Conflict Bulletin:
Cross River State - Patterns and Trends, 2012-2015

Published August 22, 2015
By Nate Haken and Patricia Taft*
Nigeria Conflict Bulletins
View comments
 
 
Benedict Ayade, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won the gubernatorial election in April 2015, to replace outgoing Governor Liyel Imoke (also PDP). For years, Cross River was the stage to a territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. After a controversial UN-backed ICJ verdict in 2002 and a comprehensive resolution between the two nations in 2006, Abuja began to transfer authority of the peninsula to Yaoundé, and Cameroon eventually took full sovereignty of Bakassi in August 2013. Other issues reported in Cross River include periodic outbreaks of inter-communal violence, cult violence, and piracy.

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 the sources listed below, not necessarily the 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 distribution of incidents from one LGA to the next from January 2012 to June 2015. The trendline on the next page shows the number of incidents and fatalities over time. The bar chart shows the relative trend of incidents of insecurity by LGA per capita.

The summaries draw on data collected by ACLED, FFP’s UNLocK, the Council on Foreign Relations’ NST, WANEP Nigeria, CSS/ETH Zurich, NEEWS2015, and Nigeria Watch 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).

Abi
(Cross River Central Senatorial District)

Key LGA Risk Factors
> Inter-Communal/Land Conflict
> Criminality

In 2015, there were only two reported incidents of violence. In February, a church pastor and his aide were killed by unknown perpetrators, and in May a woman was shot dead by a soldier in a raid on petrol black marketers.

April and May in 2014 saw a spike in intercommunal violence over land disputes. Clashes were reported between the people of Usumutong and Ediba over a piece of land, causing security forces to intervene to restore order, with fatalities estimated at 15 people. Three civilians were killed a month later in similar clashes over farmland boundaries.

During this incident over a dozen people were reportedly killed in the course of a week. A similar clash led to seven deaths in March 2013. Separately, a police inspector was also killed by armed robbers in September 2013.

In 2012-2013, long-standing land disagreements in Abi sometimes turned violent. In January 2013, a community in Ikwo LGA in neighboring Ebonyi State reportedly clashed with communities in Abi.

Bakassi
(Cross River South Senatorial District)

Key LGA Risk Factors
> Cross-Border Conflict Issues
> Piracy
> Criminality

In 2015, several were killed when youths attacked a group of ex-militants.

In December 2014, gunmen reportedly attacked a filling station, shooting three.

In April 2013, five were reportedly killed by Cameroonian gendarmes for refusing to vacate an area ruled to now be part of Cameroon. In July, it was reported that police had broken up and arrested members of an arms dealing syndicate. Then, in August, a police officer and a civilian were allegedly killed in a revenge attack by suspected pirates after having been targeted by police operations.

In 2012, there was a protest over the demarcation of the Bakassi peninsula.

Calabar Municipal/South
(Cross River South Senatorial District)

Key LGA Risk Factors
> Cult Clashes
> Political Tensions
> Protests
> Intra-Communal Conflict (Leadership)
> Militancy/Piracy
> Kidnapping

There were several protests by different groups in 2015. In January, the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools protested taxes. Academic staff at the University of Calabar staged a protest at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission in April. Also in April, there was a protest by members of the National Youth Corps Service to demand their allowances for activities carried out during the elections, and in June patients at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital protested the high cost of treatment.

There were also many reports of unknown gunmen attacking or robbing people of the community, especially policemen. In June, militants launched an attack on the Police Marine Base and killed at least two policemen and looted sensitive documents. Later in the month, the Air force bombed waterways outside of Calabar in an attempt to target militants and pirates.

During 2014, protests were prevalent in the capital with a range of groups advocating for change. In May, 2014 students staged a protest against the abduction of the Chibok school girls. In May and September, groups of taxi drivers and women staged separate protests opposing high LGA and state taxation rates. In November, former public servants in Cross River State local government protested over non-payment of allowances. Further, a traditional ruler was reportedly killed in August of 2014.

Pre-election violence related to both state and federal elections was also evident during 2014. In August, three students from the University of Calabar were killed by security forces after the group began a protest over a local election issue. Witnesses reported the killings may have been unintentional. In November an explosion was reported at the PDP Secretariat.

Cult clashes resulted in a number of fatalities in 2014, including four people who were killed in a shoot-out between two rival cult groups; the Vikings and KK in August. Crime also continued to cause insecurity in Calabar South, with gunmen attacking a petrol station killing six people in late December and taking off with several million Naira. In May of that year, a lecturer was also killed by suspected by suspected cultists at the University of Calabar.

Predominant issues around the capital city of Calabar related to crime, domestic violence, piracy, as well as clashes between gangs, cults or political groups in 2012 and 2013. In March 2012, four were reportedly killed in a clash between Vikings and KKK members. In June 2012, six were reportedly killed in a similar clash. In August, as many as 28 were reportedly kidnapped and later rescued by the navy. In September 2012, four were reportedly killed in a PDP intra-party dispute. Furthermore, as the city is the political capital of the state, there were a number of protests in 2012-2013, including one by the by employees of the state’s internal revenue service (September 2012), students and staff at the Cross River University of Technology and the University of Calabar (September 2012, August 2013, October 2013), and those protesting over the Bakassi issue (October 2012).

In June 2013, two people were reportedly killed in a clash between pirates and police. Several were injured in an intra-communal leadership tussle within the Efut kingdom. In October, several were killed in a shootout between militants and security forces and in a separate incident that month, a man was abducted by pirates.

Odukpani
(Cross River South Senatorial District)

Key LGA Risk Factors
> Inter-Communal Violence
> Political Violence

In November of 2014 three people were reportedly killed in a political clash during a PDP ward congress.

In the line graph above, the spike in fatalities in the first half of 2012 was associated with a large-scale inter-communal land dispute in May of that year. People from a community in neighboring Akwa Ibom state reportedly clashed with a community in Odukpani, destroying churches and killing over forty villagers.

Ogoja
(Cross River North Senatorial District)

Key LGA Risk Factors
> Cult Clashes
> Criminality

There were issues of crime and vigilante justice in 2013, a deadly clash between youths and police in October 2013, and a violent clash between two rival cult groups in November 2013. Additionally, the LGA was hit by heavy rainstorms in May 2012, reportedly killing three and displacing thousands.

Yakurr
(Cross River Central Senatorial District)

Key LGA Risk Factors
> Inter-Communal/Land Conflict
> Political Violence
> Criminality

Election-related violence sparked in early 2015. In March, there was a two-day clash between Labor Party (LP) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) supporters. Four were left dead and several injured. The clash began with PDP members barricading a road to stop an LP rally. In April, one died and two were injured during the gubernatorial and state house of assembly elections.

In April 2013, eight were reportedly killed in a clash between two communities over a piece of farmland. In June 2013, four people in one community were reportedly killed by the people of another after a suspect was apprehended for allegedly stealing.

 
Download the full report in PDF format
 
* Hannah Blyth contributed to this report.
 

 
 

Comments