Homicide in northern Nigeria: An evaluation of motives
Mafullul, Yakubu M.
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A survey of the motives associated with homicide in northern Nigeria was conducted based on an interview of a sample of convicted homicide offenders in a Nigerian federal prison. 118 subjects with a mean age of 33.9 +/- 10.9 years at the time of their offenses, and comprising 84.9% of all homicide convicts participated in the study. A scrutiny of relevant court and prison records on each offender was carried out. Forty-three convicts had killed their victims in circumstances of group activity; economic (72.1%), political (11.6%), and religious (16.3%) motives accounted for their offenses. Seventy- five convicts had killed their victims in circumstances of one-to-one activity; various motives accounted for such events, including alcohol intoxication and psychiatric disorder (37.4%), sexual jealousy (17.3%), fights arising from personal insult and previous trespass (17.3%), revenge in relation to allegations of witchcraft (13.3%), Fulani tribesmen initiation rites (5.3%), self-defense and accidental killings (6.8%), and, the concealment of illegitimate pregnancy and childbirth (1.3%). The implications of these observations are discussed, and recommendations made on ways of reducing the needless loss of life in this Nigerian subregion.