Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Addressing Nigeria's Security Challenges Through Community Policing

On Monday (Ojua), 31st December, 2012, Chief Ollorwi Osaro was invited to present a paper as titled above at a Public Lecture organized by Egbalor Youth Council as part of activities marking the Egbalor Autonomous Community’s End-of-Year Celebration 2012. Below is excerpt.  Happy reading!

 

Introduction

The topic “Addressing Nigeria’s Security Challenges through Community Policing” is very dear to my heart.  I also want to believe that as young Nigerians, the security challenges facing our country are worrisome and so demand all hands to be on desk to proffering workable solutions.

 

Community Policing: Answer to Nigeria’s Insecurity

Over the years policing in Nigeria have had to deal with problems like increased crime and general calls for services coupled with poor funding of the police, and corruption in governance. The federal ownership and control of both the police and the policing functions is also not helping matters as this also widen the gap between the police as an organization, policing as a function and the people who are the beneficiaries and burden bearer. What then can we do to solve the problems of policing in Nigeria? The answer is community policing.

 

Community policing projects a working relationship between the community and its police agency. The major elements of community policing are partnership and participation by members of the community to reduce crime, deal with community problem-solving and improve the quality of life for the community. It enables the citizens to partner with the police in dealing with crime, fear of crime and other social issues in the community.

 

Community Policing: A Shift from PCRC

It is a shift from the present Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) approach which builds community police relationships in a democratic and consultative way, empowers communities in relation to the police, and strengthens them through active involvement in policing in defined areas as well as enabling the police to communicate there problems directly to the immediate communities they serve and through that solicit community cooperation in the execution of their lawful duties

 

While police officers and all law-abiding citizens in the community are involved and participate actively in  community  policing round the clock the selected elite members of the police community relations committee meet monthly and neither prevent crime nor communicate awareness. Osaro Ollorwi (2004) revealed that PCRC as is practiced in Nigeria is mere singing the praises of the police in the face of rising crime waves and deteriorating socio-cultural and economic structures. Can we beat our chests and say that PCRC is delivering on its mandates as itemized below vise-a-vise increasing crimes and fear of crimes prevailing in the country? He questioned.   It is conceived that PCRC will:

  1. Regularly assess the performance of the police in their task of maintenance of law and order, 
  2. Assist the police in forging cordial relationship with the community,
  3. Serve as avenue for providing crime information to the police,
  4. Assist the police improve its image among the  public, and
  5. Assist the police improve its performance.

 

He reiterated that the PCRC is a far cry from the ideas and philosophy of community policing. PCRC elicits nature do not only exclude the real stakeholders in security but also make it functionally and structurally deficient. It operates like the formal police agency. Therefore the PCRC should not be confused with community policing. The PCRC involves assigning a few officers in a police division as community affairs officers, or community relations specialists. These officers attend monthly PCRC meetings and reduce tensions between members of the police and the public. The PCRC programme is sham or merely public relations attempt. It had no real effect on the philosophy or culture of most police divisions. Its remoteness from the community of discontent where citizens’ dissatisfaction with the police exists is another disadvantage.

 

Citizens’ Efforts in Crime Prevention

Sometimes, the police and citizens have been in competition to demonstrate their superior capabilities in crime prevention and control. This is reflected in the activities of Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), Anambra Vigilant Services (AVS) aka Bakassi Boys, Bayelsa Volunteer Services etc.

 

Nevertheless it can be emphasized that most effective way to avoid such confusion is to integrate the capabilities of the country’s police with the citizens at all stages and all levels of policing through community policing. This is what Japan, Britain, USA, South Africa, etc have done.

 

The failure of government programmes for the control of crime informed private citizens playing a variety of roles that is making a decisive difference in the prevention, detection and prosecution of crime around the world. Private Citizens represent an underutilized source of assistance in crime control and social decay management. While law abiding citizens are willing and potentially capable of assisting the police, they lack direction and experience. However, with proper supervision and guidance by the police, citizens can contribute to reduction of crime and betterment of society.

