Akwa Ibom State - July 2014
Published July 29, 2014
By Patricia Taft*
Nigeria Conflict Bulletins
Akwa Ibom has a population of about 3.9 million people according to the 2006 census. Predominantly inhabited by the Ibibio people, the state is also home to Annang, Oron, Obolo and Eket communities. Endowed with large deposits of crude oil, condensate and gas, Akwa Ibom is among the largest petroleum producers in Nigeria. Agriculture also constitutes an important income-generating activity in the state, particularly the farming of palm produce, rubber, cocoa, rice, cassava, yam, plantain, banana, maize, and timber.
Violence in the state was elevated during the gubernatorial elections of 2011. After the re-election of Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio (People’s Democratic Party), however, the per capita level of violence dropped significantly. In 2013 violence trended upward, with incidents reported around the capital city of Uyo, the town of Ikot Ekpene, and the coastal Local Government Areas (LGAs) to the south, including issues of land conflict, political tensions, protests, and abductions. Overall, between 2012-2013, Akwa Ibom was the least violent state in the Niger Delta region as measured by reported incidents per capita. In May 2014, major incidents included gunmen reportedly firing bullets into the home of the Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo and an inter-communal clash leading to the beheadings of three people.
This Conflict Bulletin provides a brief snapshot of the trends and patterns of conflict risk factors at the State and LGA levels, drawing on the data available on the P4P Digital Platform for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement (www.p4p-nigerdelta.org).
The screenshot of the heat map above shows the relative distribution of incidents by LGA between 2012 and mid-2014. The bar chart shows the relative violence from one Niger Delta state to the next. The trend line on the next page shows the number of incidents and fatalities over time. The second bar chart shows the trend of incidents of insecurity by LGA per capita.
The summaries draw on data collected by FFP’s UNLocK, the Council on Foreign Relations’ NST, WANEP Nigeria, CSS/ETH Zurich, Nigeria Watch, and ACLED integrated on the P4P platform.
LGA Level Summary January 2012 - June 2014
Mbo LGA experienced intra- and inter-communal tensions in 2012-2013. In May 2012, Ebughu and Effiat communities clashed, reportedly killing one. In January 2013, seven reportedly died in a separate clash over farming land. In March 2013, there was a reported clash in Unyenge community. In November 2013, two women were killed in a renewed clash among feuding communities. Mbo LGA has also been affected by piracy including reported incidents in February 2012 and August 2013, leading the government to increase its naval presence in the coastal waters. In July and September 2013, it was reported that there were violent protests over the lack of amenities and compensation by companies operating in the area. In early 2014, there were no reported incidents of insecurity.
Around the capital city of Uyo, there were a series of killings reported in 2012-2013, including that of a former government official in October 2012. A violent clash among three rival cult groups was also reported in October 2013, allegedly killing seven. Additionally, in 2013 there were multiple violent protests, including one in April against a company’s employment policies. The University of Uyo (UNIUYO) was forced to briefly shut down in June after a protest turned violent, destroying school property and killing several students. Also, in May 2014, it was reported that the home of the Vice Chancellor of the University had been attacked by militants, allegedly in retaliation for inflammatory statements made by her against a known militant group and organized criminal gangs. A couple of protests and murders were also reported in the first half of 2014.
Issues in Ibesikpo Asuntan mainly related to domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse. In April 2014, a 35-year old man reportedly beheaded two of his cousins with a machete.
Apart from alleged irregularities reported during the April 2012 PDP primaries, Ikot Epkene LGA had few reported deadly incidents until the latter half of 2013. In October, there was a death reported which was related to the failed rescue of an abducted politician and, in December, a clash over land that claimed one life. There was also a cultist clash at Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, reportedly leaving two people dead in March 2014.
The second largest city in the state, Eket experienced issues of extortion and youth criminality. Several people were reportedly killed during this period, including a village elder in October 2012 and the local PDP chair in May 2013. In October 2013, there was a protest against a company operating in the area over the non-payment of expected compensation. In March 2014 a suspected murderer was reportedly lynched by a mob. June 2014, a cult clash led to the deaths of two people, who were found in a gutter with several machete wounds.
Among LGAs in Akwa Ibom, Oron reportedly has a relatively high concentration of cult groups and cultist activities. In October 2012, four people died in a clash between the Black Axe and Vikings cult groups. Separately, at least one former official was reportedly killed for political reasons in 2012. In August 2013, there was a gun battle between the navy and a group of pirates, killing six suspected pirates. In the first half of 2014, there were no reported issues related to insecurity.
Three brothers were reportedly killed by gunmen in March 2012 after a clash over the construction of a dam in their village. Three people were reportedly killed during the local government elections in June 2012.
Two people were reportedly killed during the LGA PDP primaries in April 2012. According to news reports, several other LGAs also experienced political violence during this period.
In April 2013, a violent land dispute between an Ibeno community and another in neighboring Eket LGA led to the deaths of five people and the destruction of dozens of homes, displacing several families.
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* Marcela Aguirre contributed to this report.