Conflict Bulletin:
Akwa Ibom State - Patterns and Trends, 2012-2014

Published April 30, 2015
By Nate Haken and Patricia Taft*
Nigeria Conflict Bulletins
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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. Following the re-election of Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio (People’s Democratic Party), however, the per capita level of violence dropped significantly. In the second half of 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 2012-2014, Akwa Ibom was the least violent state in the Niger Delta region as measured by reported incidents per capita. In early 2014, major incidents included the abduction of the Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo by militants in May, and an inter-communal clash leading to the beheadings of three people in January. Incidents and fatalities decreased in the second half of 2014, representing a significant shift from the high levels of pre-election violence seen in 2011. Udom Emmanuel (PDP) won the gubernatorial election in April 2015.

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). It represents a compilation of the data from sources listed below, not necessarily opinions of FFP or any other organization that collaborated on the production of this bulletin.

The screenshot of the heat map on this page shows the relative geographic distribution of incidents between 2012 and 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 Niger Delta states per capita. The summaries draw on data collected by FFP’s UNLocK, the Council on Foreign Relations’ NST, WANEP Nigeria, CSS/ETH Zurich, NEEWS/TMG, Nigeria Watch, and ACLED integrated on the P4P platform. They also draw on data and information from “Violence in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,” by Patricia Taft and Nate Haken (Springer Press, April 2015).

LGA Level Summary

Mbo
(Akwa Ibom South Sen. District)

Mbo LGA was affected by 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 Effiat 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. During 2014 only one Mbo incident was reported, when a man was killed in September for his alleged involvement in wizardry.

Oron
(Akwa Ibom South Sen. District)

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 rivalry 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 early 2014 there were no reports of insecurity, however incidents spiked in the second half of 2014 due to youth protests over the state government, piracy, and motorcycle bans. In September, piracy attacks reportedly accounted for the deaths of at least two naval officers. In December 2014 youths staged a peaceful protest march in opposition to the selection process for the gubernatorial PDP candidate.

Uyo
(Akwa Ibom North East Sen. District)

Within and around the capital city of Uyo, there was 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, killing seven. Additionally, in 2013 there were multiple violent protests, including one in April against a company’s employment policies. Student protests over management decisions to not allow student unions on campus also led to violent clashes in 2014. 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 affecting UNIUYO, in May 2014, the residence of the University’s Vice-Chancellor was reportedly attacked by gunmen. Similar clashes also broke out during a student protest on the Oyo campus of the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic in September 2014, with several people injured. In October, it was reported that a clash between PDP supporters over a list of delegates left one dead while in December there were reports of protests following the announcement of results of the primary elections.

Ibesikpo Asutan
(Akwa Ibom North East Sen. District)

Issues in Ibesikpo Asuntan mainly related to domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse. In April 2014, a man reportedly beheaded two of his cousins with a machete.

Eket
(Akwa Ibom South Sen. District)

The second largest city in the state, Eket’s main sources of conflict are derived from localized criminal activity, unrest from extractives operations in the area, and cult violence. In October 2013, there was a protest against a company operating in the area over the alleged non-payment of expected compensation. In June 2014, a cult clash led to the deaths of two people, who were found in a gutter with machete wounds. In July 2014, protesting youths blocked access to a mine facility in protest to an oil spill that had occurred while n October, a retired army office reportedly killed his son with a machete. No motive was reported.

Ikot Ekpene
(Akwa Ibom North West Sen. District)

Apart from some alleged irregularities reported during the April 2012 PDP primaries, Ikot Epkene LGA had few reported deadly incidents. In the second half of 2013, there was reported to be a failed rescue operation of an abducted politician in October and a clash over land claiming one life in December. There was also a cultist clash at Akwa Poly, leaving two people dead in March 2014. Consistent with the unrest on student campuses in Uyo, violent protests over student unions were also reported in the Ikot Ekpene campus of the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic in September 2014.

Ini
(Akwa Ibom North West Sen. District)

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 also reportedly killed during the local government elections in June 2012. The only incident reported during 2014 related to intercommunal violence between the Nkari people in Akwa Ibom and the Arochukuni people in Avia, resulting in displacement of people and an unknown number of fatalities..

Abak
(Akwa Ibom North West Sen. District)

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. During 2014, the only incident reported was the killing of a prominent politician in March.

Ibeno
(Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District)

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.. In March 2014, road workers staged a protest against the de-unionization of their company.

Esit-Eket
(Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District)

In January 2012, there was reportedly a land dispute between two communities, which led to the death of one person. Separately, in March 2013, a group, called the "Niger Delta Subterranean Force," allegedly threatened to attack an oil and gas company unless the company agreed to give them contracts to protect the pipeline. A traditional ruler in Esit-Eket was abducted in late October 2013. Protests over oil spills affecting the Nkpana community  reportedly occurred in June 2014.

 
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* Hannah Blyth and Ania Skinner contributed to this report.
 

 
 

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