 

The Nigeria police have recognized that their crime prevention efforts are limited and largely dependent on citizens reporting and participation. Jane Jacobs (1961) appreciated this long ago. “The first thing to understand is that the public peace…is not kept primarily by the police, necessary as police is. It is kept primarily by an intricate, almost unconscious network of voluntary controls and standards among the people themselves …. No amount of police can enforce civilization where the normal, casual enforcement of it has broken down.” 

 

The public remain the pivot upon which effective policing revolves. Citizens run the institutions. Their involvement and participation are necessary ingredients for community crime prevention and control. 

 

A community crime prevention effort encourages residents to know and recognize their neighbours. It also serves as eyes and ears of the police for spotting and reporting any unusual activity.

 

The concept is of the opinion that the potential victims are themselves in the best position to diminish criminal opportunity, to observe, and to report suspicious activities and to minimize their own vulnerability to crime. The success of Lagos State Neignbourhood Watch in this direction is worth mentioning. In Lagos, neighbourhood watchmen  are recruited, vetted, equipped with vehicular and communication gadgets and police officers deployed  to go on patrol with these neighbourhood watchers, while others are stationed at a given black spots for most part of the day and this have helped in bringing about a reduction in crime in such area as Victoria Island .

 

Community Policing more than Crime Fighting

Community policing is more than crime fighting, in which the community members merely provide “certain crime information”, then the police move to buy this information; as Dandison Ugochukaru Okeke (1996) would want us to believe. It is this perception that limits the scope of community policing. Provision of crime information is less than 30% of what community policing sets out to address. Community policing have proven to be an effective instrument of bringing the police and the people closer together, build partnership, trust, cooperation and problem-solving capabilities, thereby addressing issues within the crime and social decay continuum.

 

                                          Crime/Social Disorder Continuum 

              

Western Traditional Policing                                                            Community Policing

(Police – Public Apart)                Crime/Social Disorder Continuum    (Police – Public Partnership)

Raising Crime Rate & Increasing                                                                            Reducing Crime Rate &             

Social Decay                                                                                                           Improving Social Welfare

 

The more the police and citizens cooperate in implementing community policing to the right of the crime/social disorder continuum the more reduction in crime rate and other social disorder. On the other hand, the more the police and citizens work apart in policing to the left of the continuum the more the increase in crime and other social disorder.

 

 What then is Community Policing?

There are many definitions of Community Policing but for his presentation we will rely on the definition put forward by the US Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). According to COPS, Community Policing refers to:

 “a policing  philosophy that promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes and reduce the fear of crime and social  disorder through the delivery of police services that includes aspects of traditional law enforcement, as well as prevention, problem-solving, community engagement, and partnerships. It balances reactive responses to calls for services with proactive problem-solving centered on the causes of crime and disorder. It requires the police and citizens to join together as partners in the cause of both identifying and effectively addressing the issue of crime,” emphasizes are mine.

 

Africa Traditional Policing

By aspects of traditional law enforcement, COPS have in mind the building of Community Policing functions and structures on an existing traditional crime prevention arrangements within the community itself. But, contrary to this laudable expectation, the Nigeria Version of Community Policing is the direct opposite, leading to failures of the system in all Police Divisions in the country. The system’s disregard for the subsisting community policing structure on ground on its arrival and the institution of strange policing system that not only alienate the people but disorganize the hitherto community’s functional policing capabilities is both worrisome and resistible. The result is rising crime rate and increasing social decay. Crimes and criminality began to increase in geometry progression because the western pattern of policing provides many escape routes for criminals as compared to the indigenous customary policing.

 

Problems of Community Policing in Eleme

Although the police in Eleme headed by DPO, Eleme Police Division, SP Fienyobo Sinclair, an epitome of a well groomed police officer have recorded tremendous success in Eleme making the area relatively peaceful. His achievements are due to his ability to see the burning desire of the people for a safe and secure environment and involve them in policing the area. The support of the people was unreserved but the  real potentials of community policing are deterred or handicapped by poor funding, lack of skilled manpower, dart of modern technology and the national cankerworm called corruption.

