Friday, 31 October 2014

ELECTION SECURITY THREAT ASSESSMENT: TOWARDS 2015 ELECTIONS - Sixth Edition

Key Risk Factors
  1. Continued exclusion of minority groups from political participation should be addressed going forward.
  2. Political assassination, kidnapping, armed robbery and bombings are on the increase   as 2015 approaches.
  3. Unguarded statements by politicians can heat up the polity and they should advised otherwise
  4. Increasing activities of armed groups. Since the beginning of the year rural banditry and cattle rustling have continued to unabated thereby making life miserable for poor rural communities in Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara States.
  5. Non completion of constitutional and electoral act amendment by the National Assembly barely four months to the next general elections is also a danger signal as the electoral commission’s already laid down strategic plan for the polls may be grossly affected;
  6. Imposition of candidates works against the interest of internal democracy of parties. INEC should strengthen platforms for stakeholder dialogue on key security issues ahead of the 2015;
  7. Partisanship of security institutions: there are strong cases of partisan control of security institutions in the country. The Federal government has been very partisan in its use of the Police, Military and the DSS. This could be a major threat to security. Politicians have continued to use the example of Ekiti and Osun election to illustrate what could happen during the 2015 elections.
Recommendations
  1. The INEC led Inter Party Consultative Committee (IPAC) should ensure all politicians and political parties adhere to a Code of Conduct against violence, taking a cue from a proposal by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo;
  2. The neutrality of INEC as an impartial organisation can never be over emphasized. In addition to training on election good practices, bad elements within the organisation must be immediately replaced for credible elections.
  3. While INEC awaits the outcome of the amendment of the Electoral Act the Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security should start meeting periodically Security agencies need to foster interagency collaboration through information and skills sharing and jettison interagency rivalry;
  4. As a matter of urgency, INEC should identify ways of ensuring that IDP’s vote irrespective of where they find themselves;
  5. Community based groups should talk to politicians in their communities on the need to eschew political violence.  Well-meaning religious leaders have an important role to play through political education;
Preparations for the Elections
INEC has continued with the distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) across the country following the schedule for distribution which was earlier made public by the Commission. The third phase would commence from the 7 - 9 November 2014, the Continuous Voter Registration would take place from 13 - 17 November.

Gender Dimension
It has become obvious that women participate in the electoral process more as mobilisers and supporters but not contesting for key positions.  However as we get closer to the general elections, there indications of interest by women to contest for some elective positions in some states. For example, Ms. , Kofoworola Bucknor -  Akelere, former deputy of Lagos State has indicated interest to vie for the governorship election in Lagos state. In the South East, Senator Chris Anyanwu, representing Imo East senatorial district has indicated interest for the governorship position in Imo state.

Presence and Activities of Non-State Actors
Activities of non-state actors continue to evolve across the country, moreso as the elections approaches. Violent non state actors are present across the country for example Jama'atu Ahils Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad also known as Boko Haram in the Northern part of the country particularly in the North East; the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in the South South and Ombatse in the Nassarawa State, North Central Nigeria.  Nonviolent non state actors have also continued to evolve to work closely with the State at different levels to ensure continued safety and security of their communities. Memberships of these groups (both Non Violent and Violent) are largely drawn from the youth population in the communities.
In Gombe State, there is the recent reemergence of  'yan kalare' a group set up by former Governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje and used as political thugs during his tenure are alleged to be responsible for rising scale of pockets of violence in the State. The group is also said to be responsible for the recent pelting of Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo in the State.
Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara have continued to attract the activities of non-state security activities including vigilante groups. There is huge concentration of small arms and light weapons in the areas. A little trigger could easily ignite violence, sometimes with unexpected result. Kaduna has continued to experience increasing cases of violence especially in southern Kaduna. As the electoral politics heightens, some of the ethno-religious contentions in the state will continue to boil. The zone has also been affected by Boko Haram insurgency, especially in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Sokoto. Zamfara and Katsina have also been experiencing increasing cases of cattle rustling and rural banditry resulting in wanton destruction of lives and property.

