Individual and collective societal concern for security has always been a feature of human history. This is especially true because security affects people’s livelihoods. The privatization of security is now a worldwide phenomenon (Hyden, 1995). This is the result of a number of factors, including general human insecurity, the globalization phenomenon, privatization of public enterprises, professionalization of armed and police forces, profit maximization, liberalization of the arms trade, general unending African conflict, and the September 11th, 2001 crash of the twin towers and the Pentagon in the United States (Holmqvist, 2005). In today’s world, the privatization of security has reached such an unprecedented level that it is no longer considered acceptable.

it is even possible to ignore, let alone comprehend (Howe, 1998).

Allan Pinkerton, who founded Pinkerton’s security services in 1850 with the motto “we never sleep,” is responsible for the many different types of modern private security outfits available today (Schmalleger, 1995). It was also the largest of the private companies based in New York. The Pinkerton Service had an open eye as a logo on its office doors to represent constant vigilance. The term “private eye” is thought to have originated with the use of this logo. Schmalleger (1995) confirmed that Henry Wells and William Fargo established their well-known Wells Fargo company in 1852 and provided detective and protective services (private guard and investigator) to areas west of Missouri.

As a result, much

Since the early days of private security firms, a lot has changed (private policing). Hospitals, manufacturing plants, communication industries, retirement homes, hotels, casinos, exclusive communities, and clubs are all served today. Others include nuclear storage facilities and reactors, as well as many other types of businesses such as information security that aid in personnel protection.

Following a history of private guards and security practice in Nigeria that could be traced back to royalty, religion, social class, or pedigree, the practice of private security gradually drew deserved attention when it became commercialized and obviously contradicted the social contract idea that only the state is capable of arrest and punishment (Kuna, 1999). As a result, it became imperative that the practice be regulated within the confines of the law.

of duty, definition and laws. For example, in traditional Nigerian society, security was squarely with the immediate and extended families; thus, any member of the family who violated any of the norms faced ostracism by the group until reparations and necessary purification and cleansing rituals were undertaken by the family (Igbo, 2007).

As a result of’modernisation,’ changes have occurred from traditional Nigerian societies to the present. These changes have resulted in the encroachment of western institutions on societal moral standards, which has implications for general life and security, particularly for Nigerians. Urbanization, formal education, and the capitalist economic system are also factors. As a result, a variety of crimes that were not previously known emerged.

the traditional society, which may necessitate a more sophisticated security strategy. Murder, theft, assault, and suicide, pick pocketing, drug abuse, counterfeiting, fraud, forgery, smuggling, unlawful possession of dangerous weapons, prostitution, white-collar crime, advanced fee fraud (419), corruption, rape, and a slew of other crimes are all common in modern Nigeria (Ebbe, 1981 cited in Igbo, 2007).

Thus, Ochefu and Idrees (2002) proposed that the Nupes and Gwagyis, the dominant groups in Niger state with migrant Hausas’, prevent crimes through proper socialization of the young ones, i.e. application of communal approach to socialization, instilling of the fear of pain in punishment…later, other prevention measures include the organization of the Dogarai (local police), the Ninety (90) days cleansing fast as reparation;

Scarecrows, charms, and fetish materials are used, as is Ndakogboya or Kuti (Masquerade), as it is known among the Nupes.

According to Igbo (2007), the end of the civil war saw not only the return of old criminals to the streets, but also the “graduation” of newer and more sophisticated criminals. This singular assertion suggests that the country’s current security network is under serious threat as crime waves continue to rise unabated.

The most recent security threat in Nigeria is the rise of kidnapping and terrorism, which has been exacerbated by criminals’ widespread use of firearms. This facilitated these criminals’ methods of operation, resulting in a complete shift in criminal activities.

Aircraft hijackings, assassinations of prominent Nigerians, and bomb explosions in various parts of the country became common.

In addition to the previously mentioned criminal activities, today’s law and order also pose serious challenges.

The country faces security challenges. Former Inspector General Sunday Ehindaro claims

of Police, “crime is perhaps the most potent threat to any country’s national security.”

Dambazau (2007): 152. This statement is also consistent with the Economic

The Intelligence Unit (EIU) conducted a survey called “RISKWIRE” and concluded that,

Nigeria is a dangerous place to conduct business. There are three levels of security risk. The first is the rise in violent crime, which ranges from simple armed robbery to carjacking and violent attacks…. Second, businesses may be subjected to direct

Facilities can be vandalized or blackmailed, and employees can be kidnapped. Third, there has been an increase in intercommunal violence. Nigeria’s under-equipped police force has been ineffective in combating crime. Dambazau (2007): 53.

