Kaduna and Zamfara States recorded the highest number of police fatalities between 2015 and 2020, a report has revealed.
The report, titled ‘Under Attack: The Travails of Nigeria Police’, was put together by SBM Intel, the Lagos-based research and strategic communications consulting firm focused on data analytics.
The report showed that between 2015 and 2020, every state in the country recorded a case of police fatality resulting from an attack on their station or during the discharge of their duties.
However, the report showed that when the events leading up to and after police fatalities are closely studied, other people are caught in the crossfire. The report said that more people died in these incidents than police officers themselves, across all the states in the country.
These deaths are often due to reprisal attacks by the police with unarmed civilians being the worst victims, the report noted.
It added that in this instance, Kaduna reported 360 deaths and Zamfara State recorded 209 deaths within the period under review. Both states accounted for the highest casualties.
“The high numbers in Kaduna and Zamfara is partly due to activities of bandits who often target police officers and installations,” the report revealed.
Furthermore, the report showed that while Bauchi, Jigawa and Kebbi have each recorded a single case of police fatality over a period of six years, the numbers are quite high for Delta (44), Rivers (38) and Edo (30).
“One interesting twist is that the states with the highest cases of police fatalities are concentrated in the South-South geopolitical zone of the country while those with the least are in the North-East and North-West zones – regions with greater insecurity issues resulting from terrorism and banditry.
“We believe that the low number of police attacks and fatalities in the North-West and North-East are as a result of their relatively little engagement in those regions.
“Because of the compounding insecurity issues in both regions, the military have taken over the job of ensuring peace and security in the area including the primary job of the police – policing.”
The report noted that policing in a country of about 200 million people is a difficult exercise.
“The UN-recommended police-population ratio is 1:400,” it said, adding that in Nigeria, however, it is 1:600.
“It does not help much that the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission are currently locked in an egotistical tussle over the right to recruit constables into the force,” the report said.
“This is depriving the force of the much needed manpower to guard fringe communities and rural areas, some of which have just 30 officers policing over a hundred communities.”
The report noted that the Nigerian Police has a bad reputation among citizens, and this bad reputation was the key factor that drove the protests in October and attacks on police formations by rioters after the protests had been broken up.
On October 30, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, claimed that 22 policemen were killed during the protests.
Meanwhile, the report noted that when total fatalities between 2015-2017 and that of more recent years (2018-2020) are compared, it was found that in most states, there were more fatalities in recent years than in previous years.
Twenty five states recorded more fatalities in 2018- 2020 than the previous years while nine states; (Adamawa, Bauchi, Cross River, Enugu, Gombe, Kano, Kogi, Osun and Plateau) recorded lesser fatalities in 2018-2020 than in 2015-2017, it added.
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