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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 109-113

Demographic profile and pattern of fatal firearm injuries in an urban city in south-South Nigeria

1 Department of Morbid Anatomy and Histopathology, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria
2 Department of Pathology, Igbinedion University, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
3 Department of Pathology, Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Obiora Jude Uchendu
Department of Morbid Anatomy and Histopathology, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/smj.smj_46_18

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Background: Recurrent war, agitation, and terrorism in West African sub region have encouraged access to both local and imported firearm with a consequent increase in circulating firearm in Nigeria. Objective: This study aims to describe the demographic profile and pattern of firearm injuries in Warri, Delta state, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive retrospective study of autopsied firearm deaths in Warri, Delta state from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2016. The relevant information for this study was extracted from coroner forms and autopsy notes. Results: A total of 421 cases of firearm-related deaths comprising 399 males and 22 females were investigated. The ages of the victims ranged from 0.4 to 69 years, with a mean of 33. 99 (±11.36) years and a peak age group in the third decade. Homicide was the circumstance of death in 416 (98.8) cases, while accident accounted for the remaining 5 (1.2%) cases. Rifled guns and shotguns were the weapons used in 262 (62.2%) and 159 (37.7%) cases, respectively. Businessmen, civil and public servant, artisans, unemployed youths, students, and marine workers were the victims in 101 (24%), 79 (18.8), 71 (16.6), 39 (16.6%), and 36 (6.2%) of the cases, respectively. The victims hailed from multiple tribes with the Urhobos, Igbos, Ijaws, and Itsekiris accounting for 152 (36.1), 52 (12.4%), 38 (9.0%), and 28 (6.7%) of the cases, respectively. Conclusion: Firearm injury is a major cause of unnatural death in this region, affecting young males across all socioeconomic class of resident tribes. Amicable resolution of the lingering crisis in the Niger Delta region, reducing unemployment rate, educating, and re-orienting the youths, strict regulation of firearm possession, enforcement of law and order, and upgrading of the state of the health facility in Delta state will go a long way in ameliorating this ugly trend.

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