Security Information Needs and Sources of the Nigeria Police ...

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Jun 13, 2012 (5 years and 3 months ago)

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Security Information Needs and Sources of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Ekiti

State Command.
Folorunso Olayinka
University Library
University of Ado-Ekiti
P.m.b. 5363, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State
.
Abstract
The paper examines the security information needs and sources of the Nigeria

Police Force [NPF], Ekiti State Command and the information utilization of the

men and officers of the Command. The relevance of such information to the

studied group is highlighted. The instruments used to elicit information from

respondents include questionnaires and personal interviews. The collected data was

analyzed by means of tables and simple percentages. Findings showed that the

respondents greatly value security information and that they are aware that

information is a major key to do and to excel in their job. Analysis also revealed

that the available sources of information are inadequate and therefore do not meet

their needs. It was also revealed that the respondents desire much security

information from members of the public but the latter are afraid to provide the

information. Recommendations were offered based on the findings.
Introduction
Afolabi (2003) argued that information is, indispensably, an ingredient for social,

economic, industrial, political and technological advancement as it is apparent in every facet

of human endeavours that no meaningful and enduring development can be achieved

without it. Citing Curras (1987), Faibisoff and Ely (1986) and Uwem (1990), Afolabi (2003)

maintained that information is a stimulus and responding to it prompts us to act the ways we

do. It was further stressed that information is not only an instrument for change, growth and

development but also data meant for answering or meeting users’ queries and needs. Igbeka

and Atinmo (2002) were of the opinion that information is an important tool and a valuable

resource required for the realization of any objective or goal set by individuals. Therefore,

acquiring and utilizing information are critical and important activities and a
sine qua non
to

perform and to excel in one’s responsibilities.
According to Folorunso (2004), information is all published and unpublished

knowledge from a source to meet human needs for decision making and for meaningful

existence, while information needs are the desire or want of information to be transferred

for use and these needs greatly influence the type of information that information seekers

and users look for. Igbeka and Atinmo (2002) while listing the factors that initiate the search

for information mentioned the individual’s task or place of work as important factors.

Enidiok and Bassey (2004) citing previous authors like Wakeham (1992), Edem (1993),

Wilson (1994) and Lin and Garvey (1992) established that the information needs of persons

International Journal of African & African American Studies
Vol. VI, No. 2, Jul 2007
or professionals vary with the professions or work role of the users. In other words, as

medical experts and other health providers cherish and seek for medical information so also

a legal practitioner will go for legal information while security personnels including members

of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) will seek for security information.
Therefore, findings of this study should hopefully enable information professionals

including librarians, policy makers and other concerned groups know the security

information needs and sources and fill the gap that may be existing between the two for

better job performance among this group of information users, that is members of the NPF.

For the purpose of this study, security information is any kind of printed and unprinted

knowledge that has strategic value and capable of maintaining a social, civil and stable

society.
Activities and Roles of the NPF
An examination of the origins, development and role of the British-inspired police

force in Nigeria reveals that they were shaped to safeguard European interests in the country

and to caution any negative reactions of the indigenous people to their (Europeans)

activities. Commerce was one of such long-standing European interests. Before the Imperial

Acts of 1807 and 1833 which outlawed the slave trade and slavery, it was not in the interest

of Britain to establish a formal police force in the country because before then, British and

other European traders had relied on the protection provided by the West African

traditional chiefs who controlled the various pre-colonial law enforcement agencies.
In essence, in West African sub-region, the quests of Britain to stop the illegal slave

trade at sea and encourage legitimate commerce and Christian missionary enterprise led to

their involvement in police activities. A survey of the development and role of modern

police force in Nigeria during the nineteenth century reveals that the forces were established

to sufficiently prevent, detect, control and prosecute crime by land and sea, in the towns,

villages and along the government railway. In the social and economic aspects, the NPF has

been providing valuable opportunities for employment, education and welfare to a sizeable

number of citizenry with the requisite qualifications and drive. Members of the NPF are

encouraged to specialize in such areas as CID work, drill, dog handling and fingerprints.
The importance of police institutions cannot be over-emphasised as any government

heavily rely on their police establishment in the preservation of lives and property of her

citizenry. The works of the legislative, executive and judicial aspects of government would be

very difficult without an efficient and effective police institution or other suitable

arrangement. By acting in agreement with the judiciary the police constitute the first line of

defence against any threats to the internal security of the state or community.
It should be mentioned that the NPF has established for itself and the country an

international reputation of high standard during its part-time and full-time services in crime

control, war and peace. Therefore, the roles, activities and impacts of the NPF go beyond

national or domestic shore. (Tamuno, 1970).
Objectives
1.
To find out the security information needs of members of the NPF, Ekiti

