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Nigerians feel less safe, see kidnapping cases on the rise

Crime and security rank at the top of the most important problems that Nigerians want the government to address, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.

In growing numbers, citizens report feeling unsafe in their neighbourhoods and their homes.

Most respondents see abductions and kidnappings as a serious and increasing problem in the country, and a majority say the police are doing a poor job on this issue.

Key findings

  • Crime and security (41%) outrank economic management (39%), unemployment (35%), and electricity (34%) at the top of the list of most important problems that Nigerians want their government to address (Figure 1).

  • Majorities of Nigerians say they felt unsafe while walking in their neighbourhood (61%) and feared crime in their home (51%) at least once during the previous year. Both majorities have increased significantly since 2020 (Figure 2).

  • Most Nigerians (84%) are concerned about abductions and kidnappings, including 65% who say they are a “very serious” problem (Figure 3).

  • And three-fourths (74%) of citizens say the number of abductions or kidnappings of citizens in the country has increased over the past year (Figure 4). Meanwhile, almost six in 10 Nigerians (58%) rate the handling of kidnappings and abductions by the police as “fairly bad” or “very bad” (Figure 5).

Afrobarometer surveys

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys (2021/2022) are currently underway. Afrobarometer’s national partners conduct face-toface interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice.

The Afrobarometer team in Nigeria, led by NOIPolls, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,600 adult citizens in March 2022. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Nigeria in 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2020.


Figure 1: Most important problems | Nigeria | 2022

Respondents were asked: In your opinion, what are the most important problems facing this country that government should address? (Respondents could give up to three answers.)

Figure 2: Sense of insecurity | Nigeria | 2015-2022

Respondents were asked: Over the past year, how often, if ever, have you or anyone in your family: Felt unsafe walking in your neighbourhood? Feared crime in your own home? (% who say “just once or twice,” “several times,” “many times,” or “always”)

Figure 3: Abduction and kidnapping: A serious problem? | Nigeria | 2022

Respondents were asked: How serious of a problem are abductions and kidnapping of citizens in our country today?

Figure 4: Frequency of abduction and kidnapping | Nigeria | 2022

Respondents were asked: In your opinion, over the past year, would you say the cases of abduction or kidnapping in this country have increased, decreased, or stayed the same?

Figure 5: Police handling of abduction and kidnapping | Nigeria | 2022

Respondents were asked: How well or badly would you say the police is handling the kidnapping or abduction of Nigerian citizens?

For more information, please contact:


Raphael Mbaegbu

Telephone: +234 63292096


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