Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Rivers states were the most violent states in the Niger Delta region in 2017, a report by Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) has revealed.
These findings, according to PIND, were based on the number of reported deaths in those states.
The report indicated that communal conflict was the most violent in 2017, driven mainly by inter-communal tensions and land disputes.
Communal conflicts were reported in all the states in the region and was prevalent in Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, accounting for 636 deaths in 134 incidents.
In Cross Rivers State alone, four local government areas — Yala, Calabar Municipal, Odukpani and Calabar South — had high cases of violence, and the same was recorded in Rivers State, where four local government areas were the epicentres of violence (Port Harcourt, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Obio/Akpor and Emohua)
According to the report, the relative security brought about by the amnesty programme introduced in 2009 by late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua has been eroded by the emergence of other conflict issues.
The report, which examined the trends and patterns of conflict risk and violence, revealed that there was a remarkable change in the trends and patterns of conflict risk and violence in the Niger Delta in 2017, compared to 2016.
“Criminality and gang violence were the most prevalent conflict issues in 2016, while communal violence, especially tensions over land dispute as well as herder/farmer clashes, was a prevalent conflict issue in 2017,” the report revealed.
“Key incidents in 2017 included inter-communal tensions, robbery, cult clashes, kidnapping, piracy, militancy/counter-insurgency operations, ethno-nationalist agitations, mob violence, killing for ritualistic purposes, political tensions, riots/protests, domestic and sexual violence. Piracy was the most lethal type of violence in 2017.”
“Every incident of piracy resulted in seven fatalities, and was followed by inter-communal conflict with an average of five fatalities per incident.
“Organized criminality was also prevalent, and it contributed the most to insecurity in all the states in the region. Criminality was prevalent in Delta, Rivers and Edo state, and it involved mainly kidnapping for ransom, robbery and other forms of gun violence.
“Gang violence was one of the top three most lethal conflict issues in the region during the period. Gang-related violence resulted in 185 fatalities in 48 reported incidents. Gang violence was reported in all the states in the region, but it was more widespread in Rivers, Cross River and Edo state. It was mainly driven by rival cult clashes and supremacy battles among the numerous cult groups in the region, as well as general criminality.”
The report added that militancy caused several fatalities during this period, especially in Bayelsa, Ondo and Rivers state, driven mainly by attacks by militants and counter-insurgency operations of security forces.”