Police Corruption in Nigeria

08/17/2010 10:38 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

By Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch

Widespread corruption in the Nigeria Police Force is fueling abuses against ordinary citizens and severely undermining the rule of law in Nigeria.

On a daily basis, countless ordinary Nigerians are accosted by armed police officers who demand bribes and commit human rights abuses against them as a means of extorting money.

These abuses range from arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention to threats and acts of violence, including sexual assault, torture, and even extrajudicial killings. Police also routinely extort money from victims of crimes to initiate investigations and demand bribes from suspects to drop investigations.

Nigeria political cartoon

© 2010 BASATI for Human Rights Watch

View the photo essay of political cartoons by Basati for Human Rights Watch.

The photo essay accompanies the launch of the102-page report, "'Everyone's in on the Game': Corruption and Human Rights Abuses by the Nigeria Police Force," documents the myriad forms of police corruption in Nigeria. It also shows how institutionalized extortion, a profound lack of political will to reform the force, and impunity combine to make police corruption a deeply embedded problem.