 

To complicate matter, our youths who are supposed to use their formative age to pursue education, training and development are being manipulated and lured into various crimes for their sponsors’ socio-political and economic interests. Our youths between the ages of 18 and 40 now constitute reservoir of terrorists’ recruit and cells building; they also dabble into matrimonial matters like divorce and child custody, land cases and boundary disputes and others, resulting in violence, loss of lives and property etc.

 

Indigenous Community Policing

Community policing system is not meant to be photocopied and introduced into any police jurisdiction as did the former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun after his visit to the United States of America to undergo a study of community policing as it negates the central concept, philosophy and operational ability of community policing . The visit which took him to three U.S. police agencies namely, Houston Police Command, Atlanta Police Command and Chicago Police Command between December 2003 and March 2004 exposed him to the operations of the community policing framework and revealed how the strategy brings the people and police closer to reduce crime, prevent neighbourhood decay and improve social welfare. The five months study visit started in Houston, Texas where Mr. Balogun and his entourage were taught the concept and principles of community policing, the importance of decentralization of policing, and the permanent beat assignments for officers thus allowing them to become integral part of the community they serve. The visits to Atlanta and Chicago were no different as Mr. Balogun and his group underwent further training in the operations of community policing as a strategy for crime prevention.

 

But they failed to appreciate the difference between the socio-cultural and economic settings of America and Nigeria. Instead of modernizing our hitherto existing community policing or adopting those elements that fit our system or modify it to suite our local setting we are merely forcing ourselves and attempting to do it the America way and here we are – loss of our once cherished value system, social decay and more crimes. Community policing is indigenous to African societies. It is indigenous to Eleme. Community policing is not a policing concept or philosophy that should come to a people from somewhere, especially when the people already have theirs in place.  

 

What Constitute Community?

Another important aspect of community policing being undermined in Nigeria is what constitutes a community in the context of Community Policing. Jack R. Greene (1988) observed that the most significant problem in community policing strategies is the attempt to define “community “accurately. Greene found that in most community policing programmes, the concept of community is defined in terms of administrative areas  traditionally used by the police to allocate patrols, not in terms of ecological areas” defined by common norms, shared values, and interpersonal bonds. He argues that the police must abandon their traditional patrol allocation methods and key in on the ecological areas to focus on community norms, strengths, and standards.

 

In this regard, Community Policing must key into the people’s traditional crime prevention system, incorporating the already existing community policing and crime control institutions, functions and other structures. 

 

Partnership

Partnership is an indispensable ingredient of community policing. Community policing requires the police, the public, elected officials, government and other agencies working in partnership to address crime and social disorder. As stated earlier there is no single model that fits all communities with their different contexts. What matters is “What Works” for us. We must tailor community policing concept to suit our environment, people, safety and security problems. Community policing is dependent on the coming together of community stakeholders to pursue the goal of improved safety and security as well as reducing incidences of conflicts and its resultant devastations.

 

It requires partnership to be set up in order to generate the pooling of resources towards a common goal.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Process of Partnering

S/NO
PROCESS
DETAILS
1
Scoping
 
Understanding the challenges; gathering information; consulting with stakeholders and potential external resource providers; building vision of the partnership.
2
Identifying
Identify potential partners; securing involvement of suitable partners; motivating them and encouraging them to work together.
3
Building
Building partners’ working relationship through agreeing on the goals, objectives and core principles under pinning the partnership.
4
Planning
 
Partners plan programmes of activities and begin to outline a coherent project.
5
Managing
Partners explore appropriate structure and management techniques for managing the partnership medium to attain set goals.
6
Resources
All stakeholders identify and mobilize cash and non-cash resources for the attainment of the set goals.
7
Implementing
Once resources are in place and project details agreed, the implementation commences work to a pre-determined timetable and specific deliverables.
8
Measuring
This phase involves measuring and reporting on impacts and effectiveness of operations. Outputs and outcomes. Whether or not the partnership is achieving set goals.
9
Reviewing
What is the impact of the partnership on partner organizations? Is it time for some partners to leave and/or new partners to join.
10
Revising
This phase deals with revising the partnership, programme or project in the light of experience.
11
Institutionalizing
Building appropriate structures and mechanisms for the partnership to ensure long-term commitment and continuity.
12
Sustaining or Terminating
Building sustainability or agreeing on an appropriate conclusion.

