Charms and rituals are utilized by criminals in Nigeria – ought to police deploy non secular safety too?

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Crime is among the many main challenges confronting Nigeria as a nation. The pervasiveness of crime has repeatedly referred to as into query the effectiveness and effectivity of the Nigeria Police Drive. That is regardless of their unique reliance on trendy policing methods and methods.

Historically, crime-related issues have been dealt with by way of what’s referred to as “non secular safety”. This can be a information system that includes the usage of amulets, charms, rituals and talismans for cover, energy and clairvoyance.

As sociologists specialising in criminology, we have been serious about what the Nigerian police personnel needed to say about these mechanisms of safety.

We performed a examine of their perceptions and attitudes. Many instructed us that they believed criminals used non secular safety for energy and safety. Some officers confirmed that they themselves used charms and the wish to assist in their jobs.

Nigerians use non secular safety mechanisms in different areas of social life similar to healthcare supply, battle decision and family crime management. However they’ve been neglected in formal policing.

We conclude that this indigenous method to crime combating might show helpful to the police, significantly in intelligence gathering, crime investigation and crime management. Conventional perception programs might complement the nation’s colonially based mostly legislation enforcement and social management programs and enhance their effectivity.

Conventional perception programs

Non secular safety is a conventional information system that dates from precolonial instances. It was a method that Nigerian individuals handled social points. Not just for safety, but additionally to settle disputes and for social management, battle decision, justice administration, peace engineering and social concord.

The information system of most African societies is mostly predicated on a perception system that’s divided into the bodily (seen and seen) and the non secular (mysterious and unobservable). Historical past tells us that African individuals gave excessive credence to this technique of data.

Though mystical, preternatural and esoteric powers are just about inexplicable, many Nigerians imagine that they know when they’re being manipulated by those that have entry to such powers.

The examine

Our analysis was carried out amongst police officers serving on the Oyo State Police Command. We interviewed 35 law enforcement officials belonging to the State Legal Investigation and Intelligence Division and the Particular Anti-Theft Squad.

We wished to know to what extent the police have been conscious of criminals utilizing non secular safety mechanisms. And we requested for his or her views on the police utilizing them too. Ought to they be built-in into police operations?

Most law enforcement officials acknowledged that the system of non secular safety mechanisms was a part of a cultural heritage which many Africans employed. They defined that folks did so to guard themselves from their enemies’ non secular assaults and to neutralise the affect of lethal weapons similar to weapons, machetes and knives.

Contributors stated that their skilled experiences within the subject confirmed that criminals routinely used non secular safety mechanisms. They did so to strengthen and defend themselves when perpetrating crime similar to armed theft, kidnapping, rape and murder.

There was no clear consensus about whether or not the mechanisms have been efficient or not. However many officers stated they believed that the criminals’ use of non secular safety was able to compromising police operations. One police officer stated:

Criminals, particularly armed robbers, often depend on it. A while round 2003 … we arrested 4 armed robbers and handcuffed them. Are you able to imagine that two of them who have been handcuffed collectively disappeared? … What occurred that day was like a miracle. It was solely after making session from the people who find themselves educated that we have been instructed that considered one of them deployed egbe (a non secular system for disappearance).

Our analysis additionally established that some law enforcement officials have been secretly consulting custodians of the standard information system to boost their efficiency and security on the job.

Our respondents, nonetheless, expressed differing opinions about whether or not non secular safety mechanisms must be built-in into trendy police work. Those that supported the concept believed it might enhance crime combating and assist hold officers protected.

Others dismissed the concept. They pressured the worth of recent policing methods and expertise. Some stated their faith (each Christian and Muslim) expressly forbade them from associating with conventional charms. Some felt it went in opposition to police tradition and codes.

Bodily safety and non secular safety

The work experiences of law enforcement officials, nonetheless, usually demonstrated the significance of a information system that recognises a connection between bodily safety and non secular safety.

Fashionable policing methods usually are not adequately coping with Nigeria’s crime and insecurity disaster. Infamous criminals are combining the usage of subtle weapons with non secular charms.

We suggest that Nigeria’s police power ought to discover any potential benefits that the system of non secular safety mechanisms would possibly provide. If nicely utilized, this hybridisation might increase intelligence gathering capability and crime management efforts.


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