Edo State - Patterns and Trends, 2012-2014
Published May 8, 2015
By Nate Haken and Patricia Taft*
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 on agriculture, including food crops such as yams, cassava, rice or maize and cash crops such as rubber, palm oil, cotton, cocoa and timber. The State’s capital, Benin City, is the center of Nigeria’s rubber industry. Mineral resources include granite, limestone, marble, lignite, crude oil, gold, and kaolin clay.
Edo’s state governor, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, assumed office in November 2008 after winning an appeal in the 2007 elections, which had initially declared his rival Oserheimen Osunbor governor. In July 2012, Oshiomhole was reelected for a second term in a landslide victory. Political tensions in the state rose throughout 2014 with an attempt to impeach the governor and a violent attack on lawmakers in October. The next gubernatorial elections are slated for 2016.
Edo was one of the Niger Delta’s more violent states on a per-capita basis from 2012 through 2014. Incidents of violence and associated fatalities have increased over the two-year period. Issues in Edo ranged from protests, criminality, abductions and domestic violence to clashes between gangs, cults, political groups and communities. The majority of these incidents were reported in the Oredo Local Government Area (LGA), home to Benin City, although violence was also reported in LGAs further north.
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 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, 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
(Edo South Senatorial District)
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, allegedly killing four in January and ten others in December of that year. Similarly in October 2014, one person was reported killed following a violent battle between 2 rival cult groups. A 14-year-old reportedly died at the hands of cultists in March as did a college student in a separate incident in November. Several other people reportedly died during cult clashes in the latter half of 2014.
Ethnic/religious groups also clashed from 2012-2014, notably in early 2012 when two mosques and an Islamic school were attacked, killing five and forcing many to flee. 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. Gunmen killed a cleric in December of the following year.
In terms of political violence, the principal private secretary to Edo State’s governor was murdered at his residence in May 2012. In April of the following year, 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. In October 2014, unidentified gunmen attacked and injured a PDP lawmaker for the lawmaker’s recent defection from the APC to the PDP. In November 2014, two people were killed in a clash between supporters of the Chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA) and chairman of youth association over the chairmanship position of the community’s association. The following month, a PDP senatorial aspirant was attacked by unknown gunmen who killed his cousin and a police orderly. An APC member and a commercial bus driver were also shot dead by gunmen in a separate incident.
There were multiple protests in Oredo from 2012 to 2014. 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. From 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 City, and over governance issues within the Niger Delta Development Commission.
There were also a number of murders reported throughout 2012 to 2014. Policemen reportedly shot and killed robbers and kidnappers in various operations throughout 2014. One person was reported killed and three others injured following a clash between two rival police factions in October 2014. In November, a university student was allegedly shot dead on his way home from a football match by suspected cultists.
(Edo North Senatorial District)
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 APC 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 reportedly killed several students, a communal clash over land in April, and a murder during a family dispute in August where a father was killed by his son.
(Edo South Senatorial District)
In February 2012, two people were reportedly killed in an intra-communal land dispute that also caused villagers to flee to neighboring communities. Two abduction cases were also reported in August and December 2013, with two policemen reported killed in the first incident and an individual who was being abducted was killed in the second incident. In November 2014, two suspected robbers and kidnappers from the LGA were also allegedly killed in Benin City.
Esan North/South East/Central/West
(Edo Central Senatorial District)
Esan LGAs were relatively violent from 2012 to mid-2014. Cult clashes in August 2012 allegedly killed several. Also in cult-related violence, a leader of a well-known gang 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. In June 2014, six kidnappers were reportedly killed in their hideout during a gun battle with the policemen.
(Edo North Senatorial District)
in January 2014 shots were fired, injuring two in a dispute about whether a traditional masquerade festival should be held. The festival was banned in the 1980’s due to frequent violence. Later in the year in an unrelated incident it was reported that gunmen dressed in military uniforms waved down a police bus and killed several, including two policemen.
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* Hannah Blyth and Ania Skinner contributed to this report.