As a result of the ineffectiveness of the Nigeria police and Nigerians’ concern for security, guards and private security companies emerged in the country to supplement the activities of the security agencies and work in accordance with the established rules and regulations. Private security companies, like vigilantes, are an informal arrangement to keep up with Nigeria’s rising crime rate.

However, as in all countries, Nigerians are deeply concerned about their security, and this concern has been expressed.

as a result of the expansion of Private Security Companies (PSCs). PSCs have proliferated in a country of about 140 million people over the last decade (Census, 2006). These companies are visible on the premises of both private and public sector organizations. This is despite the fact that security is largely in the hands of private actors rather than the state in both urban and rural areas. As a result, the Nigeria immigration service in the Federal Ministry of Interior handled the function of private security companies. Until September 1, 2005, when the then-Minister of Internal Affairs turned over all private guard company documents to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC, 2009).

There are some

two principal landmarks in the regulation of PSCs in Nigeria. The first is the creation of PSCs, which was enacted and approved on December 15, 1986. This law was cited as Act No. 43 and consolidated in Chapter 367 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990. The second is the transition from the Nigeria Immigration Service to the Nigeria Civil Defense Corps, which is now referred to as Chapter 30 of the Private Guard Companies (PGC) Act (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004). This law was enacted specifically for the “regulation and licensing of private guard companies that must be wholly owned by Nigerians, as well as other matters ancillary thereto” (PGCs Act, Cap367, 1990).

Finally, the perception of ineffective policing and rising crime fueled the emergence of a vigilante movement.

a plethora of non-state policing organizations (Olaniyi, 2005). The state has delegated security to a variety of non-political organizations, including vigilante groups, religious vigilantes, ethnic militias, and private security guards.

Based on the foregoing, and especially given its growing importance, the activities of the PSCs had to become a subject of study. As a result, the researcher chose private security firms and crime prevention in Nigeria, using Niger state as a case study.


Law, order, and security were maintained in pre-colonial societies through extensive socialization of society members through peer group, age grade, and religious institutions (Ogunbameru and Rotimi, 2006). Thus, violators of various communal groups’ societal norms, customs, and traditions faced severe penalties ranging from ostracization to payment of reparation and purification, and, as a result, the performance of cleansing rituals (Igbo, 2007). In Niger state, for example, criminals pay for their crimes by digging dungeons, working in the Emir’s farm, quarrying, and in cases involving witchcraft and murder, banishment or a ninety (90) day cleansing fast was observed as reparation (Idrees and Ochefu, 2002). Because of these sanctions, the occurrence of these crimes was frequently reduced.

It also aided in instilling fear in people about the negative consequences of committing crime in society.

Following the introduction of formal social control during the colonial era, these roles shifted. Because community security was viewed as the responsibility of the government, the Native Authority (NA) police assumed the role of maintaining law, order, and security, while citizens simply became onlookers. Because of the nature of native administration, insecurity began to grow at this point. This is due to the fact that nationalist activities were perceived and conceived of as an attack on colonialists (Kuna, 1999). As a result, the brutality of the NA police became crucial to the growth of the nationalist movement during this period in society.

During the post-colonial era, particularly after the civil war,

Criminal activity in Nigeria grew almost out of control as a result of the proliferation of firearms found in every nook and cranny of the country. On the one hand, this hastened the growth of crime, but it has also increased the need to secure urban communities where robbery and other criminal acts are common. As a result of the police’s inefficiency, urban areas such as Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, and Kano began to employ neighborhood guards. (Dambazau & Igbo, 2007)

In describing urban insecurity in Nigeria, Osahon (1996 in Dogon-yaro, 1996) stated:

Actually, as a people, we are already under siege. Our daily lives are now ruled by fear. Fear of the known and unknown is ugly and terrifying.

When we leave the house in the morning, we have no guarantee that we will return home safely and with our cars and other belongings, including the shoes on our feet and the ear­rings in our ears. If we are fortunate enough to return home to find our homes unharmed during our absence, we sleep with one eye open, expecting the worst at any moment of the night. In other words, we no longer sleep. in our ability to carry out daily tasks (Dogon-yaro, 1996:224).

