A Differentiating Factor between Unitarism and Federalism: Police Powers and National Security in Nigeria

Aaron Ola OGUNDIWIN, Israel Bamidele OLAORE, Emmanuel Chijioke OGBONNA, Joel Nnabugwu NWACHUKWU


Underpinning the philosophy of governments (whatever their types – constitutional monarchy, democracy etc) are the provision of ‘good life’ and maintenance of law and order, the absence of which is a relapse into ‘the state of nature’. This therefore presupposes that government does not only fork itself into various institutions, each constitutionally charged with specific functions directly stemming from the foregoing but also that government institutionalizes power-“sharing” framework stating how, where and when these institutions should and will function; hence, the philosophy behind adoption of either a unitary or federal system by states the world over. Premising its argument on these phenomena and reviewing necessary literature for easy contribution to the on-going debate on police power in Nigeria, the paper relies on documentary method of study. It argues that police organization or control does not only strike a difference between unitarism and federalism but also the difference has significant implications on the Nigerian national security. The paper concludes by stressing that effective policing or effective maintenance of law and order in an ethno-culturally heterogeneous and “federal” state like Nigeria requires that its components’ chief security officers are so not only in theory but also essentially in praxis; and to this end, argues for a decentralized police force.

Key words: federalism, unitarism, police power, colonialism, national security.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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