State Command.
2.
To find out the sources of their security information.
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International Journal of African & African American Studies
Vol. VI, No. 2, Jul 2007
3.
To balance any imbalance that may be existing between the security

information needs and sources of the respondents.
Hypotheses
1.
That members of the NPF Ekiti State Command are aware that security

information is essentially required to do and to excel in their works.
2.
That the security information sources available do not meet the needs of the

respondents.
Methodology
The targets were men and officers of the NPF, Ekiti State Command. Altogether,

320 questionnaires were distributed among randomly selected respondents. 310

questionnaires were returned and found useable representing an overall response rate of

96.86%. There were also personal interactions with members of the public and with the men

and officers of the Command on the other hand. Analysis was done by simple percentages

and inferences were drawn from the interpretation of results.
Data Analysis And Presentation
Sex
No
Percentage (%)
Male
210
67.74
Female
100
32.26
Total
310
100
Table I: Respondents’ Distribution Based on Sex
Table I shows that 210 (67.74%) of the respondents were male while 100 representing

32.26% were female. This confirms a patient observation result that there are far more male

than female in the NPF and this is the situation at the Ekiti State Command.
Sources
Number
Percentage (%)
Friends
65
20.97
Mass Media
88
28.39
NPF Headquarters
95
30.65
PPRC
40
12.90
Others
22
7.10
Total
310
100
KEY
: PPRC – Police – Public Relation Committee.
Table II: Respondents’ Sources of Security Information
Table II shows the sources of the security information of respondents. The table

shows that 65 (20.97%) of the respondents indicated Friends as their sources of security

information, while 88 (28.39%) indicated Mass Media as their sources. The NPF

Headquarters was indicated by 95 (30.65%) and 40 respondents indicated PPRC. 22

respondents representing 7.10% indicated some other sources. The PPRC, which ought to

be a major link and information channel between the public and the NPF, was indicated by

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International Journal of African & African American Studies
Vol. VI, No. 2, Jul 2007
just 12.90 per cent of the respondents. The responses connote that the respondents rely

more on Friends, Mass Media and NPF Headquarters for their security information.

Personal interaction with men and officers of the Command and with members of the

public also showed that many members of the public who would have volunteered useful

security information on crimes and crime-related issues to the NPF are not willing to do so

out of fear of being implicated or indicted and also because of the kind of bad images some

members of the public have already carved for the men and officers of NPF.
Rating
Number
Percentage (%)
Very highly
19
6.13
Highly
32
10.32
Low
156
50.32
Very low
55
17.74
Don’t know
48
15.48
Total
310
100
Table III: Rating of Satisfaction of Security Information Needs of the Respondents

Table III shows the rating of satisfaction of security information needs of the

respondents. The table shows that 156 or 50.32% of the respondents rate satisfaction low;

55 or 17.74%, very low and 32 or 10.32% as highly and 19 or 6.13% of the respondents

rated satisfaction as very highly. One discovers that the largest percentage is on the lower

side.
S/N
Pattern of Information
No
Percentage
1.
Information about ethnics and places
10
3.23
2.
Information about prosecution and criminal procedures.
58
18.71
3.
Information about juvenile delinquencies
43
13.87
4.
Information about cultism
40
12.90
5.
Information about labour and trade unions’ activities
35
10.90
6.
Information about Law and other legal issues
49
15.81
7.
Information about government activities
20
6.45
8.
Information about traffic control and road safety
12
3.87
9.
Information about ethics and norms
20
6.45
10
Information about motor fitness and particulars
23
7.42
TOTAL
310
100
Table IV Pattern and Nature of Security Information Used by Men and Officers of

the NPF

Table IV shows the pattern and nature of security information sought for and used

by men and officers of the Command. Information about prosecution and criminal

procedures ranked highest, followed by information about Law and other legal issues and

then followed by information about juvenile delinquencies with 18.71, 15.81 and 13.87

percentages respectively. On the other hand, information about ethics and places ranked

lowest, followed by information about traffic control and road safety with 3.23 and 3.87

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International Journal of African & African American Studies
Vol. VI, No. 2, Jul 2007
percentages respectively. In particular, the low ranking of information about traffic control

and road safety may not be unconnected with the fact that there is a Federal Government

outfit especially saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace on highways which is

the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).
Valuables of Information
No

Enhances job performance of the NPF
255

Ensures good relationship between the police and the public
248

Curbs criminal activities
250

Ensures a virile police force
256

Strategically needed for national development and for political

stability
280
Table V
Distribution of Responses to the Statements on the Value of Security Information
Table V shows the values that respondents attached to security information. Here, a respondent is allowed to freely tick more than one

option. The table, in a nutshell, generally indicates that the respondents greatly value security information and that they believe that it

is a major criterion to perform and to excel in their works.

