Security Threat Assessment: Towards 2015 Elections By CLEEN Foundation

Security Threat Assessment: Towards 2015 Elections
Key Risk Factors:

  • Persisting insurgency and the proliferation of terrorist camps into new areas
  • Communal conflicts and the increasing activities of armed groups
  • Alleged use of federal might to crush or restrict opposition
  • Inadequate logistics and welfare for security agents on electoral duty
  • Inability of electorate to obtain Permanent Voters Card ahead of the general election

Key Mitigating Factors:

  • Sustained engagements through the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on Election Security;
  • Settlement of inter-ethnic/communal disputes
  • Intensified effort to end the insurgency and dislodge the new camps
  • Proper funding for INEC and Security agencies
  • Collaborating between security agencies and early response to identified threats
  • Massive and sustained voter education, especially peace education

Preparations for the Elections
Political activities across the country are gradually heightening.  The two major political parties (PDP and APC) are raising their game. The APC has had its state and national congresses. Some of the congresses, like that of Kaduna state, was contentious and have been attracting protest by disgruntled members. The Independent National Electoral Commission had a good outing in the Ekiti State gubernatorial election on 21 June 2014. There are hopes that it will replicate this in Osun on 9 August 2015 and boost public confidence in its preparedness for the 2015 election. However, it still has to surmount the challenge of Continuous Voters Registration and the distribution of Permanent Voters Card in several states of the federation.

Gender Dimension
There is as usual a low participation of women vying for elected political offices with little change to be expected. Only a few women are holding leadership positions at the state and national level. Women are not currently featuring prominently in most of the permutations, neither are they strategically involved in most of the political parties. Nevertheless, as we run towards the third quarter of the year, more of these candidates could emerge. On the other hand, the growing participation of women in the insurgency as evidenced by the recent foiled attempt by a woman to attack an army barrack in Gombe State portends the greatest gender based threat ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Presence and Activities of Non-State Actors
The activities of non-state actors in Nigeria remain very prominent. It has evolved over the years such that there are non – state actors operating across different layers from the communities to the states and at the regional level. Some of these groups have become organised themselves to serve very useful purposes, for example the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN). Some States  have also set up Neighborhood Watch Schemes backed by State Laws. There is a dire need to understand the operations, recruitment, financing and accountability processes of these different groups particularly the ones operating at the national and state levels. The patronage and effectiveness of these groups need to be understood as the country gets closer to the 2015 general elections.

However, in some states local militia and youth groups are used to fuel communal conflicts. This can be seen in the communal feud between the Tiv and Jukun in Taraba which has now been extended to affect the Hausa/Fulani and has already taken a religious dimension with increasing casualties across all divides. This is also likely to affect the smooth conduct of the 2015 elections since all the warring parties may be fielding candidates for the election. The proliferation of Boko Haram’s base in the region is of great concern too. The recent identification of Boko Haram base in three contiguous local governments of Bauchi State – Darazo, Ningi and Ganjuwa needs to be closely watched. The sect’s open air preaching and recruitment of members through monetary benefits to youths from the immediate communities no doubt presents serious threat. With the recent bombing incidents in Abuja and Kano, and the discovery of IEDs in a church in Owerri and a mosque in Kano, concerns about how widespread the insecurity may become in 2015 continues to loom large.

Migration and Internal Displacement
According to a recent report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), an estimated 15.5million people have been affected by conflict and natural disasters in Nigeria. Of this number, 646,993 persons have been internally displaced by insecurity (both communal conflict and insurgency). The conflict has also resulted in an escalation of Sexual and Gender based Violence in the NorthEast. A significant number of persons in the IDP camps are women and they are vulnerable. The rights of victims whose limbs have been affected by the security crisis should also be taken into consideration ahead of the elections.

Violent Hotspots
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.

  • RED: NC – Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau; NE – Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Taraba; NW – Kano and Kaduna SS – Rivers;  SE – Enugu and Imo; SW – Osun and Ekiti
  • AMBER: NC – Kogi and Niger (and FCT); NE – Bauchi and Gombe; NW – Kastina, Sokoto and Zamfara; SE –Abia, Anambra and Ebonyi; SS – Akwa Ibom, Delta and Edo; SW – Lagos, Osun, Ondo and Oyo
  • GREEN: NC – Kwara; NW – Jigawa and Kebbi; SS – Cross River and Bayelsa; SW –(None for NE, SW and SE)
  • To download the full report, visit www.cleen.org orcleenfoundation.blogspot.com

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