African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403

Full Length Research Paper

Political assassinations in Nigeria: an exploratory study 1986-2005

Afeaye Anthony Igbafe1 and O. J. Offiong2
1University of Benin, Benin City, C/O David O. E.  Igbafe, John Harris Library, University of Benin, P.M.B. 1191, Benin city Edo State, Nigeria. 2Department of Political Science and Public Administration University of Benin, P.M.B. 1154, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 30 April 2007
  •  Published: 31 May 2007



Political assassinations have been the major outcome of political violence in Nigeria. The activities and actions of political individuals and groups are now centered on ‘adoption of assassination’ in settling political scores. The paper examines the spate of political assassinations in the Nigerian political terrain from 1986 - 2005. The central focus is the continued killing of political actors, with the dismal effort of the security agencies, particularly the police; in bringing culprits to book and attribution of reported cases to armed robbery. Utilizing secondary data, the study reveals that approximately 53% of the deaths took place in the preceding decade (1991 - 2000), while 45% occurred in the present decade and 2% was recorded two decades ago. The paper observes with sadness, the inconclusive state of the various cases of political assassination. The ineffectiveness of the national security outfit, the intra-and inter-party squabbles and the ‘bloody’ political war that looms in some parts of the country are some of the factors that account for the rising incidence of political assassinations in Nigeria. Finally, the study notes that the era of blood shedding is still on-going and may pose a serious threat to the upcoming polls in 2007.


Key words: Party squabbles, Political actors, Political violence, Political assassination, Nigeria, Politics, and Assassination.