Violent events are recorded from 1st June 2006 according to:

a) their date (from day 1 to day n): a violent event happens in one or several contiguous LGAs and terminates when there are no deaths recorded during seven continuous days or more;

b) location: state, local government area (LGA), town, village or “offshore zone”. The location of an event is normally based on the place where violences happens; exceptionaly, on the place where the bodies of the victims are found if there are no other information available. There are 36 states, one FCT (Federal Capital Territory) and 774 LGAs listed in the 1999 Constitution (including 6 Local Council Areas in the FCT). Violent events at sea or by the seaside are attached to one of the nearest 24 coastal LGAs or distributed among the coastal LGAs of one of the 8 maritime states (6 in Lagos, 1 in Ogun, 1 in Ondo, 3 in Delta, 3 in Bayelsa, 5 in Rivers, 2 in Akwa Ibom, 3 in Cross River). Since the settlement of the border conflict with Cameroon in 2006, Bakassi LGA has been cut in two;

c) adapted and updated population figures per LGA based on the 1991 & 2006 census and the annual growth rate as calculated per state. Because of the creation of 7 new states and 219 new LGAs between the 1991 and 2006 census, it was not possible to calculate an annual growth rate per Local Government;

d) protagonists and stakeholders (none, 1, or more):


Security forces

- police (including Mopol)

- army (including Navy & Air Force)

- other governmental security forces that use firearms (customs, prison services, SSS, NDLEA). This category includes for instance the Home Guards of the NSCDC (Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps), which were created during the Biafra War and revived in 2007 with a special permission in 2012 to carry weapons to fight against Boko Haram, despite strong reluctance from the NPF.

Criminal groups

- armed gangs: criminal groups with firearms, usually more than 5 people, except cult societies.

- cult societies: mostly student confraternities like the Pyrates, the Seadogs, the Buccaneers, the Black Axe, the Klansmen Konfraternity, the Deebam, the Deewell, the Vikings, the Eiye Supreme Confraternity, the Black Berets, the Mafia. Exceptionaly, cult societies can include religious sects which are neither Islamic nor Christian, as with Ombatse. On campus, less known student confraternities are the Corsairs, Pirats, Green Berets, Fregates, Barracudas, Musketeers, Walrus, Temple of Eden, Trojan Horse, MgbaMgba Brothers, Black Cats, Marphites, Bats, Dragons, King Cobras, Scorpions and Gentlemen. There are also female cults organisations like the Amazons, the Black Brassier, the Daughters of Jezebel, the Campus Angels, the Damsels, the Dames and the Viqueens; they act as campus prostitution syndicates to their male counterparts. In Rivers State alone, the Secret Cult and Similar Activities Prohibition Law passed in June 2004 officially listed about 100 cult societies, including Agbaye, Airwords, Amazon, Baccaneers (Sea Lords), Barracuda, Bas, Bees International, Big 20, Black Axe, Black Beret Fraternity, Black Brasserie, Black Brothers, Black Cats, Black Cross, Black Ladies, Black Ofals, Black Scorpions, Black Sword, Blanchers, Blood Hunters, Blood Suckers, Brotherhood of Blood, Burkina Faso: Revolution Fraternity, Canary, Cappa Vandetto, Daughters of Jezebel, Dey Gbam, Dey Well, Dolphins, Dragons, Dreaded Friends of Friends, Eagle Club, Egbe Dudu, Eiye of Air Lords Fraternity, Elegemface, Executioners, Fangs, FF, Fliers, Frigates, Gentlemen’s Club, Green Berets Fraternity, Hard Candies, Hell’s Angels, Hepos, Himalayas, Icelanders, Jaggare Confederation, KGB, King Cobra, Klam Konfraternity Klansman, Ku Klux Klan, Knite Cade, Mafia Lords, Mafioso Fraternity, Malcolm X, Maphites/Maphlate, Mgba Mgba Brothers, Mob Stab, Musketeers Fraternity, National Association of Adventurers, National Association of Sea Dogs, Neo-Black Movement, Night Mates, Nite Hawks, Nite Rovers, Odu Cofraternity, Osiri, Ostrich Fraternity, Panama Pyrate, Phoenix, Predators, Red Devils, Red Fishes, Red Sea Horse, Royal House of Peace, Royal Queens, Sailors, Scavengers, Scorpion, Scorpion Fraternity, Sea Vipers, Soiree Fraternity, Soko, Sunmen, Temple of Eden Fraternity, Thomas Sankara Boys, Tikan Giants, Trojan Horses Fraternity, Truth Seekers, Twin mate, Vikings, Vipers, Vultures, Walrus and White Bishop.

