Wednesday 10 December 2014


Background/Political Context

This month presented us with lots of intrigues, squabbles, accusation and counter-accusation and security threats ahead of 2015 elections. President Goodluck Jonathan on the 11th declared his intention to contest for the 2015 presidential race just a day after a suicide bomber denoted bomb in a secondary school in Yobe State, killing 48 and injuring 78 students.[1] On October 20th 2014, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This was not without attendant issues leading to the withdrawal of his security aids and call for removal by the PDP as speaker of the House. The party congress held across the country to elect party delegates were not without violence and squabbles.

This Security Threat Assessment (STA) is the seventh in the series, it is the outcome of a field work that was undertaken across the thirty six states of the federation and the Federal Capital Abuja. The objectives of the STA are threefold to: a) Track and analyze emerging trends that can either make or mar INEC’s preparedness towards the 2015 elections with specific reference to a credible and violence free election; b) Identify security hotspots, players and drivers of violence and; c) Provide specific recommendations to INEC, other institutions and actors towards violence free elections.

Key Risk Factors
  1. Boko Haram insurgency in the north east: Until the situation in the north east is addressed we cannot rule out the possibility of more attacks across the country. In the last three years, all the states in the north east and some parts of North West (Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa) have been attacked by Boko Haram. It is even more likely now that electioneering is fast picking up. Criminal elements and political party thugs can disguise as Boko Haram to perpetuate mayhem on opposition groups;
  1. Partisanship of security institutions: There are strong cases of partisan control of security institutions in the country. The federal government has been partisan in its use of the police and the state security service. This could be major threat to security. As we get close to elections, the feeling of political repression could be major risk factors. The incidence of police invasion of the national assembly and how police supported a minority group to impeach the Speaker of Ekiti State house of Assembly is not only clear reflection of partisanship that also indicates the possibility of  security agencies being compromised during the 2015 elections. In reaction to this, opposition states are setting up  their own security outfits which could serve as counterforce to the federal security agencies. The leadership of APC led a peaceful demonstration to the police Headquarters in Abuja in respect of this. 
  1. Electoral manipulation: Vote rigging or perceived rigging will be the major trigger of violence in the region especially the gubernatorial and Presidential elections. It was perceived vote rigging that triggered the 2011 post-election violence. It appears certain that vote rigging or perceived manipulation of the electoral will trigger violence in Kano, Kaduna and Katsina state;
  1. PVC and Continuous Voter Registration. The increasing accusation of possible disenfranchisement by opposition political parties could be major threats to the election. INEC should respond to this with all seriousness. All the cases of missing data in voters registered should be addressed through extended continuous voter registration. INEC should ensure all registered voters received their PVC.
  1. The electoral commission should ensure free, fair and credible election. This can be achieved only if INEC commences early preparation for the elections. Some of these preparatory issues should include update of electoral laws, effective distribution of PVCs, update of voters register and training of ad hoc staff.
  1. Political Parties and Inter party dialogue should be encouraged. Although some of the gains are been reversed, Sokoto state government sets a good example a few months ago when it taken a number of steps to remove potential triggers and force candidates to adhere to agreed-upon norms. For example, in the North West, state officials banned the large campaign posters that have previously instigated fights between opposing supporters.
  2. Elite Crisis Mitigating Interventions: A key driver of violence is the zero-sum politics that have been linked to unsettled disagreement between political elites. Many of these conflicts are already brewing across States in the zone. It is necessary for some eminent persons with leverage to intervene to mediate in these conflicts as intra-party mediation mechanisms have been weakened by impunity.
  3. Training of Journalists on Conflict Sensitive Reporting: The manner the media has been reporting and is likely to report political rivalry and differences has implications for election security. A cursory examination of newspapers reveals high levels of sensationalism which if left unchecked could contribute to political or election-related violence. Media practitioners should be exposed to training on reporting of political conflicts to mitigate risk of their reports becoming triggers for violence.

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Friday 31 October 2014


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.
  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 or

Tuesday 21 October 2014


The CLEEN Foundation in partnership with the British High Commission in Nigeria has opened a series of training workshops for Human Rights’ Defenders from North East Nigeria in Abuja. The training commenced on Monday 20th October 2014 with a first batch of about 40 participants and will continue through the week with two subsequent batches of trainees. The goal of the training workshop is to build the capacity of 120 human right advocates to better support human right protection and defense initiatives in their communities. The training is imperative in the face of human right and security challenges in North East, Nigeria.

