Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Security Threat Assessment September 2014: Towards 2015 Elections





Key Risk Factors:
  • ·         Inability of electorates to obtain their Permanent Voters Card and register during PVC/CVR exercises.
  • ·         The issue of zoning and religious balancing is a major risk factor if not well handled.
  • ·         Political assassination, kidnapping, armed robbery and bombings may escalate as we approach 2015.
  • ·         The nexus between drugs, arms and crimes that needs to be effectively contained.




Key Mitigating Factors:
  • ·         INEC should ensure the proper capturing of voter details and ensure it uses the card reader for voter verification during the 2015 polls.
  • ·         INEC, National Orientation Agency, media and Civil Society Organisations need to embark on  voter education.
  • ·         INEC should shelve the creation of the proposed 30,027 additional PUs till after the next general elections.





Political Context
Preparation for the February 2015 General Elections is amidst increasing concern of high levels of insecurity and violence in the election days and the days immediately after. The concerns are that the current security situation such as continued insurgents attacks in the North East, attempts by insurgents to infiltrate the South South, incursion by Cattle Herdsmen openly armed with AK47 rifles in the South East, political killings and proliferation of Small Arms & Light Weapons (SALWs), would fuel an outbreak of violence.

The Government recently scaled-up its on-going intervention of providing heavy military presence across Nigeria to curb insecurity. Military personnel and over 30,000 and 73,000 security agents were deployed to the Ekiti State and Osun State Governorship Elections respectively. The elections were conducted in June and August 2014 and were incident-free. The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) has been lauded by some Stakeholders for this feat and also for suspending two Electoral Officers over administrative lapses during the Osun State Elections. Some see these events as a foreshadowing of free and fair, violence-free General Elections in February 2015.

Preparations for the Elections
On May 16, Independent National Election Commission (INEC) inaugurated the National Inter-Agency Advisory Committee on Voter Education and Publicity (NICVEP). The Commission is expected to issue Notice of Election on 1 October, 2014. INEC distributed Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) and continued with Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) across the country. INEC also procured 150,000 Card Readers to fast track the accreditation process of voters during the February 2015 General Elections.

INEC has also established citizens’ contact centres as well as online voter verification platform. It plans to use electronic transmission of results during the next general elections and is in the process of implementing a redelineation (delimitation) of electoral constituencies aimed at creating an additional 30,027 Polling Units (PUs) ahead of the 2015 elections (21,615 PUs allocated to the North; 8,412 PUs to the South). 

The Nigerian Police, through the former Force Public Relations Officer had  reported that the Police had commenced training of its officers and men on election policing ahead of the 2015 polls.



Gender Dimension
A combination of cultural practices, religion and a long history of political exclusion has continued to keep women out of active political participation. Women with ambition for prominent political positions have had to endure the usual electioneering process as well as the patrilineal nature ideology prevalent in parts of Nigeria.

Women are not currently featuring prominently in most of the permutations, neither are they strategically involved in any of the political parties.

Although women usually are more of victims than perpetrators of electoral violence, recent suicide bombings by women in Kano and Lagos States by a person (gender undetermined) dressed in hijab has placed a different perspective on this opinion. In July alone, five synchronized teenage female suicide bombers killed scores of people in different locations, in Kano State. 

Presence and Activities of Non-State Actors
Understanding the recruitment, operations, financing and accountability processes of non-state actors is crucial even as the election date draws closer.

In the North West, some non-state outfits are supported and funded by some states and local governments. In some cases parallel or complementary security outfits are established by state governments. For instance, aside the Hisbah in Kano, the government recruited and trained 395 security guards to curb the menace of insecurity and unemployment. Militant youths called Area boys are major players in electoral politics and security in Sokoto state. In Kano, Kaduna, Katsina states with the history of youth militancy, particularly the yan’daba, electoral politics is always an opportunity to perpetrate violence on behalf of their principals. The cases of raids and mass killings by bandits in southern Kaduna are also attracting non state security response from the communities.

