Nigeria: 15 states most prone to electoral violence – Report

Protests followed Benue governorship elections in 2011.
Protests followed Benue governorship elections in 2011.

CLEEN Foundation says the security situation in the country is seen as a reflection of the failure of the Nigerian state to protect its citizens.

Electoral violence is most likely to occur in 15 Nigerian states during the 2015 general elections, a research by a non-governmental organisation has shown.

CLEEN Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that promotes public safety, security, and access to justice, on Wednesday in Abuja listed 15 states as the most volatile with high security risk during the forthcoming 2015 election.

The organization in its report titled ‘Third Security Threat Assessment’, noted that the security situation in the country could be seen as a reflection of the failure of the Nigerian state to protect its citizens.

The states listed as most volatile are Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Rivers, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Ekiti and Osun.

Three of these states – Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe – are already under emergency rule due to the activities of the terrorist Boko Haram group.

Some others like Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and Zamfara have recently witnessed killings of hundreds of people by unidentified armed men, as well as through communal and ethno-religious violence. The latest being the killing of over 100 people in a Zamfara community on Saturday by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles.

In an earlier assessment in July 2013, the organisation had listed Borno, Rivers, Bauchi, Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, Nasarawa, Delta, Sokoto, Adamawa, and Yobe as the most volatile states.

Parameters for categorisation

The organization stated that the parameters 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 terrorists and militants, as well as communal and religious conflict.

Others include zoning arrangement, bid for second term by the incumbent governor, and jostle for federal and state legislative positions.

The foundation also listed proliferation of arms and increased activities by armed groups as major risk factors towards the 2015 election.

It also listed 11 states as mid-volatile. These are Kogi, Niger, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina, Sokoto, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Delta, and Akwa Ibom.

The organisation categorised the remaining 10 states including Lagos, Ondo, and Sokoto as low-volatile or stable states. It, however, said Ekiti and Osun oscillate between most volatile and mid-volatile groups.

CLEEN Foundation said the threat assessment will run quarterly till June; every two months after June; and then fortnightly by 2015.

In 2011, Nigeria experienced post-election violence that led to the death of many citizens including National Youth Service Corps members posted to various states.

In states like Kaduna, the post-election violence left over 4, 000 persons displaced and several houses destroyed and burnt. This also prompted the Kaduna State government to disburse N140 million to the displaced person.

Many of the victims of the communal clashes and election violence including women and children were reportedly hacked to death, shot, or burnt alive based on their ethnic identity or political beliefs.

Recommendations

To prevent violence during the 2015 elections, CLEEN Foundation made some recommendations.

It recommended rapid response to humanitarian crisis in the North East and concerted checks to reduce inflow of small arms into Nigeria.

It also said election related stakeholders including security agencies, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and political groups must commence preparation for the 2015 election and mainstream conflict management in their plans.


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