This training is coming after an earlier mapping study through which we identified human rights defenders in North East. The feedback from the identified human rights advocates highlighted the need for training and therefore informed the training workshop today. The series of the two-day workshop is being facilitated by a team of local and international facilitators and supported by the staff of the CLEEN Foundation.

At the end of the training, participants would return to their different organizations and communities better informed and educated on modules such as “Understanding and Analyzing Human Rights”, “Data Collection and Advocacy”, “Report Writing and Documentation” as well as “Storage and Litigation of Human Rights Abuses”. The training workshops will be followed up with a mentoring program for the trainees to assist them further refine their skills and identify entry points for engagement in their communities. The evaluation of this training and mentorship will help to refine the framing of our future activities as we look forward to sustained commitment and increase awareness on the defense of human right in Nigeria with particular emphasis on the North East geopolitical zone.

The CLEEN Foundation is a national NGO aimed at improving of public safety, security and justice in Nigeria. This we do through empirical studies, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes in partnership with government agencies, organized private sector and civil society groups. The British High Commission in Nigeria is a dependable and supportive partner in the efforts to promote access to justice, security and the protection of human rights in Nigeria. The CLEEN Foundation is honoured for this strategic partnership and looks forward to stronger collaborations in the future.

For more information visit


‘Kemi Okenyodo
Executive Director
CLEEN Foundation

Wednesday 15 October 2014

ADAMAWA STATE: Election Security Threat Assessment

Key Risk Factors:
·          Nearly half of the state (mostly in northern and central parts) is perceived to be insecure either due to insurgency and activities of restive youths that are thugs.
·          From experience of the nature of insurgency in the northeast, there may be infiltration of Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps in the state by insurgents who may already be disguising in these camps as IDPs.
·         The heavy security presence in the state capital Yola appears to have impacted on the civilian population.

Key Mitigating Factors:
·          Security forces should increase their monitoring and surveillance of all interested parties in the State;
·          The activities of the State House of Assembly should be closely monitored too because of the recent trend of impeachment processes;
·          The IDP camps should be fully secured to ensure that they are not infiltrated by insurgents, thugs or hoodlums; and
·         Security forces should take due care to ensure that they do not provoke the local population through overzealous acts of some of its officers.

Consequent upon the impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako in on 11th June 2014, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled October 11th 2014 as the date for the by-election for governorship election in Adamawa State. The by-election is of significance in three main respects as it will (i) serve to prove whether INEC can consolidate on the success recorded in the recently held Osun State governorship election (ii) test the capacity of security agencies involved the conduct of election; and more importantly (iii) serve as a litmus test for the conduct of 2105 elections in the three states of the northeast currently under emergency rule.

Brief History of Adamawa State
Adamawa State was created on 27th August 1991 by the military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida when the defunct Gongola State was split into Adamawa and Taraba States. Adamawa State is bounded in the north by Borno State, in the east by Gombe and Taraba States, and in the south by Taraba. The state which covers an area of 38,823 km2 has total population of 3,178,950 in 2006 and is administratively divided into 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Development Areas (DAs). The DAs were created by the state government to further spread development to the rural areas.  Agriculture is the predominant economic activity in the state, mostly practiced at subsistence level. Politically, the state is divided into three senatorial zones – Adamawa north, central and south, and 21 state constituencies in the state House of Assembly. INEC had registered 1,529,636 voters for the October 11 bye-election in the state.

The senatorial zones and their composition are:
Senatorial Zone
Total Population
Adamawa North (A)
Madagali, Maiha, Michika, Mubi North, Mubi South
Adamawa Central (B)
Demsa, Ganye, Guyuk, Jada, Lamurde, Mayo-Belwa, Numan, Shelleng, Toungo
Adamawa South (C)
Fufore, Girei, Gombi, Hong, Song, Yola North, Yola South

Adamawa state is culturally diverse, being home to about 80 different ethnic groups, with Fulani being predominant. Fulfulde (language of the Fulani) is widely spoken by majority of the people in the state due largely to the hegemonic role played by the Fulani rulers in the aftermath of the Fulani Jihad by Usman Danfodio in the 19th Century and subsequent developments. Consequently, a traditional system of administration being relic of the former colonial Native Authority system exists headed by the Lamido Adamawa as the Chairman, Council of Chiefs.  Other emirates also exist that roughly fit into the boundaries of the major ethnic groups that make up the state. The traditional rulers though significant in local administration have no clearly defined constitutional role and are supposed to be non partisan