In the North East, the continued encroachment and establishment of a caliphate by insurgents has cast doubts on the conduct of elections in the region in 2015. In the North Central region, the rise and dominance of militia and vigilante groups operating outside the control of states is an on-going issue. The remoteness of the land makes it poorly policed which in turn increases the proliferation of SALWs.

In the South South, the ex-militants, cult groups and other dangerous groups supporting the PDP is creating security concerns. It is feared that the existence of these groups may lead to the creation of counter armed groups for opposition parties vying for other government level positions.

In the South West, the most pronounced non-state actors are the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) working mainly as private security guards. In Ogun and Osun states, state funded Vigilante Security outfits complement the service of the police and other security agencies. They however carry weapons and unlicensed arms, operate illegal detention centres and are said to be involved in extra-judicial killings.

Migration and Internal Displacement
There is a foreshadowing of security threats from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the nation. This notion began in June 2014 when 486 suspected Boko Haram members on their way to Port Harcourt were arrested in Aba by the Army.

In September 2014, rural bandits and cattle rustlers allegedly stormed Zamfara State villages in Gusau LGA killing over 35 people displacing hundreds of people. Many villagers fled after a coordinated attack on their respective communities and camped at Damba Model Primary School. Hundreds of refugees including children besieged classroom blocks where they spent days in suspense, receiving emergency assistance from the state and local authorities. Others took refuge in Yandoto, Mada, Marke, Kwatarkwashi, Faskari, Gusau, the capital city and the neighbouring Katsina state.

In the South South, there are suspected refugees from Mali, North East and South East Nigeria.  The prevalent belief in the region is that these refuges are imminent threats to the security of 2015 General Elections.

In the South West illegal aliens from West African countries such as Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana have been reported to move en-masse into Nigeria illegally through the three states (Lagos, Ogun and Oyo) that border with Benin Republic. Some of these immigrants are involved in trans-border crimes such as smuggling of small arms which often are bought by politicians to arm their thugs. Also, citizens fleeing from Boko Haram insurgents in the North East often flee to the South West state of Lagos though the state itself recently witnessed one foiled and one successful attack by the same insurgents. 

The impact of this migration will be immediate humanitarian crises, escalation of Sexual and Gender based Violence (SGBV), disenfranchisement of IDPs, near impossibility to conduct elections in affected states and inadequacy in existing infrastructure of IDP receiving states. 

Recent Developments within the State Houses of Assembly
Adamawa State House of Assembly succeeded in impeaching Governor Nyako while the Borno State House of Assembly removed its majority leader. In the North Central region, there have been failed attempts by the Nasarawa State PDP dominated House of Assembly to impeach Governor Tanko Almakura, deepening inter-party rivalry between PDP and APC.

The Imo State House of Assembly which was predominantly and originally PDP moved almost en masse with Governor Rochas Okorocha when he became governor under APGA. Though there is disenchantment with the current governor’s achievements, Governor Okorocha wishes to retain the state. In Edo state, there is discord in the House of Assembly resulting from the perceived plot by PDP lawmakers to impeach the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the Speaker of the House of Assembly.
               
In the South West, the Lagos State Speaker is being persecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an alleged N600 million financial crimes. In Ondo State, there have been rumors that Governor Olusegun Mimiko intends decamp to PDP. If this happens, most members of the State House of Assembly may follow suit.

Presence and impact of the activities of the military, police and other security agencies
The insurgency in the North East persists in spite of the state of emergency and heavy military deployment to the region. The presence of the military in the South East states restored some sense of public safety among the populace particularly due to the significant reduction in incidences of kidnapping. This sense of public safety has nurtured a culture of healthy civil-military relation, and if maintained, will ensure the preservation of security before, during and after the 2015 elections.

