The Nigerian Police vs Nigerian Army: Who is More Powerful?

Which is more powerful – the Nigerian police or the Nigerian army? This is a common question that people do ask. Let’s clear the air on this.

The Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army are two of the most important security forces in Nigeria. They both play crucial roles in maintaining law and order, as well as protecting lives and property.

nigerian army vs nigerian police

The NIgerian Army vs The Nigerian Police

However, there are notable differences between the two in terms of their structure, duties, powers, challenges and public perception.

Analyzing these key factors can give insight into the bigger question – who is more powerful between the Nigerian police and army?

THE NIGERIAN POLICE VS NIGERIAN ARMY: WHO IS MORE POWERFUL?

Let’s look at several factors to determine which is more powerful between the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army.

STRUCTURE AND DUTIES

The Nigerian police is structured into multiple units and divisions across the 36 states. Its key duties include crime prevention and detection, patrols, traffic control, VIP protection, counter-terrorism and maintenance of general order.

On the other hand, the Nigerian army is centralized under one unified command structure focused more on safeguarding Nigeria against external aggression and threats to its territorial integrity. This includes combat operations, counterinsurgency, border security etc.

From the outlook, the police seem to have more direct interaction with civilians in peacetime while the army is more focused on defense and warfare mandates.

POWERS AND CAPABILITIES

Statutorily, the police are empowered to investigate crimes, prosecute offenders and maintain law and order in communities under the Police Act.

The army’s duties and powers are focused on defending Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in times of war. In terms of capabilities, the army is obviously better equipped in terms of weapons, training and tactics to undertake combat missions against insurgents and external enemies.

The police also have various tactical units but limited capabilities for high-intensity battles against well-armed groups. However, in terms of internal security duties like patrolling, the police holds the advantage in numbers with roughly 400,000 personnel vs the army’s 80,000 actively deployed.

CHALLENGES

The Nigerian police contend with myriad challenges ranging from poor funding/welfare, outdated assets to issues of corruption and institutional weaknesses which affect their efficiency. This further strains public confidence in the police. In a report, the NPF was even ranked as the most corrupt police force in the world.

Similarly, the army battles its own demons such as inadequate resources for troops, extended deployments and morale issues in fighting insurgencies. High casualties also dent the army’s strength and limit its ability to operate at full capacity continually.

However, the army retains better discipline, professionalism and public support despite its flaws.

PUBLIC PERCEPTION

Owing to its greater interaction with civilians, many Nigerians view the police more negatively due sometimes to abuse of power, human rights violations and corrupt practices within its ranks.

The army has had its own fair share of rights abuses but tends to be seen in a more positive light for protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty against insurgent groups/terrorists.

The army’s operations are also more covert or distant which shields them from much public scrutiny faced by the more omnipresent police units.

ALSO READ: THE DSS & THE NIGERIAN ARMY: WHO IS MORE POWERFUL

WHICH IS MORE POWERFUL?

Evaluating the comparative strengths and weaknesses above, the Nigerian Army emerges as the more powerful military force. Though smaller in personnel strength, its superior tactical capabilities, weapons, training, war-fighting capacities, discipline and public confidence edges out the police with mostly basic law enforcement roles.

The army is also better placed to deal with well-armed security threats considering the types of combat operations it undertakes. Its recognized contributions to countering Boko Haram insurgency also projects it as a more reliable institution for Nigeria’s safety.

However, the police cannot be written off as insignificant either. Its presence across all parts of Nigeria makes it crucial for upholding laws domestically. The police remain best suited for maintaining peace in local communities through law enforcement duties that the Army lacks jurisdiction over or cannot effectively undertake on a nationwide scale.

Had the comparison been strictly on internal security provision, the police may well emerge on top. Enhancing its capacity can significantly boost safety across Nigeria.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here are some frequently asked questions on the power comparison of the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army.

WHAT ARE THE KEY DUTIES OF THE NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE?

The Nigerian police force is responsible for crime prevention, law enforcement, public safety, maintaining order, protecting lives and property across Nigeria. Key duties include crime detection, patrols, traffic control, counter-terrorism and protecting important people.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY?

The Nigerian army’s core duties revolve around defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity, external security threats and warfare against insurgencies or enemies during armed conflicts. This includes combat operations, border security, counterinsurgency missions etc.

WHICH SECURITY AGENCY INTERACTS MORE WITH CIVILIANS?

The Nigerian police has more direct, daily engagement with civilians being deployed across communities to maintain law and order. The army typically operates more covertly or gets deployed abroad, so there is less public interaction.

WHICH FORCE IS BETTER EQUIPPED AND TRAINED?

The Nigerian army has superior weapons, tactical capabilities, equipment and specialized training for combat operations and national defense roles suited for war. The police has basic law enforcement training, arms and crowd control equipment.

WHY DOES THE ARMY COMMAND STRONGER PUBLIC CONFIDENCE?

Despite its own challenges with inadequate resources and casualties, the army is perceived as more professional, disciplined and committed to protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and integrity. Public image is also less tainted than the police.

SO WHICH FORCE WIELDS MORE POWER ULTIMATELY?

When evaluating coercive power, the Nigerian army has superior battlefield capabilities overall with better-trained troops, firepower and strength of about 80,000 to effectively prosecute national defense operations. The police has law enforcement as primary function without capacity for high-intensity combat missions which gives the army an edge.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In conclusion, while both forces require urgent and extensive reforms to perform optimally, the Army retains fundamentally superior coercive power projection over the police in terms of hard military capabilities. It edges ahead more as a force for directly safeguarding Nigeria’s territorial integrity.

But Nigeria equally needs a well-funded, accountable and professional police service as the first line of security guaranteeing safety of lives and property within the country through law enforcement.

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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