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Community Vigilantes in Metropolitan Kano 1985-2005

by Rasheed Olaniyi, 2005

Kano is a city where a multi-layered form of community policing was established in the era of the rollback of the state in social provisioning in the midst of ever-increasing armed banditry and crime. Between 1985 and 2005, vigilante groups were established in almost all the neighbourhoods of Kano with the support of the traditional authority and community leaders. However, government interference, political instrumentalisation and inadequate support undermined its critical rote. Part of the rationale for the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in Sabongari lies not in the efficacy of such initiative in reducing the incidence of crime but to confer a sense of identity, control of crime and security. The contradiction in PCRC could be located in the pathological fixation of police on corruption, which alienated and depressed the public from providing valuable information for crime control. The activities of vigilante groups and Hisba have reduced the high rate of juvenile delinquency in metropolitan Kano. The litmus test for Hisba in the implementation of Sharia law would be how it could reconcile the social diversity in a multicultural society such as Kano to ensure security and social harmony. The study concludes that the gap between different forms of vigilante groups, conflicting political motivations and the near discordant relations with the police, produced a dysfunctional mechanism for crime control.

Full text available online on OpenEdition Books: http://books.openedition.org/ifra/727

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