Due to the interest of the President Goodluck Jonathan to capture the South West in order to bolster his purported second term ambition, the president made two key appointments - Minister of State for Defence and the Minister of Police Affairs. These two appointments are strategic and its usefulness is perceived to have played out during the Ekiti and Osun elections.

The perceived partisanship of security agencies by openly embarking on show of force, deployment of masked personnel, indiscriminate shooting in the air,  arrest of opposition party chieftains are grounds for citizens losing confidence in the security agencies.

Violent Hot Spots
We categorized the states according to the perceived level of threat using traffic light signals (green, amber and red); green indicating stability/lowest threat states and red indicating the highest threat level/ most volatile states. The measures used for the categorization include history of violence, degree of control by incumbent and relationship with the federal government, stability of internal state party politics, existence of terrorist/militant activity, state of emergency or communal/religious conflict, bid for second term by incumbent governor, zoning arrangement, jostle for federal and state legislative positions etc. Most states fit into various categories based on comparison within their region and not on the scale of risks nationally.

  • RED: NC – Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa; NE – Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Taraba; NW – Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara; SS – Rivers; Akwa Ibom; Edo; SE – Enugu and Imo; SW – Lagos

  • AMBER: NE – Bauchi and Gombe; NW – Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto; SE –Abia Anambra, and Ebonyi; SW: Ondo, Oyo, Ogun; NC: Kogi, Niger

  • GREEN: NC – Kwara; NW – Kebbi, SS – Cross River and Bayelsa; SW: Osun and Ekiti

Synthesis of Key Risk Factors
  • a.       Inability of electorates to obtain their Permanent Voters Card and register during PVC/CVR exercises.
  • b.      The issue of zoning and religious balancing is a major risk factor if not well handled.
  • c.       Political assassination, kidnapping, armed robbery and bombings may escalate as we approach 2015. The nexus between drugs, arms and crimes that has not been effectively contained.
  • d.      The creation of additional 30,027 Polling Units with a distribution formula of the North having more than half of the new PU allocations. Southern political leaders are openly canvassing for the resignation or removal of INEC chairman on this basis.
  • e.      The recent order by President Goodluck Jonathan that INEC should print sensitive electoral materials at the Nigeria Printing and Minting Company, a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Mitigating Factors and Recommendations
  • a.       INEC should ensure the proper capturing of voter details; ensure it uses the card reader for voter verification during the 2015 polls and commence early preparation to ensure electoral materials reach the rural and coastal communities timely.
  • b.      INEC should activate and institutionalise its Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), ensuring that the committee plans for the three phases of the elections - Pre-Election, Election Day and Post-Election Day.
  • c.       INEC, National Orientation Agency, media and Civil Society Organisations need to embark on massive and sustained voter education, peace education and general civic education aimed at ensuring that there is violence free election in Adamawa and during the February 2015 General Elections.
  • d.      INEC should shelve the creation of the proposed 30,027 additional PUs till after the next general elections. This will calm frayed nerves and make the commission to focus on preparations for 2015 polls.
  • e.      The Government and security agencies should provide adequate policing to dislodge terrorist camps, dismantle cult groups and forestall intimidation of the electorate.







