The Socio-Economic Impact Of The Use Of Vigilante Groups On Security Management (A Case Study Of Ihiagwa, Autonomous Community, Imo State)

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

The Socio-Economic Impact Of The Use Of Vigilante Groups On Security Management (A Case Study Of Ihiagwa, Autonomous Community, Imo State)


This study was carried out in four villages in Ihiagwa autonomous community to determine the socio-economic impact of the use of vigilante in security management. 120 people were interviewed with the structured questionnaire which comprised residents of the community and members of the vigilante group.

Data was analyzed and presented using frequency distribution, percentage and tables. Empirical findings from the study show that all the villages surveyed had a functional vigilante group which provided security services.

The study also revealed that the absence of vigilante in the past resulted in a high rate of criminal activities in the community. It also showed that if the vigilante groups are properly empowered they would provide better security services.

In view of the findings, community leaders and the government are advised to encourage the formation of more vigilante groups to help in security management at the community levels.

Table of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Declaration page
  • Certification
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of contents
  • List of table
  • Abstract

Chapter One


  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Hypothesis/Research questions
  • 1.3.1 Hypothesis
  • 1.4 Purpose of the study
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Definition of terms

Chapter Two

Review Of Literature

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.1.1 Security situation in the globe especially in Nigeria
  • 2.1.2 Meaning of security threat
  • 2.1.3 Types of security threat
  • 2.1.4 The various security groups in Nigeria offering security services.
  • 2.1.5 The importance of security
  • 2.1.6 The various security groups in pre-colonial Nigeria
  • 2.1.7 The various security groups in colonial and post-colonial Nigeria
  • 2.1.8 The organization of vigilante groups for effective performance.
  • 2.1.9 The mode of operation of vigilante groups
  • 2.1.10 Instruments used
  • 2.1.11 Effects of vigilante group in crime reduction
  • 2.1.12 The socio-economic impact on the use of vigilante
  • 2.1.13 Residents perception towards the use of vigilante
  • 2.1.14 Recommendations on how to make the use of the vigilante more effective
  • 2.2 Theoretical framework
  • 2.2.1 Idealism
  • 2.2.2 Realism
  • 2.2.3 Pluralism
  • 2.2.4 Marxism
  • 2.2.5 Social constructivism
  • 2.2.6 Human security

Chapter Three

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Design of study
  • 3.2 Study Area
  • 3.3 Population of the study
  • 3.4 Sample size
  • 3.5 Sampling techniques
  • 3.6 Data collection techniques
  • 3.7 Instrumentation
  • 3.8 Validation of the instrument
  • 3.9 Administration of instrument
  • 3.10 Data Analysis technique
  • 3.11 Limitation of the study

Chapter Four

Results, Analysis And Findings

  • 4.1 Results

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion And Recommendations

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendices
  • Appendix A – Questionnaire

List Of Tables

Table Title

  • 4.0 Distribution of questionnaire returned
  • 4.1 Sex distribution of respondents
  • 4.2 Age distribution of respondent
  • 4.3 Marital status of respondents
  • 4.4 Religious Affiliation of respondents
  • 4.5 Educational qualification of respondents
  • 4.6 Occupational status of respondents
  • 4.7 Security challenges faced in the community
  • 4.8 Existence of vigilante group in the community
  • 4.9 Help received from vigilante group
  • 4.10 Areas were help was received from vigilante
  • 4.11 Payment of vigilante services
  • 4.12 The vigilante group has helped in curbing crime
  • 4.13 Crime rate as at the time there was no vigilante
  • 4.14 Vigilante group membership is voluntary
  • 4.15 Criminal activities that led to the formation of the vigilante group.
  • 4.16 Vigilante group has helped in curbing crime rate in community
  • 4.17 Vigilante group has dedicated lines through which they can be reached
  • 4.18 Instruments used by vigilante group in apprehending criminals.
  • 4.19 Patrol vehicles used
  • 4.20 Members of vigilante are paid for services rendered
  • 4.21 Sources of fund for vigilante group
  • 4.22 Qualification for joining vigilante group
  • 4.23 Methods of enforcing security in community by vigilante members
  • 4.24 Ways culprits are dealt with when apprehended
  • 4.25 Time of the day service is rendered
  • 4.26 Challenges encountered as a vigilante
  • 4.27 Calculating data for hypothesis

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

A layman definition of security is the protection of life and property of a person. The word security emanated from the Greek word se-cura, meaning “to be in a state of no fear”. The concept of security has undergone a transition conceptualization to a non-traditional meaning. Traditionally, security management was the unilateral function of the state especially if we consider the intellectual view(s) of some political theorist like Thomas Hobbes (1962) who argued that the essence of a state is to guarantee the security of lives and property and ensure law and order through its political sovereignty and monopoly of violence, which the state applies to engender strict conformity and compliance to state laws by the people for effective security management.

