Are we in a civil war?

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Punch Newspapers on the 1st of May 2019 reported that the acting Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Adamu, said 1,071 persons lost their lives in crime-related cases across the country in the first quarter of 2019. In this same period 685 people were kidnapped. Yemi Kale, Nigeria’s statistician general in a tweet on the back of this news summed it up when he tweeted: ‘’This will be 8 people kidnapped and 12 people killed every day. If this data is correct and properly reported then it’s more serious than I thought’’.

Like Yemi Kale, many of us do not realize that the state of insecurity in Nigeria today is more serious than we think. I urge you to think about some related facts when you think about this. Firstly, all over the world security agencies always understate casualties to the public. So, if the Inspector General says 1071 deaths, pluck a number from the sky and add to that figure to get a near approximate. Secondly, note that crime in Nigeria is largely unreported, so the Inspector General’s data is based on the number of cases reported to the police.

Thirdly, we are not sure the Inspector General stats includes the Boko Haram related deaths or the 260 people reported by Reuters to have lost their lives during the 2019 elections – campaign stampedes, election violence, extra judicial killings and the like. Let us assume the figures quoted by the Inspector General of Police are near correct, the question then that I ask is whether these figures do not put Nigeria in a civil war situation? It will be interesting to compare this 1071 deaths in 3 months with death statistics for actual civil wars and see where the numbers take us.

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