REVEALED: Why Yorubas call Nigeria Police ‘Ọlọ́pàá’

Police in 70s and early 80s

In the Colonial Era, the colonial law which was brought to replace the folk and communal laws we had in different established societies in the different regions which would later be amalgamated to become Nigeria.

These new set of laws needed a defined body in charge of enforcement so this brought about the creation of the Nigerian Police in the year 1820 and as this arm of the colonial government existed with different tribal societies and English isn’t our first language, we had to device or invent our own words in our language to describe this new addition to society.


In the early days of the Nigeria, even up to the 70s and maybe 80s, the Nigerian Police never had guns of any kind, they were given sticks to use in the enforcement of laws, unlike what we have today, where Police officers are given guns, they were given sticks back in the day.


This prompted Yoruba people to refer to them as ‘Ọlọ́pàá’ which means A person with a stick.


My question now is, should the language be revised now that they have guns and we start calling them “Onibon” ? A person with a gun?

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