Using the information shared in the local dialogues, the July 2016 roundtable provided a forum for representatives from the four regions to voice concerns and issues at a national level. It also represent-ed an important opportunity for different communities, government stakeholders and mining, oil and gas companies to connect and share lessons learned and best practices. To provide a more national-level perspective, were stakeholders from the Government of Ghana including the Petroleum Commission, Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Ghana Army, Navy and Police, and Ministry of the Interior.
Published June 14, 2016 | By The Fund for Peace and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta*
Elections have been a cyclical driver of conflict risk and violence in Rivers state since 1999. The state was reported to have had the highest number of violent incidents during the 2015 general elections in Nigeria. In the lead-up and aftermath of the 2016 legislative election rerun on 19 March, Rivers was once again marred by widespread political and cult violence with fatalities in the lead-up surpassing any period since 2009. This ongoing cycle of insecurity is not only impacting the citizens of the state, but also business.
The first local dialogue was held on February 22 in Bolgatanga, Upper East region. The dialogue, led by WANEP-Ghana, was attended by stakeholders including the Ghana Police Service, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Traditional leadership, the Shanxii Mining Company, small scale mining groups, the Talensi and Nabdam District Assemblies, the local media (Ghana News Agency) and the Lands Commission.
In December 2015, FFP and WANEP-Ghana delivered local training workshops in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region, and Takoradi, Western Region. Both trainings focused on sensitizing the VPs initiative and guidelines, as well as introducing ways to mitigate conflict through available grievance mechanisms, and promoting peacebuilding and conflict early warning in communities. Twelve participants were attended each of the full day courses co-presented by WANEP-Ghana and FFP.
With the government of Ghana announcing in 2014 that it would sign onto the VPs initiative as the first African nation to do so, it is now in the stages developing a VPs National Action Plan. Working with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Democracy, Rights and Labor, The Fund For Peace (FFP) in partnership with the West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP-Ghana), will lead a program which supports these VPs implementation efforts across Ghana.
Published November 16, 2015 | By The Fund for Peace and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta*
Reports of cult violence have increased sharply in the Niger Delta since the beginning of 2014. This has been particularly salient in Rivers State, where the violence has been spread over a wide geographic region. In Rivers, as in other Niger Delta states, cult violence has taken on various criminal, militant, communal, and/or political undertones, depending on the situation. Given how pervasive the issue has become, for any program that seeks to mitigate conflict in the state, cultism will have to be a key consideration in the coming year as Rivers goes through significant socio-political changes presenting both opportunities and risks to sustainable peace and development.
Published October 28, 2015 | By The Fund for Peace, Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, and Academic Associates PeaceWorks*
In the run-up to the 2015 Nigeria general and state elections, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) deployed the Integrated Peace and Development Unit (IPDU) in three states to undertake a holistic portfolio of interrelated activities for early warning, assessment, prevention, and management of violent conflict. The three components consisted of the following: IPDU worked with Community Life Project (CLP) to develop an SMS platform for Peace Messaging conflict early warning in which over 2,000 messages were received and analyzed. IPDU contracted AA Peaceworks, to implement their Community Stakeholder Network (CSN) approach to conflict management, which had proved highly successful in the 2007, 2011, and 2012 elections. Committees were trained in 18 LGAs and successfully mitigated over three hundred cases of elevated conflict risk. Showing the human cost of election violence: as part of the project’s media messaging videos portrayed interviews with widows and their families to deter participation in election violence. Data from both components (CSNs and SMS) were triangulated against data on the Peace Map for cross-validation and analysis.
Published October 23, 2015 | By The Fund for Peace and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta*
Transition of gubernatorial power has historically been fraught with violence in Bayelsa. In 2012, for instance, political tensions were high, with reported explosions at party secretariats, cultist violence targeting political aspirants, a reported assassination attempt, kidnappings, and general political thuggery. Now, in 2015, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed December 5, 2015 for the Bayelsa gubernatorial elections, and there are signs that conflict issues are emerging again.
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.
Edo was one of the Niger Delta’s more violent states on a per-capita basis with Incidents of violence and associated fatalities increasing over the three and a half year period. Issues in Edo ranged from protests, criminality, abductions and domestic violence to clashes between gangs, cults, political groups and communities. The vast majority 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.