But in contemporary times, the definition of security goes beyond the traditional military ways of protecting the state against internal and external aggression. The fact is that since the end of the cold war, security management has assumed a new dimension.

External threat of security resulting from international hostilities and aggression that characterized the cold war era, has been replaced with non traditional security, threat like information warfare, drug trafficking, nuclear pollutions, kidnapping, insurgency, corruption, human trafficking, terrorism and so forth.

Now the government has realized that they can no longer monopolize the business of security in the local domain as well as the world at large. Here in Nigeria, the agencies in charge of security management which comprises of the police, military, civil defence and so forth has failed woefully due to corruption, insufficient numbers of personnel and so on. As a result of this failure we have recognized that traditional policing in the form of vigilantism is necessary and beneficial to the effective management of security. With the government recognizing the vigilante groups and empowering them to help in crime management in their various communities, crime will not only be prevented, but there will be peace and security.

Since the members of the various vigilante groups are members of the community who are acquainted with the people, understand the culture of the people, grew up knowing the norms of their communities, and also the terrain, that is they know the nook and crannies of their communities, so that it will be difficult for an offender to hide. With the vigilante groups in charge, security will be guaranteed at the community levels while the police will have the time to do the wider work of National policing.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

With the increase in population in Ihiagwa occasioned by the presence of two Federal Institutions: Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) and Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri in nearby communities, the issue of security has become a great challenge. There is a gradual rise in the incidence of armed robbery, house breaking, kidnapping, rape, cultism, theft, fraud, bag snatching and so forth. As a result of these, residents of the community now live in fear as it is uncertain who will be the next victim. It is widely acknowledged that the police alone cannot effectively police every section of the country in view of the limited number of their personnel, coupled with the fact that they are poorly equipped.

The Scenario suggests the need for a community based security system for tackling security problem. This is based on the premise that security services will be much more effective if provided by people within the community as they are well acquainted with the terrain and people within their area of operation. It therefore presupposes that there is dare need of the use of control groups performed from the community to help curb the insecurity surge. This therefore tries to look into the use of vigilante in helping the police and the community solve insecurity challenge. To examine if the vigilante would provide effective security service.

1.3 Hypothesis / Research Questions

1.3.1 Hypothesis

The activities of vigilante has significantly improved security in Ihiagwa community.

1.3.2 Research Questions
  1. What is the security situation in Ihiagwa
  2. Who are the different vigilante groups offering security services in the study area.
  3. How are the vigilante groups organized to effectively carry out their work.
  4. What impact has the use of vigilante made social economically?
  5. What recommendations can be made concerning the use of vigilante?

1.4 Purpose Of The Study

  1. To describe the security situation in Ihiagwa.
  2. To identify vigilante groups offering security services in Ihiagwa
  3. To examine the mode of operation of vigilante groups in the study area.
  4. To ascertain the socio-economic impact on the use of vigilante.
  5. To ascertain residents perception towards the use of vigilante groups in maintaining security.
  6. To make recommendation on how to make the use of vigilante more effective in security management.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

A) Theoretically

This study will serve as a veritable material for those who want to conduct research on security related issues.

B) Practically

This study is expected to provide relevant information to voluntary security agencies in community based security management. It will also assist policy makers in formulating policies on community based security issues.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

This research limits itself to the socio-economic impact on the use of vigilante in security management. Its scope will be limited to Ihiagwa autonomous community in Imo state.

The town Ihiagwa is organized into eight villages namely; Iriamogu, Ibuzo, Nnkaramochie, Umuezeawula, Umuelem, Umuchima. Mboke and Akulumu Okwo villages. However, this research shall be carried out in four villages out of the eight villages due to the large size of our population of study. The four villages are Umuelem, Mboke, Umuchima and Ibuzo villages.

1.7 Definition Of Terms

Al Shabab:

A terrorist group in Somalia.


To declare support for somebody or something you represent, a person group.

Anthropogenic factor:

This means caused by humans (anthropogenic degradation of the environment)


The term usually involves a target killing of any political leaders or any other person for ideological or political or military or even economic reasons.


This is the level of guarantee that a security system will behave as expected.

Armed robbery:

This is a type of robbery that involve the use of weapons.

Bag snatching:

This is the act of snatching a targets bag by a thief.

Berlin Wall:

Fortified wall surrounding West Berlin, Germany, but in 1961 to prevent East German citizens traveling to the West. Its demolition in 1989 marked the end of the cold war.


This is the crime of threatening to reveal substantially true information about a person to the public, a family member or associates unless a demand made upon the victim is met.

