Informal policing groups, such as vigilante groups or neighbourhood watch, are an established part of community life in Nigeria. It is essential that these groups operate in a manner that is both accountable and respectful of the law and members of the community including the Police Force.
For many Nigerians, especially the poor, the voluntary policing sector (VPS) plays a pivotal role in addressing safety and security needs. Nigerians are increasingly using voluntary policing to fight crime. (Thirty two percent of Nigerians surveyed about poor people’s perceptions and priorities on safety, security and informal policing in four states, Benue, Enugu, Ekiti and Jigawa, said that they did so (CLEEN, 2002)).
Nigerians are more satisfied with services provided by VPS groups (87%), than services provided by the Nigeria Police Force (55%). The reasons Nigerians are using VPS groups are:
- a rise in crime
- delays in justice system
- collusion of the formal police with criminals.
What people say about J4A's work
'Since we started discussing our cases at the Community Accountablity Forum (CAF) meetings, we have experienced increased financial donations by residents and businesses in the neighbourhood.'
- Neighbourhood Watch Group at CPS Enugu