Conclusion and Suggestions
Analyses showed that security information is a
sine qua non
to enhancing the job

performance of members of the NPF. The recommendations given below are channeled

towards filling the gaps that exist between the security information needs and sources of the

respondents so as to improve the job performance of members of the NPF by creating an

enabling environment that can guarantee the provision of security information and providing

other incentives that can motivate the respondents to position themselves in the right

channels of receiving correct security information.
Findings revealed that members of the public who suppose to be a major source of

security information of the NPF are afraid of being indicted in any volunteered security

information because of the kind of little trust the former have in the latter. Consequently,

the NPF should embark on a campaign aiming at redeeming any battered images and then

try to boost the good ones. Having confidence in members of the NPF will lead to

willingness to divulge the necessary security information to them.
Findings showed that the men and officers of the NPF are poorly remunerated and

other conditions of service on ground are far below what we have in other para-military

services in Nigeria and in other developing African countries. The poor remuneration and

conditions of service alone may not be placing the respondents in the right positions to

receive correct security information. Better conditions of service which can be in forms of

increment in salary and allowances, continuous on-the-job-training and prompt promotion

as and when due will help to motivate and re-position the men and officers in the right

channel of receiving security information.
During recruitment exercise and while formulating policy for it, it is suggested that

willing and able information professional including librarians are encouraged and considered

by injecting quite a good number of them into the force. This step will increase sensitivity to

the flow of useful security information within the police formations and from members of

the public to members of the NPF. It is believed that information professionals will tend to

appreciate information and how it flows more than non-professionals.
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International Journal of African & African American Studies
Vol. VI, No. 2, Jul 2007
Findings also revealed that men and officers of the NPF are not well equipped in

terms of availability of sophisticated and crime-combating weapons to them. Therefore, men

and officers of the NPF should be provided with enough sophisticated weapons that can

match the ones carried by hoodlums. This will help to enhance the job performances and re-
position the NPF for security information. Also, as part of the efforts to reposition the NPF

for better job performance, it is suggested that the NPF as a system should be overhauled by

ejecting the bad eggs including those with serious disciplinary cases and scandals.
Results analysis revealed that the Police-Public Relation Committee (PPRC), which

ought to be a major source of security information to the NPF, is not serving its purpose

well as expected. Only 12.90% of the respondents indicated the PPRC as the sources of their

information. The PPRC members should not rest on their oasis. They should put in more

efforts in bridging the gap between the public and the police by allaying the fears of the

public in their attempt to divulge or report useful security information to the NPF.
Finally, it is suggested that each of divisional headquarters of the NPF should have a

stand-by, well-publicised and accessible phone-lines, E-mail box address and fax number for

some members of the public that may wish to send any security information under

anonymous covers. It is believed that if the above recommendations are considered and well

articulated the existed wide gap between the security information needs and sources of the

respondents will be closely brought together which will in turn lead to improvement in the

job performance of men and officers of the NPF.
References
Afolabi, A.K. (2003): “Information Needs, Information Seeking Behaviour of Commercial

Vehicle Drivers in Ondo State”. Gateway Library Journal
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6 (2) 1-2.
Enidiok, O. E. and Bassey, B. A. (2004): “Information Type and Search Strategies adopted

by Social Scientists for Teaching and Research”. Gateway Library Journal 7(2) 12.
Folorunso, O. (2004): “HIV/AIDS Information Needs and Sources: A study of Secondary

School Students in Osun-State”. Gateway Library Journal
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7(2) 43
Igbeka, J. U. and Atinmo , M. I. (2002): “ Information Seeking Behaviour and Information

Utilization of Agricultural Engineers in Nigeria Based on Their Different Places of

Work”. Nigerian Libraries
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36(1) 9.
Tamuno, T. N. (1970): The Police in Modern Nigeria, 1861-1965: Origins, Development

and Role
.
Ibadan: Ibadan University Press. 1, 37, 169, 271, 281pgs.
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