Sociodemographic and Offence-related characteristics of Homicide Offenders in a Nigerian prison

  • F.O Fatoye
  • B.A Eegunranti
  • G.K Fatoye
  • G Amoo
  • J.O Omoaregba
  • O.I Ibigbami


Background: Research on the sociodemographic, historical and forensic characteristics of homicide continue to attract the attention of mental health professionals in developing countries owing to the ongoing debate on the relationship between homicide offences and the presence of mental illness in perpetrators. This attention is partly due to the potential of these variables to be risk factors for homicide offences. There is a need to update available information in Nigeria. Aim: The study was carried out to evaluate socio-demographic and certain homicide- related characteristics of homicide defendants and to determine the relationship between socio-demographic variables and charge of homicide. Method: A questionnaire consisting of socio-demographic and homiciderelated items were administered on 66 homicide defendants at Ilesa prison, Nigeria. The socio-demographic questionaires were also administered on 66 other prisoners, as control. Results: The homicide offenders consisted of 63 (95.5%) males and 3 (4.5%) females. Most of them (78.8%) were less than 40years old. Most of the victims (72.7%) were males. In 81.8% of cases, the victims were known to the defendants. The commonest method of homicide was the use of sharp objects (27.3%) followed by the use of firearms (21.2%). Marital status, level of education and type of religion were not observed to be statistically different between the two groups. Even though, most respondents belong to less skilled occupational groups, the homicide defendants were significantly more represented in these groups and they were significantly more unemployed. Conclusion: The observations indicate that some level of restriction needs to be imposed on acquisition of dane-guns and call for concerted effort to tackle the interrelated problems of unemployment, poverty, and idleness in the society.

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eISSN: 0189-1774