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Crime in Nigeria - statistics & facts

Political instability, citizen alienation, terrorism and violence define the Nigerian crime scene. Nigeria has recently been included among the countries with the least peace in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. It is the 18th less peaceful state. In addition, Nigeria is the sixth country most affected by terrorism, based on the Global Terrorism Index. One further serious threat in Nigeria is the risk of mass killing, or genocide. Nigeria is the second country in Africa with the highest risk of genocide and the sixth worldwide. This risk is influenced by a population of over 200 million people, a high child mortality rate, ongoing battle-related deaths, the country's own history of mass killing, and its ethnic fractionalization.

Internally, Lagos is the most affected state in terms of the number of crimes in Nigeria. Lagos State has the largest city in Nigeria and in the whole of Africa, Lagos. Nationwide, crimes against property and persons are the most numerous types of offences reported to the police. Most of the property offence cases are related to theft and stealing in general, cheating and fraud, as well as false pretences. Regarding crime against persons, assaults and grievous harm injuries are the most frequently registered offences. A large number of recorded crimes have been committed by the Nigerian police and army in recent years. In 2017, young people in Nigeria started to share their experiences of violence and assault by police officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), starting a movement called #EndSARS. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was disbanded, but police brutality has not ended. In October 2020, 12 people died during a peaceful protest in Lagos, killed by the Nigerian police, and dozens died throughout the country.

Weak institutions might be a major cause behind authoritarian and violent police as well as prevalent corruption. Even if the perception of corruption is not a reflection of the actual status, it can indicate the population's trust in public offices. Recent surveys analyzed the prevalence of bribes, corruption, nepotism and vote-buying in Nigeria. The results showed that paying bribes is quite widespread, as 30 percent of respondents declared to have paid a bribe to a public official or were asked to pay a bribe by a public official in the last months. Public bodies more likely to receive or ask for bribes include police officers, land registry officers, tax and revenue officers, public utility officers, the Federal Road Safety Corps, and prosecutors. A similar trend was observed in cases of nepotism. Around 20 percent of respondents experienced vote-buying in organized elections, slightly more in rural than in urban areas.


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