Looking for the most dangerous states in Nigeria?
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous Nation is currently plagued with a plethora of problems. Perhaps prominent among them are reoccurring security challenges. Security is big on the Nigerian agenda; Elections have been won and lost on the subject. On a deeper note, the peculiar situation in the country has carved a rather appalling position for itself on the headlines of international and local Media.
The line between Boko Haram, an Islamic extremists group seeking to enthrone Sharia law across all Nigerian states and wider insecurity across the country is now rapidly converging. Insecurity has come to characterize the lives of many Nigerians, and most have learnt to acknowledge the intractability of the threats they now face.
From Herdsmen killing, Boko Haram attacks, robberies, ethno-religious violence and most recently secessionist threats, the country never seems to run out of security bottlenecks.
Unfortunately, some states in the country has had to bear the greater brunt of this security challenges. Even more disturbing is the fact that some are unluckily trapped at the very epicenter of this existential threats.
How do we stay safely away from this flash points? Just which states are security threats more problematic? As businessmen, which states pose greater security risk to our investments? Read on as we investigate the top ten most dangerous states in Nigeria today.
10. Lagos State
Lagos state is a rather controversial addition to this list. Though perceived as relatively safe, Lagos state with a population of 21 million is not free security challenges.
The danger in Lagos is mostly in the form of domestic violence, social vices and general lack of safety principles. Unlike other states on the list, immediate threats from terrorist groups or armed militia is not the main concern. However cases of theft, sexual assault, cultism and strings of organized crime are rapidly on the rise. Among safety concerns in Lagos are greater chances of fire outbreaks; with dozens of cases of tanker explosions this year alone. General disregard for traffic laws as well as increased risk of assault.
A recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ranked Lagos as the third worst city to live in among 140 cities world-wide. Though this ranking is highly refuted, it nonetheless reflects a general sense of insecurity in the state. The Thomson Reuters Foundation also rated Lagos the eight most dangerous city for women, a damning rating by all accounts.
9. Nasarawa State
Like Benue and other North Central States, skirmishes between cattle herders and farmers represents a major security issue in Nasarawa. Sharing borders with Benue has bad implications for the state; spill over violence between farmers and herdsmen during clashes in Benue mostly Stoke up more deadly flames. Militias and bandits from Benue take advantage of Nasarawa’s close proximity to unleash terror on the residents of the state. Multiple cases of communal clashes also add to the already tensed security atmosphere.
Communal clashes between Bassa and Egbira communities resulting in multiple deaths have also added to the basket of challenges currently plaguing the state.
Robbery syndicates take advantage of such security loopholes to deprive honest citizens of hard earned money and properties.
8. Kwara State
Kwara state is currently plague with a plethora of security hiccups. Cultism has permeated deeply into the political and socioeconomic activities of the state usually resulting in deadly clashes. Armed robbery in the state has also recently came to the limelight, most notably the April 5,2018 deadly armed robbery attacks which led to the deaths of 17 policemen and several civilians.
Another major security issue is rampant ritual killings, a crime where marauders capture, mutilate and kill people for body parts. An outstanding case is the recent burst of a human parts syndicate who trafficked over 31 human skull with different vital organs.
7. Zamfara State
Nigeria’s rapid rise in demand for beef presents devastating consequences for nomadic states like Zamfara. Though largely fertile but generally underdeveloped, the northwestern state has been unstable for many years.
Government intervention and control in the state is still very lax, despite having a long history of banditry traced back to as early as 1901 – with verbally passed down Stories of over 210 traders once murdered by bandits in a single run.
The tragedy is that, even today, control is so weak that bandits can stroll into remote villages with guns openly displayed. In some areas, the circumvent the state laws, literally becoming the local authorities. In June, over 18 villages and towns were under control of local bandits, with little to no security presence.
6. Kaduna State
Kaduna state is not “inexperienced” with violence; the centrally located state has battled with cycles of violence for over 40 years. Like many on this list, the root of violent clashes can be traced to ethno-religious differences.