Political Developments in Adamawa
Since its creation in 1991, Adamawa State was administered by eight governors, four of them military administrators. The first civilian governor of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Saleh Michika was elected on the platform of the National Republican Convention (NRC). Michika governed the state from 2nd January 1992 – 17th November, 1993 in opposition to the predominant Social Democratic Party that won the June 12 1993 presidential elections that was annulled. After years of military interregnum, Boni Haruna of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ruled from 29th May 1999 – 29th April 2007, a period that launched Adamawa into the mainstream of national politics for being in the ruling party. Murtala Nyako continued to extend the PDP rule from 29th May 2007 – 26th February, 2008; and 29th April 2008 – 15th July, 2014. Nyako’s rule was briefly punctuated by a tribunal judgment that annulled the election which paved way for James Barka (26th February, 2008 – 29th April, 2008) as Acting Governor. Murtala Nyako’s second term was also briefly punctuated when Alhaji Umaru Fintiri became the Acting Governor from 27th January, 2012 to 8th February, 2012. The recent defection of Governor Nyako to the All Progressives Congress in November 2013 and developments thereafter led to his impeachment on 15th July 2014 and subsequent emergence of Alhaji Umaru Fintiri, erstwhile speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly as Acting Governor for the second time. A Federal High Court ruled on 8th October 2014 in Abuja that Nyako’s former deputy Bala James Ngilari who never decamped to the APC did not resign his appointment. Ngilari was immediately sworn in as governor to complete the remaining period. 
From these developments, a number of important lessons could be discerned in the politics of Adamawa State which is characterized by (i) keen contest between political parties e.g. the annulment of Nyako’s election and the conduct of fresh elections thereafter, (ii) intra party squabbles that is characterized by poor relations between the legislature and executive leading to Governor Nyako’s impeachment on July 15th 2014, and (iii) power swing towards and away from the central government evidenced by the state being controlled even if briefly by NRC and APC (opposition parties) and PDP (ruling party) contrary to the situation in neighbouring states like Bauchi and Taraba that have consistently been politically identified with the central government.
The swearing-in of Bala Ngilari as the governor of Adamawa, no doubt unexpectedly came with new challenges namely, the cancellation of the governorship bye-election in the State. The APC believes that this development was manipulated by the ruling PDP for fear of defeat and so the swearing-in of Bala Ngilari as governor only amounts to postponing the possibility of APC taking back the State in February 2015.
Another challenge is the perceived disquiet within the PDP between the supporters of Ngilari the new governor and the former acting governor Ahmadu Fintiri who has already filed an appeal.  Both parties are from the same local government area, Madagali however Ngilari is a Christain while Fintiri is a Muslim. This could introduce a religious dimension to intra party politics of PDP in the State.

New Governor of Adamawa State: Bala James Ngilari
Barrister Ngilari was until his coming to politics a respected lawyer and a successful business man in the northeast. Ngilari served as deputy governor to the former governor Murtala Nyako but unlike his governor,  he never defected to the APC. His emergence as the new governor is likely to be contested by his fellow party men if he shows interest in becoming governor of Adamawa in 2015

Synthesis of security threats
In the aftermath of the cancellation of the proposed bye-election in Adamawa, the following threats are likely to emerge
·         Nearly half of the state (mostly in northern and central parts) is perceived to be insecure either due to insurgency and activities of restive youths that are thugs.
·         From experience of the nature of insurgency in the northeast, there may be infiltration of Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps in the state by insurgents who may already be disguising in these camps as IDPs.
·         There is the perceived feeling that the bye-election was cancelled by the national PDP for fear of defeat.
·         The heavy security presence in the state capital Yola appears to have impacted on the civilian population there was a report of an eight year old pupil that was shot by a stray bullet while in school.
Potential Flashpoints
The following areas are considered volatile in Adamawa State
·         The entire Madagali local government area where insurgency is most intense shares  borders with Gwoza local government area of Borno State;
·         Michika local government area which is close to Madagali;
·         Mubi North and South local government areas due to threats by insurgents;
·         Maiha due to fear of insurgency;
·         Jimeta (Yola North) due to presence of IDPs and restive youths who are thugs; and
·         Girei due to same reasons as Jimeta.
·         Security forces should increase their monitoring and surveillance of all interested parties in the State;
·         The activities of the State House of Assembly should be closely monitored too because of the recent trend of impeachment processes;
·         Communities hosting IDPs and the IDP camps should be fully secured to ensure that they are not infiltrated by insurgents, thugs or hoodlums; and
·         Security forces should take due care to ensure that they do not provoke the local population through overzealous acts of some of its officers.

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