This was also the case in other rapidly growing cities in Niger state, including Minna, Kontagora, Bida, Suleja, and a few others. The public’s reaction to constant fear and insecurity was to take control of the laws. Butchers, traders, and others were arrested in July 1987.

and unemployed people in Minna vented their rage against police harassment, intimidation, and extortion in a six-hour rampage against police and soldiers, which was put down by military units (The library of Congress Country Studies and CIA Factbook, 1991).

In May 2009, two lecturers from the School of Nursing Bida were acid-bathed in their staff quarters by students suspected of being withdrawn from the institution for failing all of their first semester examinations. The staff quarters, unlike the school grounds, lacked security guards, and the perpetrators were not apprehended (Sunday Trust, May 17, 2009). However, Newline news paper reported in July 2009 that the family of one Mr. James Omeize, the proprietor of Brighter International School in

Minna was kidnapped in Minna, and the kidnapper demanded a ransom of 20 million naira for his release in distant Benin City, Edo state.

Other instances of insecurity abound in the state, with many cases not even being reported to the police or captured by any vigilant watch dog. The Nigerian police have always come under fire for being victims of every negative unfavorable character, devoid of any measure commensurate to their oath of office. In other words, the Nigeria Police’s weakened capacity to combat crime (due to staff shortages, obsolete equipment, corruption, defective training programs, police discretion, and so on) has resulted in an increase in other policing agencies across the country over the years. It is because security is so important.

In these urban areas, both professional and non-professional security outfits arose to protect people and property.

After nearly two decades of the private security industry flourishing in Niger State, it appears that PSCs have not received much scholarly attention in terms of the services they provide. One wonders whether the apparent increase in the number of private security firms in Niger state is due to a desire for improved security or other ulterior motives. In light of the aforementioned issues, the purpose of this research is to investigate private security companies in Niger state.


The overall goal of this study is to determine the effectiveness of private security companies in crime prevention in Niger state.

The research’s specific objectives are as follows:

I. To discover how people’s security needs in Niger state were met during the traditional era.

II. To identify the factors that necessitated the formation of PSCs.

III. Evaluate the effectiveness of these PSCs in their security functions.

IV. To investigate the major constraints that the PSCs face in carrying out their functions.

V. To identify strategies for overcoming their constraints in order to provide efficient service delivery.

VI. To investigate the relationship between PSCs and the police.


This research has both theoretical and practical implications.

(a) Theoretical significance: this research will add to the existing literature on PSCs/PSGs, particularly in the field of crime prevention in Nigeria. The study will also provide baseline information on crime prevention typologies in Niger state, as well as stimulate research in the field by other researchers and academicians. Furthermore, the study will serve as a reference document for other scholars interested in studying PSCs and crime prevention.

(b) Practical significance: the findings of this study will help policymakers better understand the strategies and dynamics of crime prevention firms. This will result in the development of programs to improve crime prevention and the security of lives and property in Niger state. This research is also significant because the findings will help policymakers extend and deepen their understanding of PSCs to improve crime prevention. This will reveal any challenges of working with a wide range of Private Security Companies and provide suggestions on how to overcome the challenges identified.


The following terms are used in this study and are defined based on their context. Beneficiaries: Individuals, private and public enterprises, ministries, agencies, and directors, among others, who subscribe to the services of PSCs.

Crime: Refers to wrongdoing that endangers society’s security or well-being and is usually considered an act (evil) punishable by law.

Crime Prevention: It refers to a set of attitudes and behaviors aimed at both reducing the threat of crime and increasing one’s sense of safety and security in order to improve one’s quality of life… and creating environments in which crime cannot thrive.

Formal Security Sector: Police and the army that a country’s constitution formally recognizes for defense, peace, total security, and other purposes.

The country’s integrity.

National security refers to safeguarding the interests of citizens and providing an environment free of threats that could impede the pursuit of the common good. It is about the procedures and measures necessary to maintain law and order.

Private Security: Self-employed individuals and privately funded business entities and organizations that provide security-related services to specific clientele for a fee, for the individual or entity that retains or employs them, for themselves, in order to protect their persons, private property, or interests from various hazards.

Private policing: The performance of policing functions by individuals or organizations other than those directly owned and controlled by the state.

Protection is meant by security. Freedom from physical or direct violence, as well as freedom from fear; a sense of safety and relative wellbeing in political, legal, socioeconomic, and cultural terms; it is also a measure of protection from structural violence and security of lives and properties, as enshrined in the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s constitution.


Leave a Comment