Although the number of reported conflict fatalities in Plateau state has fallen in 2016, the effects of displacement and violence continue to reverberate in the lives of women and girls. Continuing to monitor trends and incidents of VAWG, and how they are interrelated to other conflict drivers, is critical to understanding the effects of violence on the lives of women and girls and to better inform prevention and response efforts. Domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault accounted for most of the reported incidents of violence against women and girls in Plateau state between January 2015 and September 2016. This included domestic and sexual abuse by male family members – fathers, husbands, cousins and uncles – as well as by trusted authority figures, such as pastors and members of the security forces.
Comparatively, Kano is one of the more prosperous states in Northern Nigeria. However, the distribution of wealth is uneven. It has also faced a major uptick in insecurity since 2012, as a result of the Jama’atu Ahli Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (JAS) insurgency. Gender roles within the state also remain unequal, with a report on women’s rights detailing that women, particularly in rural areas, are often precluded from participating in economic decision making, employment outside the home, political engagement, and access to the same level of education as boys. Within the context of both the heightened levels of violence and insecurity in the state, as well as the pervasive norms surrounding the role of women in many communities, the vulnerability of young girls and women to violence and abuse in Kano state remains high.
Rivers State has experienced higher levels of violence and conflict-related fatalities in the past six months than at any time since the end of the militant insurgency in 2009. This rise in violence – predominately due to the new wave of militancy, political violence, criminality and cult violence – has been well documented in the media and international spheres. What is not getting reported are the impacts this is having on women and girls. Incidents of sexual assault, targeted criminality against vulnerable groups including girls and pregnant women), and domestic abuse are all major contributors to Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in the state. May 2016 had one of the highest numbers of VAWG-related incidents reported from the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) Rivers State Observatory since its inception.
Published July 15, 2016 | By The Fund for Peace and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta*
After the 2015 Presidential elections which saw a peaceful transition of power from incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan to General Mohammadu Buhari, many observers have rightfly expressed optimism for the future of Africa’s biggest economy. There is much to be optimistic about. For one, the Boko Haram counter-insurgency campaign has marked significant successes in the Northeast over the last year. However, by contrast in the Niger Delta region, communal, criminal, and election-related violence have been steadily rising. In fact, conflict-related incidents and fatalities in the Niger Delta were higher in the past six months than at any point since the end of the last wave of militancy in 2009.
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.
In the early morning hours of February 9, 2016, in a sprawling camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno State, three young girls thought to be looking for shelter, were welcomed inside. What the guards who admitted them didn’t know, however, was that each was wearing an improvised explosive device strapped to her body. Minutes later, two of those girls were dead and, with them, an estimated 58 other victims, including many families seeking shelter from a raging insurgency that had driven them from their homes. An additional 80 people were badly wounded. Attacks like this have come to characterize the insurgency that has raged in northern Nigeria since 2009. Recently, however, data and research by The Fund for Peace (FFP), a Washington, D.C.-based NGO, indicates that Boko Haram has fundamentally shifted its tactics and its targets.
The use of women and children as weapons of war in northern Nigeria and in neighboring countries is undoubtedly horrific, there is often the tendency to paint the phenomenon with a broad brush that identifies the bombers as victims without agency, or the right of choice, in their fate. To the extent that this assumption has implications for response, it should be acknowledged that the question of agency is inevitably much more complex and uncomfortable. Certainly, no ten-year-old child can be said to be of a mental and emotional maturity to make such a fatal choice. However, the assumption that the women and children who have carried out these attacks are all abductees is false.
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.