After years of failed attempts to broker peace between highly segregated communities; little instance of inter-ethnic disagreements could lead to a community wide killing rampage. Segregation is very pronounced with Muslims predominantly in the northern part of the state, while Christians live predominantly in the southern part.
Unending cycles of violence has necessitated deployment of federal forces and frequent imposition of statewide curfews.
5. Benue State
Once a peaceful state with thriving businesses, most of Benue State has gradually denigrated into a violent conflict zone.
Amid reports of horrendous attacks, including the killing of children, Benue State faces serious threats from herdsmen who go on murderous rampages. In the first and second quarters of this year, the headlines emanating from the state were literally dripping with blood. Close to 300 people lost their lives in January alone, with about 3,600 killed so far this year during herdsmen clashes with local farmers.
Reprisal attack by victims and fake news fueled by social Media continuously catalyze an unending chain of violence.
4. Plateau State
Religion and Ethnicity, exacerbated by access to land, are at the heart of the resurgence of violence in plateau State. Different media reports described “dead bodies scattered on the streets” during one of the most deadly attacks in the state earlier this year.
Historically, the scenic northern state has had to grapple with ethno-religious skirmishes. This is usually characterised by tit-for-tat attacks between Christian communities considered as Indigenous and Fulani nomads, who are mostly Muslim and described as “invaders”. Over 1,000 people have been killed this year according to human rights watch. In the space of ten years, over 9,000 residents have lost their lives during violent clashes.
Conflicts in the state is also fueled by organised crime like kidnapping and political disagreements.
3. Adamawa State
About three years ago, Boko Haram, the self-declared Nigerian al-Qaida franchise successfully “seized” some towns in Adamawa and declared it its territory. The planted strange flags, made and enforced rules in towns like Gwoza and Madagali.
The situation has since improved, with the government taking back control of territories, but the underlying treats of attack has not been quenched. This year the terror group has killed and maimed hundreds, effectively prolonging the displacement of millions.
The deteriorating situation has forced a significant number of the state’s residents to become refugees in their own country. Yola, the state capital with about 400,000 locals had to accommodate over 1.5 million refugees, fleeing from attacks in remote areas.
2. Yobe State
Seating at the 2nd position is Yobe state. In 2014, a Boko Haram attack on two locations in the city of Potiskum led to the deaths of over 61 people and injuring 129 others. This is emblematic of the general security situation in the state over the years.
This has forced the Federal government to heavily militarize the state, with military formations scattered around Yobe communities. This has done little to tame the growing resurgence of attacks on civilians and government security forces. Recently the town of Buni Gari was reportedly overrun and controlled by Boko haram fighters. Yobe State, alongside Adamawa and Borno have received more aerial bombardment than Biafra during the civil war.
1. Borno State
Notorious for repeated terrorists attacks, mass abductions and civilian massacre, the general scale of insecurity in Borno state is overwhelming. The North Eastern state is by far the most dangerous state to live, school or do business in Nigeria. It is at the epicenter of Boko Haram Terrorism, with average of 250 deaths recorded Monthly.
Terrorism and crime in Borno has also spiralled with religious undertones. This has reportedly led to “religious cleansing”, with Christians allegedly fleeing Northern states.
The economy of the state capital, Maiduguri, has suffered devastating effects, pulling more people towards poverty and subsequently towards crime and violence. In a generally reported incident, Maiduguri was bombed five times in 24 hours with about 512 killed in a single day in another. The Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US Department of State has repeatedly issued travel warnings, advising US citizens against visiting the state.
Apart from Lagos state, all but essential travel should be reconsidered during the height of violence in these States. Security situations are however fluid, improving gradually or taking an immediate nosedive. When travelling to or staying in the top five states, be vigilant at all times, keep others informed of your travel plans and vary your routines from time to time.
Key factors that were considered in this report include; Boko Haram presence, Herdsmen/ farmers clashes, prevalence of political violence, past history of violence and general security perception.