Ondo State - July 2014
Published July 29, 2014
By Patricia Taft*
Nigeria Conflict Bulletins
Ondo state has a population of approximately 3.44 million according to the most recent census (2006). The majority are of Yoruba descent, with a sizable minority of those from Ijaw subgroups, particularly along the coast. Ondo derives most of its revenue from the production of cocoa, palm oil, rubber, lumber, and cassava. Approximately 65% of the labor force is employed in the agrarian sector. The state is also rich in oil and minerals.
On a per capita basis, violence in Ondo was relatively low in comparison to the other Niger Delta states according to Nigeria Watch data. It did, however, see a gradual increase in reported insecurity throughout 2012-2014, as reported by multiple sources.
Governor Olusegan Mimiko (Labour Party) who was re-elected in October 2012, subsequently announced plans to build refineries, petrochemical and fertilizer plants and signed a $3.3 billion deal with Dangote Group, the largest manufacturing conglomerate in West Africa. After the 2012 gubernatorial election, the losing party raised concerns about alleged election irregularities and intimidation.
In early 2014, most incidents involved domestic and interpersonal violence. In May, a clash between rival cult groups also left one person shot dead. Overall, much of the violence in Ondo state was related to instances of petty crime and some gang violence although fatalities associated with kidnappings for ransom appeared to be on the rise.
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 from one LGA to the next from 2012 to mid-2014. The bar chart shows the relative levels of violence from one Niger Delta state to the next between 2012 and June, 2014. The trend line on the next page shows the number of incidents and fatalities by month. 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
Incidents of reported insecurity increased during over the period of 2012 to mid-2014. During the second half of 2012, violence sometimes had a political dimension, in the context of a hotly contested gubernatorial election in October 2012. Ondo is the only state in Nigeria controlled by the Labour Party. Both the Action Congress of Nigeria and the People’s Democratic Party filed appeals contesting the outcome, however the Supreme Court ruled that the election was valid. Gang violence in Akure increased around the time of the election and continued throughout 2013. The Ade Basket Boys is reportedly among the most active gangs in Akure and is believed to have been involved in riots leading up to the election as well as various criminal activities including armed robbery.
Between March-May 2012, eight prominent individuals were reportedly kidnapped for ransom in Akure, including family members of politicians and government officials, a journalist, and a businessman.
In the summer of 2013, there was a prison break in Akure when gang members freed an estimated 175 prisoners and fatally shot two civilians. That same week, Nigerian Immigration Services arrested and deported 147 allegedly illegal immigrants from Niger and Chad. State Comptroller Mr. Sola Sessi stated that the presence of the immigrants in Ondo presented a threat to state security and pledged that similar operations would continue. In the second half of 2013, students at the Federal University of Technology Akure staged at least two protests. One protest was in response to the alleged rape of three female students. The other demonstration was in protest of a teacher strike.
In May 2014, the body of an 8-year old girl was found outside a shopping mall, assumed to be killed by ritualists. Crimes with political motives also occurred early this year, with an attempted assassination of an Ondo lawmaker, and the shooting of one person at an Ondo APC Congress occurring in January. Other reported issues included several murders, a peaceful protest by nurses over an alleged assault, and police corruption.
Incidents in Idanre related mainly to interpersonal violence.
In 2012, violent incidents reported in Odigbo LGA mainly concerned an alleged ritualistic killing of a cripple and the murder of the owner of a cocoa farm, in an incident suspected to be related to land competition. In August 2013, police reportedly shot a commercial truck driver and were subsequently arrested. In May 2014, a 48-year old woman was reportedly killed by her two brothers.
Incidents in Ondo East and West mainly had to do with interpersonal violence and criminality. In May 2014, a suspected kidnapper was lynched and a cultist was shot dead by a rival cult group during a clash.
In other LGAs throughout 2012-2013, incidents reported included ritual murders by suspected cultists as well as bank robberies reportedly committed by organized criminal syndicates, particularly in Akoko Northeast. In Ilaje in 2012, there was a reported clash between ex-militants and naval officers that allegedly resulted in the death of several people. In 2013, vandals allegedly torched the palace of the monarch Oba Afolabi Odidiomo and the house of a local chief. One person was reported to have died during the incident. In Ondo-West in August 2013, the 14-year old son of a prominent union leader was found reportedly stabbed to death in the family house. No motive was immediately established for the killing. In June 2014, a 24-year old man hacked his friend to death with a knife over the ownership over a Video Compact Disk in Ile Oluji/Okeigbo. In Akoko Southwest, gunmen reportedly kidnapped expatriates in January, and a 2-year old baby was killed during a fight between the mother of the baby and a man in February. In January, additional killings over unspecified family issues also occurred in Akoko Northeast.
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* Marcela Aguirre contributed to this report.