Edo State - July 2014
Published July 15, 2014
By Nate Haken*
Nigeria Conflict Bulletins
Landlocked between Ondo, Kogi and Delta States, Edo is home to about 3.2 million people (2006 census), predominantly of Edo, Bini, Owan, Esan, and Afemai background. Edo’s economy centers around agriculture, including food crops such as yams, cassava, rice or maize and cash crops such as rubber, palm oil, cotton, cocoa and timber. Edo’s capital, Benin City, is the center of Nigeria’s rubber industry. Edo also contains significant deposits of granite, limestone, marble, lignite, crude oil, gold, and kaolin clay.
Edo’s State governor, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, took office in November 2008 after winning an appeal in the 2007 elections, which had initially declared his rival, Oserheimen Osunbor, as governor. In July 2012, Oshiomhole was reelected for a second term in a landslide victory. He is one of six governors affiliated with the Action Congress of Nigeria Party (ACN).
Edo was one of the Niger Delta’s more violent states on a per-capita basis from 2012 to mid 2014, with about 113 incidents claiming the lives of over 250 people. Reported incidents of violence and associated fatalities have increased since 2012. Issues in Edo ranged from protests, criminality, abductions and domestic violence to clashes between gangs, cults, political groups and communities. Over half of these incidents were reported in the Oredo Local Government Area (LGA), home to Benin City, although violence was also reported further north, notably in the Esan West, Uhunmwonde, and Etsako Central, East and West LGAs.
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 from 2012 to mid-2014. The trend-line on the next page shows the number of incidents and fatalities over time. The 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
Home to the state’s capital, Benin City, Oredo LGA experienced collective violence between gangs, cult groups, religious groups, political groups and communities during this period. In January 2012, a cult clash between Eiye and Black Axe confraternities reportedly killed eight over the course of a week, while two similar clashes in June and July 2012 led to the deaths of three and four respectively. The same Eiye Confraternity also lost some of its members through an intra-cult clash in November 2013. Violence between the Eiye and Aye (Black Axe) confraternities continued in 2014, killing four in January. In March, a 14-year-old reportedly died in a cult clash.
Ethnic/religious groups also clashed in 2012-2014, notably in early 2012 when two mosques and an Islamic school were attacked, killing five and forcing many to flee. In May 2012, the principal private secretary to Edo State’s governor was murdered at his residence. In April 2013, factions of the PDP and the ACN clashed during the local government elections. In July 2013, the Deputy National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) was attacked at his home. There were several cases of abductions reported in Oredo, including that of an Israeli expatriate in July 2013 and of three female teachers in August of the same year. A pastor was also killed in November 2013.
In March 2014, three men were killed by officers of a special unit to combat kidnapping while attempting to abduct a pregnant woman. Finally, as the political capital of the state, there were multiple protests in Oredo in 2012-2014. In January 2012, there was a protest against a fuel subsidy removal. In August 2012, there was a protest for the release of a human rights activist. In March 2013, there was a protest against levies and extortion from the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria. In June 2013, there was a protest after the alleged killing of a student by police. In early to mid-2014, there were protests over labor issues, against the Chibok abductions of nearly 300 schoolgirls in the North, over the absence of access to post-natal care for women in Benin, and over governance issues within the Niger Delta Development Commission. There were also a number of murders reported. Separately, the military raided several newspapers in Benin City in June 2014.
In February 2012, two people were reportedly killed in an intra-communal land dispute which also caused villagers to flee to neighboring communities. Two abduction cases were also reported in August and December 2013, with two policemen killed in the first incident and an individual who was being abducted killed in the second incident.
A series of bank robberies by a large gang of armed gunmen reportedly led to the deaths of over a dozen people in Etsako West in November 2012. In 2013, there were political protest and clashes. Around the time of the local government elections, a clash between supporters of opposing political parties led to two fatalities. Also in mid-2013, PDP supporters reportedly protested the results of the election, calling for another vote. The All Progressive Congress chief in Edo was allegedly kidnapped in August 2013, but eventually released in September 2013 and his kidnappers arrested. In 2014, reported issues included a cult clash in March, which killed several students, and a communal clash over land in April.
Esan LGAs were relatively violent from 2012 to mid 2014. Cult clashes in August 2012 killed several. Also in cult-related violence, a leader of the Buckaneers was reportedly killed in March 2014. Conflict risk factors during the 2013 local elections included the murder of an active ACN member in April 2013 and subsequent protests by voters when the release of election results was delayed in May of that year. In July 2013, there was a clash between two groups in a dispute over the collection of market revenue that reportedly led to the deaths of two people. A number of other murders were reported during this period, including that of an aide to a local government chairman and a member of the Youth Corps.
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* Kadeem Khan contributed to this report.