 

Basic Principles of Community Policing Partnership

For community policing partnership to work efficiently, three basic principles must be jealously guarded. These are equity, transparency and mutual benefit.

 

Rationale for Partnership in Community Policing

ü  Partnership is central to achieving sustainable development.

ü  Partnership recognizes qualities, competencies and new ways of solving crimes and related problems.

ü  It eliminates unhealthy competitions, avoids duplication of efforts and prevents wastage of valuable resources.

ü  It encourages innovative approach to the challenges of security and safety.

ü  It creates the forum for partners to share competencies and capacities in order to achieve both common and complementary goals more effectively, legitimately and sustainably.

ü  It provides access to more resources.

ü  It offers dynamic and new networks for channeling engagement with the wider community and greater capacity to influence policy agenda.

ü  It enforces greater understanding of values and attributes of each sector thus building a more integrated and stable society.

 

Obstacles Militating Against Community Policing in Nigeria

 Although some factors obstructing the deliverability of Community Policing promises to Nigerians have been discussed it is imperative to itemize these additional obstacles for easy reference. They include:

v  Prevailing attitude of skepticism.

v  Rigid/preconceived attitudes about specific sectors and partners.

v  Inflated expectations of what is possible.

v  Inadequate partnering skills.

v  Restricted internal/external authority.

v  Too narrowly focused role/job.

v  Lack of belief in the effectiveness and competence of partners.

v  Conflicting priorities.

v  Competitiveness within sectors.

v  Intolerance of other sectors.

v  Local socio-cultural and economic climate.

v  Scale of challenges/speed of change.

v  Inability to access external resources.

However, most of these obstacles are surmountable with patience, commitment, and effort.

 

How “Ogbe” Survived Western Influence and Judicial Harmer 

In Eleme “Ogbe” have managed to survive both western influence and judicial harmer as an instrument for protecting one’s life and properties, elicit the truth from an offender and ensure confidence. This practice has come under the harmer of the modern judiciary and attack of western education yet its end is far to be imagined. As Chief O. O. Ngofa noted:

     “Inspite of the fact that modern judiciary frowns on the invocation of what they call ‘harmful juju’ the practice of invoking the local deities is on the increase in Eleme, irrespective of the rather high fees and protracted sacrifices that are associated with its invocation and revocation”.   

 

Ogbe has remained an important instrument of investigation, and invocation of investigative juju is the practice of the people that has come to stay despite the onslaught of Christianity and modern judiciary on the practice.

    

Security Implications of Dislodgement of a People’s Culture and Tradition

The result of the concerted dislodgement of the culture and tradition of the people of Eleme is a crash of the value system as against an upsurge of anti-social activities such as increasing levels of violence, robbery, murder, kidnapping, fraud, vandalism, cultism, adulteration, impersonation, immorality of all kinds and types and several other forms of malpractices and crimes. Today, the church is complaining; its instruments of modern socialization have failed to instill discipline and morality in the people. The school is at crossroads, confused and stranded; it is either its storehouse of modern socialization materials has been exhausted or the operators have lost focus. The government is worried; its modern legal system has failed to inculcate fear and checkmate increasing anti-social activities. The society is no longer at ease, it is drifting, things are falling apart, crimes and fear of crimes everywhere, and soon, the center cannot hold except drastic measures are taken now.

Extend Investigation Frontiers

Yet, we must also notice that there are people now, who are still tradition conscious and who would not mind submitting to tradition wherever custom demands. This group is a link and a foundation to build on in our efforts to police the community and control crimes. The frontier of investigation should be extended to include where the suspect or accused hail from so as to subject him to the traditional crime detection and investigative processes. This will ensure:

1.      That timely confession is obtained.

2.      That the innocent is granted freedom as soon as possible.

3.      That only the guilty is convicted.

4.      That the prisons are decongested.

5.      That the society is rid of criminals.

6.      Law-abiding citizens go about their legitimate businesses without crime or fear of crime.

 

The government owns it a duty to encourage the reformation and rehabilitation of all the institutions of traditional courts and politics as they affect community policing and crime control the same way the traditional herbal medicine was done, especially now that community leaders and clan heads are liable to punishment if they knowingly allow any criminal activities go unpunished in their locality. Supernatural devices such as Ogbe and Ejor should be considered in crime detection or establishing guilt or innocence of an accused or a suspect.