2015: INEC urged to suspend new polling units till after elections


INEC boss, Attahiru Jega
Ahead of the 2015 General Elections the Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN Foundation) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stay actions on the proposed 30,027 additional Polling Units (PUs) till after the elections to calm frayed nerves and concentrate on other issues to enhance success of the elections.
Executive Director of the organisation Kemi Okenyodo who made the call today in Abuja at the public presentation of the “Fifth Security Threat Assessment: Towards 2015 Elections (July-September 2014)”, also said the call by the Acting Governor of Taraba State Alhaji Garba Umar that some politicians are trying to divide the state along religious path should not be ignored as it is indicative of the looming danger ahead.
“The creation of additional 30,027 polling units with a distribution of the North having more than half of the PU allocations led to the southern political leaders openly canvassing for the resignation or removal of INEC Chairman. INEC should shelve the creation. This may calm frayed nerves and make the commission to focus on preparation for the 2015 polls,” Okenyodo said.
When asked to comment on INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega’s explanation on the PUs, she however said the foundation board had approved the outcome of their report and that does not mater as the commission should have called the stakeholders it was calling now over the controversy the issue generated before making the PU issue public and that it is not good for INEC to be involved in such controversy months before the elections.
Also speaking on the new PUs African Director of MacArthur Foundation one of the organisers of the event, Dr Kole Shettima, said INEC was trying to do the rational thing in an irrational way and in an irrational country where everything is seen in parochial mind-set, adding that INEC should have been more programmatic and  avoided putting itself in controversies.
He also said INEC release showing 78 percent for North-East ahead of other five regions in the collection and distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) is of concern if the current state in the region is anything to go by.
Speaking further on the coming elections, Okenyodo said INEC has not been able to win the confidence of Nigerians as it is yet to complete voter registration/distribution of PVC and the glaring inability of government to replicate the massive deployment of security agencies as witnessed in the deployment of over 30,000 and 73,000 security personnel for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections respectively.
She also urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the constitutional and electoral act amendments barely five months to the elections, saying this may affect INEC’s already laid down strategic plans for the elections.
While calling for immediate amendment of the Police Act to enhance its professionalism and detach it from political prerogatives, she said the use of masked men as security during elections should be stopped as it poses a great threat to the 2015 elections, adding that it is commendable that INEC has also opposed such move.
CP G. Mohammed and CSP Thomas Nabhon in their responses said the Police and other security agencies are monitoring situations and developments and are also aware of the expectations of Nigerians.
“I believe the Police and other security agencies are up to the task. Let Nigerians be confident that we are up to the task and would ensure the success of the 2015 elections,” Nabhon said.


Source: dailytrust

Monday, 11 August 2014

Preliminary Statement by CLEEN Foundation on the Conduct of Security Officials during the Osun State Gubernatorial Election



Introduction
In line with its commitment to contributing to effective election security management, the CLEEN Foundation, with support from the Justice for All (J4A) Program of DFID, observed the conduct of security officials during the Osun state gubernatorial election held on Saturday 9 August 2014. As done in previous elections across the country since 2011, CLEEN Foundation implemented a number of integrated activities aimed at contributing to public safety and security during the election in Osun State. First, it conducted a pre-election security threat assessment to identify potential security risks, flashpoints and mitigating factors to those threats. The finding of this assessment was shared broadly with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, other security agencies and civil society groups. Second, it organized a one day training workshop on election security management for all the Divisional Police Officers and other senior officials under the Osun state police command. The workshop was also attended by representatives of the Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner and the leadership of other law enforcement agencies. It provided a forum to share useful ideas on how to effectively police the election and generally ensure safety throughout the exercise. Third, CLEEN Foundation published abridged versions of the Police Service Commission’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Police Officers on Electoral Duty in two national dailies, widely read in the State. The publications also contained the contact numbers for the call centre it had set up to collate complaints and incident reports from the public on the conduct of security officials during the election. Lastly, CLEEN obtained accreditation from INEC, recruited, trained and deployed observers in all 30 local government areas (LGAs) in Osun state to observe the conduct of security operatives on election duty. This statement sums up the preliminary findings of that observation exercise.

Background
The gubernatorial election conducted in Osun State on 9 August 2014 was contested by candidates of 20 political parties. However, it was essentially seen as a race between the candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC). Coming on the heels of the Ekiti loss by APC to the PDP and the history of fierce electoral contestation in Osun state, the stakes were very high going into the election with both parties seeking to establish dominance. A number of likely threats to security during the election were therefore identified and these included unguarded statements, inflammatory and inciting comments by political gladiators in the state, perceived acts of prejudice or bias by security agents in favor or against any of the contestants, late arrival of election personnel and inadequate polling materials, inadequate security personnel at polling units and biased media reportage of events around the election. As was done in the Ekiti election, various law enforcement agencies deployed significant number of personnel across the state for the election.

