigerian Police Force have been prosecuted and sentenced to imprisonment for extra-judicially killings. This is a major problem that causes distrust from the citizens to the Nigerian Police force. This paper explores the patterns and theories of extra judicial killings. The domestic, regional and International responses on extra-judicial killings are also examined. The work concludes that except the officers of the Nigerian Police force are re-oriented on handling criminals and suspects, there is no end in sight to extra-judicial killings. It is recommended that the National Assembly should amend relevant laws like the Police Code of Conduct and the Police Force Order and maximise the punishment for any erring officer to serve as deterrence to others.
Keywords: Killings, Police officers, Extra-Judicial, Suspects, Law