 

Why less Crime in Pre-colonial Societies?

The use of supernatural devices to detect crime, establish guilt or proof innocence of an accused or suspect accounted for less crime in folk societies and is not peculiar to Eleme. This section shall therefore rely extensively on the book, “Community Policing & Crime Control in Pre-Colonial Eleme: Issues and Perspectives” by Osaro Ollorwi (2012).

There were many reasons for less crime in pre-colonial Nigerian societies. Life in the society was such that less chance existed for individual deviation. Members were interested in one another as persons. They confided hopes, fears and shared experiences, gossiped together and filled the needs for intimate human companionship. In sum, there was intimacy, sympathy and a comfortable sharing of many interests and activities.

 

“But, these were not all; norms were enforced with impunity and individual fears of the forces of nature and of the gods, were not small in coercing individuals into conformity. This is the type of societies that Stanislas Spero Adotevi (2007) described as ‘Happy and just societies, with no problems and without malice’. 

 

“Writing about crime control in societies under similar cultural setting Laura Bohannan(1966) stated that the maintenance of peace and order within a folk society “is not the function of a system or of a structural integration of systems, but the compound result of the roles and values of various persons and institutions”. Ours is a look into how the “various persons and institutions” that have been responsible for community policing and crime control in the various societies. 

 

“He observed that among the Tiv, power to deal with witchcraft whose manifestation on the bewitched were illness, bad luck, bareness and death were with the hands of the elders in the gerontocracy. A man bewitched looks for his enemy; someone known to possess “tsav” hence someone influential, whom he has offended, wronged or given cause for envy. He then summons the elders to remedy the situation. This remedy consists of a wholly secular arbitration of the reasons for his bewitchment, the ceremonial reparation of the damage it has already done to health or luck and a ritual reconciliation between himself, the elders and all possible witches.

 

“Thus through the mediation, the elders exercise a restraining control not only on the trouble makers who disturb the community and its elders but also on the wealthy and influential members of the community who found the association of witchcraft with all manifestations of good and evil in man and in the world.

 

“According to E. E. Evans-Pritchard (1972), among the Azande witches who have been detected to have bewitched their victims to death are brought before a Prince’s Poison Oracle who then authorizes vengeance or indemnity. If his victim is ill and is not seriously injured, he is asked to reverse his action and save the life of the victim.

 

“David Tait (1953) discussed at length, crime control among the segmented society of Konkomba. According to him, theft and cases of homicide were dealt with by the elders and whatever decisions were made had the backing of the clan head. Although homicides were quite uncommon, Tait described an attempt by Nnekwe who wanted to kill his agnate at a market place and says that, ‘he was punished by ostracism’.

 

“Theft was controlled by the use of a Kaka shrine. At the shrine were trees in which lived swarms of bees which were believed to sting an unconfessed thief to death. If a thief confessed, he would buy a guinea fowl to be sacrificed on the shrine. This is much more like the ordeal of ‘Chu’ in Ochani community of Ejamah in Ebubu clan.

 

“The place of diviners in community policing and traditional crime detection is of importance. Since “finger-prints technique” of detecting crime, Police Dogs, CIDs and so on was absent, a system of detecting hidden criminals rested on the supernatural with diviners as their mediums.

 

“Among the Azande, diviners were employed to detect witches and sorcerers who lurked under the incognito of spiritualism to destroy lives and cause havoc.

 

“The Efiks administered ‘esere’ bean, the seed of ‘physostigma venemosum’, to persons suspected of witchcraft. According to P. A. Talbot, if it caused death it indicated crime, if vomiting without death, innocence.

