Publications by Patricia Taft

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Conflict Bulletin: Cross River State - July 2014

Published July 14, 2014 | By Patricia Taft*

The coastal state of Cross River in the southeastern part of Nigeria is home to approximately 2.9 million people (2006 census), predominantly of Efik, Ejagham and Bekwarra background. One of the fastest growing states in Nigeria, Cross River is endowed with vast mineral resources, plentiful arable land, and a growing number of tourist attractions. Liyel Imoke of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was elected governor of Cross River in August 2008 after his first electoral victory of April 2007 was annulled by an Election Appeal Tribunal. He was re-elected in February 2012. For years, Cross River was the stage to a heated territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula.

Conflict Bulletin: Delta State - July 2014

Published July 14, 2014 | By Patricia Taft*

Delta is the second most populous state in the Niger Delta, with an estimated 4.1 million people. The state produces about 35% of Nigeria’s crude oil and a considerable amount of its natural gas. It is also rich in root and tuber crops, such as potatoes, yams, cassava, and coco yams. Delta has a legacy of ethnic and political tensions which flared in the late 1990s and again in 2003. The 2009 Amnesty Program was instrumental in reducing violence and fatalities associate with militancy. In 2010, however, there was a spike in insurgency/counter-insurgency activity with a notable incident that reportedly occurred in the Burutu Local Government Area (LGA) in December.

Conflict Bulletin: Bayelsa State - July 2014

Published July 10, 2014 | By Nate Haken*

With 1.7 million people, Bayelsa is one of the smallest states in the country, by population. Most residents are of Ijaw descent. Bayelsa produces between 30-40% of Nigeria’s oil and gas. In addition to the petroleum sector, the state has an extensive commercial fishing industry and produces oil palm, raffia palm, rubber, and coconut. In February 2012, Henry Dickson (PDP) was elected as governor after a period of uncertainty in the wake of Governor Timipre Sylva’s termination in January 2012. Since then the number of fatalities has reduced, but has fluctuated with periodic instances of cult violence, abductions, and attacks on energy infrastructure.

Conflict Bulletin: Rivers State - July 2014

Published July 10, 2014 | By Nate Haken*

Among the largest of the oil-producing Nigerian states, Rivers had been at the heart of the Niger Delta militancy until 2009. Currently, the state is beset with a different array of issues as some former combatants have turned to criminality and uneven economic development continues to pose a challenge to sustainable peace and human security. The following bulletin is a closer look at the patterns of conflict risk at the local level.

Statehood or Bust: The Case of South Sudan

Published June 24, 2014 | By Patricia Taft

It took three years, a slide from growing dysfunction to rapid escalation in violence, and more than a fair share of international hand-wringing to arrive at this place: South Sudan is the world’s most fragile state. What occurred in the twelve months since the last Fragile States Index — when the world’s newest country ranked fourth — to this year, where it is the chart-topper, is as complicated as the facets of state-building itself. Nonetheless, a few salient lessons might be culled even at this early stage, if not to prevent a further slide, but to at least manage expectations going into the future.

Fragile States Index 2014: The Book

Published June 24, 2014 | By J.J. Messner, Nate Haken, et al.

The Fragile States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Fragile States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

Chibok: Not an Isolated Tragedy?

Published May 8, 2014 | By Patricia Taft and Nate Haken
 
Nigeria has been in the news a lot lately. Last month, in the capital city of Abuja, two bombs exploded at a crowded bus station claiming the lives of at least 88 people and injuring another 200. Then, that same evening in the northeast of the country, a raid on a school in the town of Chibok, Borno state, led to the abduction of over 300 girls, 276 of whom remain missing to date. The abductions, in particular, have spurred a wave of international outrage as the world casts about for who to blame and how to stem the violence. Activism tends to be categorical: accusing the government of taking too heavy handed an approach on the one hand, or on the other, of doing nothing at all. If that’s where the conversation ends, the recent groundswell of empathy will have been wasted.

Conflict Bulletin: Borno State - May 2014

Published May 7, 2014 | By Patricia Taft and Nate Haken*

Borno State, the location of the April 2014 abduction of nearly 300 school girls, is at the heart of what has been called the “Boko Haram” insurgency. The insurgency, perpetrated by a militant group called Jamāʻat Ahl as-Sunnah lid-daʻwa wal-Jihād (JAS), began in 2009 as a mass uprising against police in the states of Bauchi, Yobe, and Borno in which hundreds died. Violence de-escalated rapidly after insurgent leader Muhammed Yusuf was captured and killed. However, in 2011, the death toll began once again to rise and kept rising for the next three years. In May 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa to contain the violence.

Conflict Bulletin: Imo State - January 2014

Published January 31, 2014 | By Patricia Taft

Imo state has a population of approximately 3.9 million people, according to the 2006 census. The population of Imo state is predominantly Igbo (98%). The capital city of Owerri is the largest in the state. Imo is made up of twenty-seven Local Government Areas (LGAs). Imo’s economy mainly consists of exporting natural resources such as palm oil, mahogany, crude oil, and natural gas. Due to the high population density and over-farming, the quality of the soil is reportedly worsening.

Conflict Bulletin: Abia State - January 2014

Published January 31, 2014 | By Patricia Taft

Abia State has an estimated population of 2.4 million people, predominantly of Igbo origin. Comparatively, it has not experienced the levels of violence and insecurity that other states in the Niger Delta have over the time period analyzed (although there was a sharp uptick in violence in 2010 associated with a surge in kidnappings). Abia produces about 27% of Nigeria’s crude oil and a significant amount of its natural gas. It is also rich in yam, maize, rice, potatoes, and cashews.

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