To understand this phenomenon...
...we created a dataset 'Targeted Killings in Nigeria, 2000-2017' to document instances in which individuals were specifically targeted for violence.
The Targeted Killings in Nigeria Dataset catalogues more than 1,600 targeted killings in Nigeria - this number includes both lethal and non-lethal attacks, as well as threats.
The categories of individuals most commonly targeted in our dataset were politicians, and traditional and religious leaders.
The dataset catalogues more than 540 targeted attacks on politicians and party affiliates and nearly 200 targeted attacks on traditional and religious leaders. In addition, we catalogue attacks on more than 140 civil servants (not including police officers or members of the military, who were also frequently targeted). In the private sector, more than 100 businesspeople and more than 100 trade-union affiliates were targeted.
Targeted violence against politicians is not necessarily confined to general election years...
...though there does appear to be an uptick in the run up to general elections and during such elections.
Patterns of targeted violence do not have the same characteristics as other forms of violence experienced in Nigeria.
As Boko Haram has become more lethal and indiscriminate in the north, the number of targeted attacks in the region has fallen. On the other hand, the country’s southern states are particularly affected by targeted violence.
Patterns of violence differed greatly among geopolitical regions.
Targeted violence against politicians is more common in the South South and South West of the country, than in the north.
Traditional leaders and religious authorities exercise significant influence in modern Nigeria;
this relevance has made the leaders and representatives of these organizations susceptible to targeted violence; our dataset catalogues more than 200 attempted or successful attacks on such leaders.
Targeted killings of students, academics, university staff, or cult members...
...are included in the category of cults and campus-related violence, which accounted for more than 70 attacks in the dataset.
More than 200 attempted or successful attacks on businessmen, entrepreneurs, and trade union affiliates...
...particularly those who were involved in the country’s taxi and petroleum industries.
Nigeria has repeatedly been identified as one of the deadliest countries for journalists to work in;
Our dataset catalogued 52 attacks on journalists since 2000, of which 33 resulted in death.