Observations                          
1.      Security Presence in the State: As has become the pattern, there was very heavy deployment of security personnel across the state for the election. They mounted road blocks, conducted stop and search and patrolled various polling areas. However, their presence did not hinder the electoral process and there was no major security breach.

2.      Deployment of Security Personnel: Security officials were deployed in significant numbers to various polling units across the state. A majority of polling units had three or more security officials. However, there were isolated reports of late arrival of security officials (Unit 007, Ward 011, Ede north LGA) and crowd control challenges, especially where there were just one or two security officials (Unit 011, Ward 006 and Unit 007, Ward 011 Ede North; Unit 005, Ward 002, Ife East; Unit 002, Ward 002, Isokan LGA).

3.      Conduct of Security Personnel during the Election: Reports from across the areas observed indicated that most security officials on election duty carried out their duties in a very professional and commendable manner. They were alert, impartial, approachable and coordinated.  In places were crowd management became a challenge, they were able to call for back up from the armed roving patrol teams who intervened to restore order. However, a few incidents were reported such as the harassment of observers (Unit 003, Ward 004, Ife East LGA; Unit 001, Ward 009, Irewole LGA), and a minor scuffle between the police and soldiers at a check point close to Unit 001, Ward 002 in Idi-ore, Ayedire LGA. The presence of masked security personnel was also noted as a worrisome trend during the elections.

4.      Welfare of Security Personnel: The provision of adequate welfare for security officials on election duty remains a pressing challenge. Most of the officers, especially those deployed from other state commands, complained of poor accommodation and feeding arrangements. For instance, some officials deployed to the state on Sunday 3 August 2014 slept in empty primary school buildings on their own mats and only received a token amount on Friday 8 August 2014. This makes them increasingly vulnerable to compromise and should be addressed urgently.

5.      Deployment of Election Logistics: Across the state, election materials and personnel were reported to have arrived on time. INEC’s ad hoc personnel also demonstrated a better understanding of the process and were able to manage it effectively. Thus accreditation, voting and counting all went on schedule, with little or no challenges in most places.

6.      Activities of Party Agents: The unlawful activities of some party agents and loyalists remain worrisome. For instance, vote buying by party agents was noted at Unit 018, Ward 011, Ife Central LGA; Unit 001 and 002, Ward 003, Iwo LGA while impersonation was recorded in some places like Unit 002, Ward 004, Oriade LGA.

Recommendations
1.      The improvements in training and effectively deployment of INEC ad hoc staff and materials are commendable but much work still needs to be done to improve the quality of the voters’ register and minimize incidents of voters’ exclusion because of missing or inaccurate data.
2.      Security agencies are urged to plan ahead of each election and ensure adequate logistics provision for personnel it will be deploying to cater for their welfare while on electoral duty and minimize their vulnerability to compromise;
3.      The deployment strategy for security agencies on electoral duty should be revised and improved upon to ensure adequate coverage of polling units and flashpoint areas;
4.      Security agencies should work towards better coordination and synergy amongst their personnel on election duty and identifiable tags should be given to those deployed to facilitate accountability for their conduct;
5.      INEC and law enforcement agencies should take steps to hold political parties and their agents accountable for their conduct during elections put an end to impunity for electoral offences by arresting and prosecuting offenders.

We commend the efforts of INEC, the Police and other security agencies towards ensuring that the Osun gubernatorial election was peaceful and successful. We also congratulate the people of Osun State for their peaceful conduct during the election and after the release of the results. We thank the Justice for All (J4A) programme of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its generous support towards the observation of this election.

The CLEEN Foundation is a non-governmental organization established in 1998 and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to promote public safety, security and accessible justice. CLEEN Foundation is a member of several networks across the world and also has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

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