 

“Charles K. Meek (1931) in his Ibo law described a number of ways in which the traditional Ibo of Nsukka area of Nigeria used to deal with her criminals. Among others, he mentioned the supernatural powers of Ale Cult who in fact acted as ‘the unseen president of the community’ with powers to punish homicide, kidnapping, poisoning, stealing farm products, adultery, etc. This is reminiscent to the activity of ‘Ogbe’ in Eleme….

“Other methods of community policing and treating criminals in pre-colonial Ibo land as revealed by the same author ranged from killing and selling into slavery to heavy compensation and fines. A murderer was forced to suicide by hanging himself.

 

“On their part Forde Daryl and Jones G. I. noted that among the Ibibio and Annang peoples of southern Nigeria ‘Mbiam’ is used to detect and control crime.

 

“Describing the powers of Ogbe to detect and control crime among the Eleme people, Chief O. O. Ngofa (2006) narrated thus: ‘If a farmer stores his yams in the barn and a thief goes there in the night to steal some, the owner may upon discovering it, invoke a powerful deity (Ogbe) to kill the thief. This is believed to happen, as the thief will surely be killed in unusual circumstances’.

 

“The influence of ‘Ogbe’ among the Eleme people was presented in a letter reference number 682/62 of 24th November 1947 by S. Holland, Acting District Officer in charge of Ogoni Division who reported that the people of Eleme fear and respect juju (Ogbe). He observed that Ogbe is ‘a part of the people’s lives – a large and fearful part’. It is this ‘fear and respect’  that forms the vital ingredients for community policing and crime control in pre-colonial Eleme and have helped to maintain the status quo as I have seen in action in several communities and villages in and around Eleme.”

 

During the media chat on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) recently, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan lamented the predicaments of our present legal system observing that “to get a criminal convicted you require above 90 percent proof beyond all reasonable doubts”. The President told Nigerians that he preferred the traditional system of handling cases whereby both parties state their case, followed by cross examinations and then the judgment. No adjournments and no delays; with minimum cost while ensuring equity, transparency and accountability at all levels.

 

Commenting on the influence of Ogbe in Eleme P. A. Talbot (1969) declared that: “No supernatural influence need be called in to explain the effect which the invocation of juju undoubted has on a guilty person. The power of thought would seem sufficient to account for, at any rate, most of the consequences”.

 

Osaro Ollorwi concluded that, “The beliefs inculcated in the minds of the people of Eleme had been so great that despite the penetration of Christianity into the area and the expansion of western education in Eleme for over a century now, the belief in the supernatural powers of “Ogbe” is still prevailing. Right now, if anything necessitating doubts happens to an Eleme man, he would resort to his forefathers’ way of doing things, which, of course, includes the belief in ogbe/ancestral spirit and how it could be appeased. If he does not think in that line, someone else or a relative would remind him of it.  In many cases, an Eleme man relies heavily on his forefathers’ way of worship”.

 

Every community has its indigenous system of policing and crime control before the advert of modern civilization. Therefore, a clarion call for community policing in the right sense of the word, as against the clamor for State Police, is necessary to conclude this presentation. Thank you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX A

 

INSTITUTIONS OF COMMUNITY POLICING &

CRIME CONTROL IN PRE-COLONIAL ELEME

 

All communities in Eleme have the same basic social structure that encourages the existence of agreeable human groups with specific social functions. These groups are responsible for policing the communities – maintaining peace and stability. The groups are:

