The politics of law enforcement in Nigeria: Lessons from the war on drugs

Gernot Klantschnig*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the institutional politics of law enforcement in Nigeria by focusing on illegal drug control since the mid 1980s. It assesses the available academic research on law enforcement governance, and contrasts it with an in-depth case study of drug law enforcement. The case study confirms views of the politicised nature of law enforcement. However, it goes beyond the patron-client centred approach to politics prevalent in the literature on African policing. The article adds an institutional dimension to the study of law enforcement governance, highlighting processes of centralisation, exclusion and shifting bureaucratic interests that have been central to the development of Nigerian drug law enforcement. It is based on previously inaccessible data from inside Nigerian drug law enforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-549
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Modern African Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

Structured keywords

  • SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice


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