- While the police has frameworks in place including approved funding to gather data, the federal statistical agency says it has not been cooperative.
The last time Nigeria released a crime statistics report was June 2018 and experts say this is costly for a country wrestling with insecurity across various fronts.
The federal agency in charge of data generation, analysis and publication, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), had first released crime-related data in 2014. But it only covered events in Akwa Ibom, one of many states.
In June 2017, it shared the first national report, relating to offences recorded in the previous year. The report stated the number of offences committed, categorising them according to crimes against persons, against property, and against lawful authority, for all 36 states as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). NBS explained that the data was provided by the Nigeria Police and then validated by it.
The following year, the agency released an even more detailed crime statistics report. It breaks down the offences against persons into over 12 crimes, offences against property into over 11, and offences against lawful authority into over seven crimes. The report also gives the number of police posts, stations, area commands, and police officers in each state.
Together, both reports help to understand the pattern of crime across the country and point to the flashpoints for specific offences. But the NBS has not released a more updated version for the last four years.
Sunday Ichedi, Head of the bureau’s Communication and Public Relations Department, says they are not to blame since they could not release statistics without cooperation from the police.
“When they don’t give us, we cannot force them to produce,” he told HumAngle.
Ichedi, who described the problem as systemic, confirmed that the NBS has made repeated requests but does not always get answers.
“Even though we are trying here, statistics in the line ministries are not all that developed. And there’s a need for good statisticians handling sector statistics. Talking about crime statistics, educational statistics, health statistics and co. But if you go there, you find administrative officers handling data, which should not be.”
“We cannot manufacture. We have to depend on them to give us. We are trying our best to develop capacity but it is left for them to give us the data,” he added. “If the Nigerian police are not doing their work, there is no way we can force them. We are just like preachers; we will always try to preach to them so that they can repent.”
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