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POLICE DISCRETION AND HUMAN RIGHT ABUSES IN NIGERIA
A b s t r a c t
Police as an organization set up by government, has the responsibility of preventing, detecting, investigating, apprehending as well as prosecuting an alleged offender. In doing these, it inevitably exercises tremendous amount of discretion. This has in most cases resulted into corruption, high handedness as well as human right abuses which has legal implication. This paper examines the problems associated with the exercise of discretion by the Nigerian Police and its attendant problem of human right violation in Yenagoa. The study was guided by cognitive learning theory. It was a cross-sectional study hinged upon by quantitative and qualitative data triangulation. Questionnaire were administered purposively to 120 victims of police human right abuses in Yenagoa metropolis, while in depth interview were conducted on 15 lawyers who have handled cases of human right abuses. Data were analyzed at univariate and multivariate levels, and the qualitative data were contently analyzed. Although the study found a relationship between police discretion and human rights abuse, it nevertheless revealed that discretion has no link with variable such as socio economic status of alleged victims, advancement in security equipment, and presence of corruption within Nigeria Police. Hence, more training on human right issues was recommended for police officers to curb the incidences of human right abuses.
Keywords: Police Discretion, Human Right Abuses, Criminal Justice System, Nigerian Police Force