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Insecurity: Nine Nigerians were killed every day in 2020

Chinedu Asadu

Three thousand, three hundred and twenty-six. That is the number of Nigerians that were reported to have been killed as a result of insecurity in 2020, according to data sourced and analysed by TheCable.

After reviewing daily media reports in 2020 as well as data from the Council on Foreign Relations, TheCable found that on the average, nine Nigerians died daily in various attacks and incidents reported from January to December.

The year 2020 began on a sour note on January 1, when Iliya Dafet, a retired teacher, was shot dead by gunmen who invaded his home in Barkin Ladi local government area of Plateau state.

That incident opened the floodgate for a hundred others that became a grisly wellspring of killings, looting and agony.


In the days, weeks and months following, 734 other attacks took place across the country, according to media reports studied by TheCable, all of which have been compiled here.

TheCable study did not touch on those killed by security operatives such as the many that died in Enugu state when a security team clamped down on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in August.

It also did not include deaths of suspected criminals or others such as Boko Haram insurgents.


Quick points from the review:

  • There were 735 reported attacks in the country in 2020.
  • Killings were reported in all the months; September had the least with 171 deaths while June led with 451.
  • Borno, Kaduna and Katsina – in that order – had the most deaths.
  • Gombe had just one reported death from one incident, the least among the states.
  • Kaduna was attacked the highest number of times: 78.
  • South-east was the safest zone while north-east and south-west were the most attacked.
  • Nigeria recorded 16 massacres – ie attacks resulting in more than 30 deaths – in 2020.
  • The most prominent causes of deaths were attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and cultists.

TheCable sent an enquiry via text message to all the police state commands and the force headquarters, notifying them of the casualty figure in an attempt to crosscheck the statistics with official data, but none provided police updated records on victims of insecurity in 2020.


TheCable found that Gombe was the state with the least number of deaths in such attacks and incidents, recording only one on September 16 when a farmer allegedly killed a motorcyclist.

This was closely followed by Kebbi which reported three deaths; Enugu, five; and Jigawa, nine.

Borno state, which has remained the epicentre of Boko Haram insurgency for the past decade, recorded the highest number of casualties at 665 — 20 percent of the total casualties.

Next in line was Kaduna which accounted for 14.7 percent of the casualties (489); Katsina, 11.3 percent (375); and Zamfara, 6.6 percent (219).



In 2020, TheCable found 16 reported cases of mass killings – those resulting in more than 30 deaths – during which 717 persons lost their lives in total.

The massacres were rampant in Borno state – which contributed to 43 percent of such killings, all by Boko Haram members – and in other northern states where bandits raided villages at will.

Other states where mass killings were recorded included Katsina with four of such incidents; Kaduna, three; Adamawa and Sokoto, one each.

Below is a timeline featuring the massacres:


This might cause you some migraine: Nigeria recorded an average of two attacks daily from January 1 to December 31, with a total of 735 in 2020.

According to TheCable review, December witnessed the highest number of attacks with 85 reported incidents, while the least monthly record was in July with 39 cases.

On the number of casualties recorded monthly, there were 451 deaths recorded in June, the highest in 2020- followed by May and March with 434 and 337 deaths respectively.

Below is a table showing the monthly record of attacks and casualties:

1 January 56 278
2 February 60 255
3 March 52 337
4 April 67 256
5 May 65 434
6 June 67 451
7 July 39 198
8 August 51 173
9 September 55 171
10 October 73 281
11 November 65 207
12 December 85 285
TOTAL 735 3326


Kaduna emerged the state that suffered most attacks with 68 incidents, as much as what 13 other states recorded.

This was followed by Borno with 67 reported incidents; Delta, 56; Katsina, 52 and Benue, 41.

South-east recorded the least number of attacks at 47 while north-east and south-west, respectively, had the highest at 111 and 110.

Here is the full list of states and the frequency of attacks they reported:

S/N State Freq of Attack
1 Gombe 1
2 Kebbi 3
3 Kano 4
4 Yobe 4
5 Enugu 5
6 Bauchi 5
7 Sokoto 5
8 Jigawa 6
9 Abia 6
10 Imo 9
11 Osun 10
12 Kwara 10
13 Akwa Ibom 10
14 Ogun 11
15 Cross River 11
16 Adamawa 11
17 Anambra 12
18 Bayelsa 12
19 FCT 14
20 Ekiti 14
21 Ebonyi 15
22 Nasarawa 16
23 Kogi 19
24 Ondo 22
25 Rivers 22
26 Taraba 23
27 Edo 25
28 Lagos 25
29 Niger 27
30 Zamfara 27
31 Oyo 28
32 Plateau 29
33 Benue 41
34 Katsina 52
35 Delta 56
36 Borno 67
37 Kaduna 78

Ayodele Oluwafemi and Jesupemi Are contributed to this data project.

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