Religious groups

- churches

- islamic groups

Political & Ethnic groups

- community (ethnic group, village, clan)

- political groups (mainly legal parties)

Oil companies

- Major Oil companies: Shell, ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Total, ENI (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi), ConocoPhillips

- NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation)

- Independent Oil companies


- other (non oil) companies

- trade unions

- NGOs

e) the types of conflict (ethnic, social, political or military: crimes are not listed as such because they can impact in any situation):



- community vs. community

- community vs. police

- community vs. army


- community vs. oil companies

- community vs. other companies

- community vs. trade unions

- trade unions vs. oil companies

- trade unions vs. other companies

- trade unions vs. army

- trade unions vs. police


- political group vs. political group

- political group vs. oil companies

- political group vs. other companies

- political group vs. trade unions

- political group vs. army

- political group vs. police

- political group vs. community

- trade unions vs. trade unions


- churches vs. churches

- churches vs. islamic groups

- islamic groups vs. islamic groups


- churches vs. army

- islamic groups vs. army

- army vs. army

- army vs. police

f) a brief description;

g) the single or multiple causes of violence as they are reported by the press. It is important here to note the possibility of some subjectivity. Depending on the position of journalists, for instance, the same group can be described as political or criminal. The main causes that were identified are:


- land issue: not exclusive of fatal cattle grazing disputes

- oil production (upstream, crude oil)

- oil distribution (downstream, refined products)

- political issue: incidents related to political events (e.g. elections) or the control of political power in general

- religious issue: incidents justified on religious grounds

- market issue: incidents related to economic competition and the control of market areas, including bus stations but exclusive of oil issues

- cattle grazing: incidents that opposes cattle breeders between themselves or against farmers

- crime: all other fatal criminal incidents except political, religious, market, land, cattle and sorcery issues

- convicts execution: death penalty executed by government officials, excluding extra-judicial killing, lynching and jungle justice

- road accidents: fatal incidents involving cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, etc.

- other accidents (plane, train, boat, industrial pollution)

- fire/explosion: accidental or intentional

- natural disasters

- sorcery (cult societies, human sacrifices, witchcraft)


h) number of deaths (there can be several numbers: each number is attached to a source of information):

The system only counts fatalities resulting directly from intentional or unintentional violence, including accidents. It does not record suicides except for two cases: suicide attacks perpetrated by insurgents and the murders of security operatives running amok before killing themselves. In a country where civil registration hardly exists, estimates on the number of deaths (and births) are not very reliable and can vary a lot from one source to another, especially during violent events. The press in Nigeria is one of the most developed in Africa, after South Africa and Egypt. Yet journalists often tend to overestimate casualties and do not always cross-check their information. Moreover, the press is mainly based in the  South, especially Lagos, and does not cover properly the Middle Belt and the predominantly Muslim North. As for the Nigeria Police, it underreports crime. Unlike South Africa, it does not publish detailed statistics, while people often do not trust the police and avoid reporting violent incidents. As a result, official figures, available on the website of the Cleen Foundation, are very low, around 2,000 murders per year, i.e. one eighth of the equivalent figures in the USA, a country twice as populated. Such discrepancies are the reason why this database includes as many sources as possible, in order to cross-check information and compute averages. The hypothesis is that our margin of error is the same from one region and one year to another. Hence the database can show trends and regional differences. When we get a global figure of casualties for a whole State, we susbstract the number of deaths already recorded for this event and divide the rest among the different Local Government Areas (LGA) within the State. We also record the deaths of expatriates. By expatriates, we mean foreigners who are not citizen of Nigeria and its immediate neighbours with porous borders: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Benin.

i) the source of information: the police, the judiciary, hospitals, human rights organisations (mainly Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International), other sources (private security firms, companies, embassies) and the following newspapers:

- National Dailies:
1) Daily Champion
2) Guardian
3) PM News (moribund and replaced by Leadership since 1st June 2013)
4) Punch
5) This Day
6) Vanguard
7) Independent
8) New Nigerian (extinct and replaced by Nigerian Tribune since 1st June 2013)
9) Daily Trust
10) The Nation

As soon as 2007 we stopped using regional dailies & weeklies because of irregular access, for example: Triumph (Kano, extinct); Port Harcourt Telegraph (on Internet); and Tide (Port Harcourt, on Internet). In 2007 we also stopped archiving national weeklies like Newswatch or Tell because the incidents they report is already in the national dailies.