A new survey by SBM Intelligence, Nigeria’s geopolitical intelligence platform, notes that the death of police officers as a result of attacks is higher in the south-south region than other parts of the country.
The report titled “Under Attack: The Travails of Nigeria’s Police” and dated November 2020, explained that the poor relationship between the police and members of the society resulted in the nationwide #EndSARS protests which took place in October 2020.
The SBM report revealed that more police deaths have been recorded in the south-south region in the last six years.
Leading the fatality figures is Delta state with 44 deaths, followed by Rivers with 38, while 30 officers have died in Edo.
Other states in the region were listed as follows: Bayelsa, 21 deaths; Cross River, 11; and Akwa Ibom, nine deaths.
Bauchi, Jigawa and Kebbi have the lowest casualties with a single case of police fatality between 2015 and 2020.
The report explained that the low number of cases in the north-west and north-east is as a result of soldiers taking over the function of police in their efforts to combat terrorism and banditry.
According to the report, “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.”
SMB Intelligence said there are more civilian fatalities in connection with police fatalities, than actual deaths of policemen.
It explained that “these deaths are often due to reprisal attacks by the police and unarmed civilians are the worst victims.”
“While Kaduna (360) and Zamfara (209) saw the highest number of deaths, Jigawa and Kebbi had just one death each. The high numbers in Kaduna and Zamfara is partly due to activities of bandits who often target police officers and installations,” it reads.
“While the North-West geopolitical zone has the highest number of total deaths in incidents involving police attacks, the South-South zone records the highest cases of police fatalities.”
The report also faulted rivalry between the Nigeria police force and the police service commission in recruitment of officers.
It urged compliance with the United Nations-recommended police-population ratio of 1:400 as against 1:600 as seen in Nigeria.