“Today, our state is arguably the safest in the entire country, we are rated the second most peaceful and our crime rate is second lowest,” Yahya Bello, Kogi State Governor, August 27, 2021.
No! Kogi is not the safest state in Nigeria, according to the Nigeria security watch and Nigeria Security Tracker. The rankings referenced by the Kogi State Governor are not recent statistics. The second peaceful state rating was a 2018 report, and the crime rate report was a statistics contained in a 2017 report.
While celebrating the 30th anniversary of the creation of Kogi State, governor Yahya Bello said his administration took the peace and security of the state as utmost priority since his first day in office and has made the state an outstanding one.
In his words,”Today, our state is arguably the safest in the entire country, we are rated the second most peaceful and our crime rate is second lowest.”
This is not the first time Yahaya Bello and other officials of the state government have previously made this statement. He made the same statement in September 2018 while celebrating the international peace day and his special adviser also made a similar statement in May 2021 at an annual religious dinner event.
The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published its last crime report in 2016 where it ranked Kogi as the penultimate state with least crime. In further research, Ripples Nigeria gathered from a Statista report published February 25, 2021 with the title; Number of crimes in Nigeria 2017, by state, that Kogi was the second least crime state with 282 crime reports and Kebbi was the least crime having 205. With no substantial and reliable data from recent years, Kogi cannot be said to be the second state with the least crime rate in Nigeria.
Peace ranking among states in Nigeria was done by a non-governmental organisation, Foundation for Peace Professional (FPP) in 2018. The NGO released a Nigeria Peace Index (NPI) using Five broad indicators adopted for the index and they included, Level of Poverty, Crime Rate, Level of Education, Rate of Human Rights Abuses and Level of Incarceration.
The NPI ranked Osun as the most peaceful state with Kogi coming second. The 2018 report was from data collected from 2010-2016 and till date no other report has been released.
The Nigeria Security watch 2020 report analysed by Dataphyte showed that Kogi State had over 2,000 deaths in 2020, although when compared with previous year 2020 was the lowest. It does not translate to being the safest state as Osun, Ekiti, Kwara and Enugu had less deaths from violence than Kogi. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Security Tracker updated weekly recorded 31 deaths in Kogi from January to August 6, 2021 while Kano had only one death so far in 2021.
The lack of up-to-date data to analyse Nigeria’s political and economic situation has made it difficult to have a proper index for peace in Nigeria as well as crime rates in the country. Nonetheless, Kogi is not the safest state in Nigeria.
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