With the increasing cases of cattle rustling, especially in Zamfara, Kaduna and Sokoto states, several community vigilante groups have been established. The Zamfara State government has recruited 4,540 security guards ostensibly in response to the security challenges in the state.  The State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, disclosed that the personnel would be deployed to the state’s 227 districts “so that every citizen in the state will feel secured”. The outfits are said to comprise Nigerian Legion, Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria, Vigilante Group, Man ‘O’ War and the Peace Corps. Others are the Boys Scout, the Red Crescent, Local Hunters Association and the Association of Retired SSS operatives in the state. Kano state government had earlier recruited 395 security personnel, apart from the 402 female recently recruited. Increasingly state governments are beginning to recruit their own security personnel, this is not simply a result of escalating insecurity in the zone, it is also reaction to the increasing partisan control of the federal security institutions like the military, Police and DSS by the PDP controlled federal government.
In Kano, Kaduna, Katsina 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. Militant youths called Area boys are major players in electoral politics and security in Sokoto state.
The Oodua People's Congress is the most pronounced group with wide spread in the region. Since 1999 the groups has basically functioned as private security outfits within the region.  Ogun State a state supported vigilante / neighbourhood watch group. There are allegations of the group being involved in extrajudicial killings and operating illegal detention facilities.  . In Osun State, the opposition PDP had alleged that the ‘State Boys’ are the armed thugs of Governor Rauf Aregbesola and by extension, APC in the state.  This allegation has been strongly denied by APC in the state; APC has in turn accused Senator Iyiola Omisore of being the godfather of a street gang known as IBK Boys. These boys were accused of being responsible for the killing of one Tolu Adeosun in Ilesa on Friday July 25, 2014.
In Ekiti State, the activities of violent non state actors working as political thugs have become an issue of concern. The assault of a High Court Judge on the 25th September when the High Court was invaded by political thugs resulted in the Judge being beaten up It was also alleged that one of the thugs that participated in the attack on the High Court Judge was a former chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the State, Mr. Omolafe Aderiye, who was also killed days later by unknown gunmen.
In the South-South, the increasing case of cult groups, ex-militants continue to be a cause for concern. In Bayelsa State, there are several community groups emerging mainly to endorse Governor Siriaki Dickson for a second tenure in 2016. This development is being interpreted as coming too early.  An area of concern is the manner in which the governor seems to be tying his re-election bid in 2016 to the re-election ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections.
In Rivers state, kidnapping of prominent public and political figures has continued for example the kidnap of immediate past president of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr Okey Wali on October 11, by unknown gunmen. He was later released after about 15 days with his abductors.  One of the ex-militants in the State who is presently responsible for the security of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta, and also an active participant in determining who becomes a member of Community Development Committees in Okrika.  The activities of groups like Deywell, Deygbam and Grassroot Democratic Initiative continue to create fear in the people.

Violent Hot Spots
We categorized the states according to the perceived level of threat using traffic light signals (green, amber and red). Red indicates presence of insurgency, intensity of politics with presence of different gladiators, violence that can lead to loss of lives and properties, Amber indicates presence of tension that have not escalated to earlier category under Red and Green is anything not Red or Amber. Most States fit into various categories depending on the level at which the analysis is done, that is  either national or regional level. However for the purpose of this STA, analysis done at the regional level so as to ensure that all possible threats and hotspots are identified and mapped accordingly.

•           RED: NC – Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau; NE – Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Taraba, Bauchi, Gombe, NW – Kaduna, Kano, SS – Rivers; Edo, Delta, Bayelsa; SW – Ekiti and Lagos

•           AMBER: NC – Federal Capital Territory, Kogi, and Niger; NW – Zamfara, Sokoto, , Katsina; SE – Enugu, Imo, Abia Anambra, and Ebonyi; SS –Akwa Ibom; SW – Ogun, Osun, Ondo

•           GREEN NC – Kwara, NW – Kebbi, Jigawa; SS – Cross River NW- Jigawa, Kebbi


To download the full report, visit www.cleen.org or cleenfoundation.blogspot.com

1 comments:

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