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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 286-288

Assault cases in Maiduguri metropolis: A comparative study of police and accident and emergency units' records

Maxillofacial Unit, Department of Radiology, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, P MB 1414, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
H O Olasoji
Maxillofacial Unit, Department of Radiology, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, P MB 1414, Maiduguri, Borno State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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BACKGROUND: Information on the incidence of assault cases such as armed robbery, fights and house burglaries in most Nigerian cities are usually based on data collected from police records with little or no attempt to tap medical sources of information. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was therefore to compare the rate of recording of assault cases in the Maiduguri metropolitan area by the police at the Maiduguri central police station and the Accident and Emergency unit (A and E) of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. Possible reasons why assault victims report or do not report to the police before seeking for treatment was also investigated. METHOD: All victims of assault who attended the A and E unit of the hospital over a one year period (2002-2003) were interviewed and relevant data collected in a prepared form. Findings were compared with the record of assault cases within the same period at the Maiduguri central police station. RESULT: 185 patients presented at A and E with body injuries due to assault during period of study. 108 (58%) informed the police before attending hospital, out of which majority (38.9%) claimed an 'instinctive reaction to do so' as the reason for informing the police. A significant proportion (61%) of those that did not inform the police claimed that the feeling that 'nothing will come out of it' as the reason. Only 41% of cases reported to the police were recorded. There was a tendency by the police to record cases where gun was used or the victim was a female. CONCLUSION: The true picture of violence in most Nigerian cities can better be assessed by collecting data from both the relevant A and E department as well as from the police. The need for the populace to develop confidence and trust in the police cannot be overemphasised.

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