Boko Haram:

A terrorist group in Nigeria


Unreasoning over-enthusiastic or aggressive patriotism.

Cold War Era:

Hostile but not violent communist western relations: the hostile yet non violent relations between former Soviet Union and the United States, and their respective allies from around 1946-1989.


This is the misuse of official powers for illegitimate private gains.

Counter measure:

A counter measures is a way to stop a treat from triggering a risk event.

Defence in depth:

This means never rely on a single security measure alone.

Domestic violence:

This is a form of violent crime in which a person carries out violence against another person within the same household.

Drug trafficking:

This is a global black market consisting of distribution and sale of illegal controlled drugs.


Is a criminal offence, which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity or institution through coercion.


The false representation of a matters of fact, whether by words or by conduct.


A person who use computer to gain unauthorized access to data.


This is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft either by an individual or by a group.


Dreadful sufficiently unpleasant, frightening or shocking as to provoke horror.

Human trafficking:

This is the practice of people being tricked, lured, coerced or otherwise removed from their home or country, and then forced to work with no or low payment or on terms which are highly exploitative.

Information warfare:

Is any action to deny, exploit, corrupt, or destroy the nay’s information and its function while protecting oneself against similar action.


This is an armed struggle or rebetting aimed to challenge the sovereign power of a constituted authority.


The unlawful taking and carrying away of a human being by force and against his or her own will.

Nuclear pollution:

This are produced by nuclear explosions.


Cause division of opinion to make the difference between groups or ideas ever more clear cut and extremes, hardening re opposition between them or became ever more clear cut and extreme in the way.


Ways that something works. The methods, procedures, or processes involved in the way something works or is done.


Is the unlawful act of engaging another person in sexual intercourse through the use of physical force.


Somebody seeking safe place: somebody who seeks to take refuge in a foreign country, especially, to avoid war or persecution.


A risk is a possible event which could cause a loss.


Is an all encompassing condition in which an individual citizens live in freedom, peace and safety; participate fully in the process of governance, enjoy the protection of fundamental rights, have access to resources and the basic necessities of life and inhabit an environment which is not detrimental to their health and well being.

Security threat:

This is anything that threatens the residents of a community or the things they value.


The authority of a state to govern itself or another state.


A sudden or abrupt strong increase.


A fundamentalist Muslim movement whose militia took control of Afghanistan from early 1995, and in 1996 Kabul.


This is extraordinary violence. It is intended to create massive fear and involves a planned attack for a purpose often against something or someone.


The unlawful taking and carrying away of another person’s [property with intent of depriving the owner of property.


This is a method of triggering a risk event that is dangerous.


This is an identifiable person who has been harmed individually and directly by the perpetrator, rather that the whole society as a whole.


A members of a volunteers committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily.


Is a weakness in a target that can potentially be explored by security threat.

Westphalia period:

The period around 1815.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusions And Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This section of the chapter gives a summary of the major highlights of the research study from chapter one to five.
The study started with the introduction, which looks at the background of security. It also discussed the problems associated with the government monopolizing the management of security. The various objectives of this study were outlined, these were followed by the hypothesis and formulated research questions. The purpose of the study were also outlined. This was also closely followed by the significance of the study, which is divided into the theoretical and practical significance. The scope was also discussed.

The views and opinions of some scholars relating to the subject matter were x-rayed. These were treated under the literature review, while the various theories relevant to this study were also treated here.

The methodology adopted in this study which includes: the research design, the study area, population of the study, sample size, sampling techniques, data analysis techniques and limitation of the study were also written down.

The collected data from the field were presented using simple percentage and tables while chi-square (X2) statistical method was used to test the research hypothesis. The study was summarized, with recommendations and conclusion.

5.2 Conclusion

Based on the findings from the research study, it was observed that the use of vigilante groups in security management has helped in improving the socio-economic life of the people as the people now know peace in their community, this is because criminal elements are now afraid to carry put their nefarious activities since the vigilante members who know the nooks and crannies of the community are always seen around patrolling around the community.

It was also observed that the villagers feel more free to report criminal cases to the vigilante members because they spend no transport in getting to them, it involves to technicalities and they are more conversant with the vigilante members who hails from their own community.

5.3 Recommendations

In view of the security problems in the country, the following recommendations were made.

  1. Community leaders in various communities should encourage the formation of vigilante groups in their communities.
  2. Government should also encourage the formation of vigilante groups as the Nigeria police alone cannot handle the security challenges in the country.
  3. The vigilante should be given better weapons to combat criminals, weapons like Taser, pepper spray and bullet proof vests should be given or provided for the vigilante members to combat sophisticated criminals.
  4. Patrol vehicles should also be provided for the vigilante to patrol the community more effectively.

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