S/N
INSTITUTION
DESCRIPTION
FUNCTION
a.                                     TRADITIONAL INSTITUTIONS
1.
Oku כtכ
Family group made up of smaller units agreeing with kindred lines.
Settles minor disputes between members of the same family.
2.
Oku כ'e
Extended family which owns a hall and maintains one shrine.
Settles disputes between members of the same family in matters of assault, stealing, boundaries, inheritance, adultery, witchcraft, invocation of juju, and other forms of misdemeanor. 
3.
Oku Omu
Age grade to which all males belong.
Settles disputes between people of the same age group resulting to assault, slander, issue of threat, invocation of juju, and other matrimonial cases.
4.
Oku εgbara
Uninitiated adult men below Oku Ekpo but higher than Asama.
They assist the elders implement their decisions; promote communal work, security, control social decay, and perform traditional entertainment such as: wrestling, dancing, and singing.
5.
Mba εta
Organization of Women selected on age and representative basis
Regulates the activities of women; ensures high morality and discipline among women.
6.
Oku εta
The Chief (כnε εε εta) and his elders (Oku ekpo).
They constitute Owe Ebo Ete court and adjudicate in disputes between two or more persons or between two families concerning land tenure, divorce, custody of children, stealing, boundaries, inheritance, adultery, witchcraft, invocation of juju, defamation of character, rape, elopement, and so on.
7.
Oku Nkpכrכ
Group of Initiated men with the highest judicial powers and authority.
They constitute Owe Nkpכrכ court and adjudicate in more serious matters requiring urgent or detailed investigation such as murder, witchcraft, inheritance, land tenure, divorce, custody of children, stealing, boundaries, adultery, right of burial, invocation of juju, rape, and so on at the appropriate levels of the society. 
8.
Oku Nyכã
Oku nyכã are group of initiated elders led by כnε Nkikε (traditional Prim Minister/Land Priest). Nkikε (Mother goddess or Earth-Spirit) is the only Deity that directly relates to the foundation of a community or village and its protection. It is the mother that sustains all living things and receives all of them back to its stomach. The position is hereditary and it is confined to the lineage or family of the original founder of the community. 
כnε Nkikε (Traditional Prime Minister/Land Priest and Leader of Oku nyכã) exercises spiritual and administrative powers. He performs Ajija ritual for cleansing of Pregnant but unmarried girls and Owaraekpaa Osila (first daughter ritual). He appoints and installs כnε εε εta on the active advice of Oku Nkpכrכ; receives and performs the duties of כεε εta if found guilty of gross misconduct or upon demise of an incumbent until a successor is appointed and installed. He ensures that things are done in accordance with custom and tradition. He commands the respect of the gods in the community.    
b.                     SUPERNATURAL DEVICES/INSTITUTIONS & SECRET SOCIETIES
9.
Eji
These are ancestral spirits – that is, spirits of all who have lived and died. They are known as Oku Eji and dwell in a separate spiritual kingdom known as εta Eji.
They exercise spiritual power and authority and are believed to be ever watchful, powerful and able to help or punish any person. They communicate through dreams and their feelings merely conjectured. They administer divine justice by blessing the good and punishing the bad. And since they cannot be seen or heard, there is always no appeal against the decisions of Oku Eji.
 
 
 
 
 
10.
Ejכ
These are deities or gods such as Ejilee, Onura, Ebaajor, Mbie, Ejamaaejor Ogbenwata, Ndorwa, Osarobinmkpa and others. They are known as Oku Ejכ and dwell in a separate spiritual kingdom known as εta Ejכ. They are believed to be somehow senior and superior to Oku Eji.
They act as agents to כbari (God). They communicate directly through the human consciousness of the priest or medium. In this way they reveal secrets, prescribe remedies or answer questions put to them, and administer divine justice. They have the power of life and dead. Thus, can kill the guilty or spare the life of the innocent.
 
11.
Ogbe
These are supernatural devices such as Ogbenwata, Ejilee, Onura, Ebaajor, Ndorwa Nkiken, Nnani, etc. they can be owned individual or by the community.
They exercise both political and social powers to maintain calm. They have power to end or spare life. Ogbe are the most effective instruments of investigation, crime detection and dispute resolution. They are soldiers of solidarity of friendship and guarantors for security of life and property. They are traditional courts of last resort.
12.
Kpripkε
Secret society of noblemen.
They are exposers of deviants and revealers of anti-social behaviour of individuals irrespective of social status. They administer punishment as directed by the elders and assist the elders in executing their decisions. They are agents of social control and political cohesion.
c.                                                     OTHERS
13.
εsכ כkiã εbiε
This is a musical rendition by a designated singer, sometimes accompanied with “Ekere”, sometimes not.
It is used to expose immorality and to reveal whatever crime that was committed in secret by individual or family lineage whether the culprit is living or dead. It is an agent of social control.
“Community Policing & Crime Control in Pre-Colonial Eleme: Issues and Perspectives” by Osaro Ollorwi (2012)

 

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